The Society has written to the Prime Minister and six ministers in her recently reorganised cabinet, to stress the importance of government statistics, statistical literacy and to offer the collective expertise of RSS fellows in matters such as data sharing and improving the UK’s data science capabilities.
The RSS’s letter to Theresa May enclosed a copy of the Society’s Data Manifesto and expressed the Society's support for the current Digital Economy Bill that is going through parliament, as well as championing data sharing to reduce cost of census.
The letters outline various aspects of our Data Manifesto relevant to each minister’s portfolio. Our letter to Ben Gummer, who replaced Matt Hancock in the Cabinet Office which oversees government statistics, stresses the importance of accessing administrative data for statistical and research purposes. This was also highlighted in our letter to Greg Clark of the newly formed Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to whom we also emphasised our support for continuing investment in science and innovation - and the importance of mathematical skills as an integral part of this.
We also wrote to Sajid Javid, who now heads up the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) about improving local data and how to move forward in developing ‘smart cities’. Our letter to Nicola Blackwood, who is the new under-secretary of state for the Department of Health, expressed our support for the recommendations made in the recent review of health data by Dame Fiona Caldicott.
Although Jo Johnson’s role as Minister of State for Universities & Science remains unchanged, the Society also wrote to reiterate its support for recommendations made in the recent Stern Review of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), as well as to express our concerns with the Teaching Excellence Framework.
The RSS has also set out its priorities for ensuring a data-literate society in a letter to the new Education Secretary Justine Greening.