By Sara McDonnell

The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) has published a “Data Manifesto” that it is launching to coincide with the United Kingdom party conference season. The manifesto has 10 recommendations and focuses on how it can improve data for policymaking, democracy and prosperity.

In the manifesto, the RSS calls for official statistics to be at the heart of policy debate and recommends that the Office for National Statistics and the wider Government Statistical Service be given adequate resources, as well as calling for greater investment in research, science and innovation.

The manifesto shows that the RSS is broadly supportive of the open data agenda; in particular the opening of government data and giving citizens greater access to quality local data. It calls for greater data sharing between government departments for statistics and research purposes and believes the private sector should be encouraged to share data with researchers for the same purpose. It also calls for an end to pre-release access to official statistics.

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RSS Data Manifesto

The RSS also is working hard to improve statistical literacy across the board; it supports the teaching of basic data handling and quantitative skills in all A levels that use data, raising its profile in maths A levels, and ensuring that the new Core Maths qualification teaches appropriate statistical skills. It also calls for politicians, policymakers and other professionals in the public sector to be given basic training in data handling and statistics.

Hetan Shah, executive director of the RSS, said: “We are pleased to launch this Data Manifesto, which brings together many of the Royal Statistical Society’s policy views into one place. It provides a route map for the next government to strengthen data and statistics for better policymaking, greater democracy, and increased prosperity.

“We hope that RSS fellows based in the United Kingdom will use it in the run up to the general election in 2015 to talk to parliamentary candidates and raise the profile of data and statistics issues with them.”

You can download the RSS Data Manifesto by clicking here.

McDonnell is the RSS’s web news editor.