GDS launches data skills initiative

The Government Digital Service has announced a plan to spread data literacy skills among the general civil service workforce.

GDS’s data group has launched a “discovery phase” to identify which members of staff could benefit from learning data science techniques.

In a blog post, GDS product manager Ed Parkes, said that getting staff more comfortable with data has a vital role to play in developing government policy.

He said: “GDS’s Data Group has a team of data scientists, part of a growing cross-government community, using these new techniques to bring new insights to address complex challenges and improve delivery.

“However, if we are to get data science to become part of the everyday toolkit of government we need to ensure that the opportunities of using these techniques are understood and taken up by those outside of the data scientist community.”

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Alongside the discovery process, GDS will consult data scientists within government to identify areas they believe will help colleagues from different working backgrounds.

Parkes also said that he wants to create an open and community-based platform for sharing resources on data science.
He said: “We also want to encourage those who aren’t so familiar with data science to incorporate the techniques into their work.”

“At the moment we’re open about the form of the final product, and the user research will help us get closer to understanding what might work best – it could be a digital service, in person training or something else.”

Colin Marrs

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