The new website of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for overseas trade statistics has been declared as the overall winner in this year’s RSS Official Statistics awards, with the Welsh government’s ‘My Local School’ website and the Office for National Statistics’ census data visualisations as runners-up.
The winners will be presented with their awards on the afternoon of 3 September 2013 at the Royal Statistical Society’s International Conference in Newcastle.
The winning entry from HMRC was its overseas trade statistics website
that launched in March 2012, replacing earlier versions. Described by judges as ‘excellent and innovative’ and ‘a wonderful example for other statisticians’, its design was based on extensive consultation with users. It not only offers increased data availability but simplified data access, improved data visualisation with time series, tabulation, charting and mapping within an interactive multi-dimensional data cube, and enhanced table storing and sharing capability for social media users. All of this was achieved with a 20 per cent cost saving. Judges particularly liked the facility for users to build their own tables and charts from the extensive overseas trade database and to share these via email and social media.
The Welsh Government’s ‘My Local School’ website
is a bilingual website that contains information about the characteristics and performance of all Welsh schools, benchmarking performance against other comparable schools. Deemed exceptionally easy and attractive to use, the judges felt that it met a real need for school information for parents, schools, governors, local authorities and media, commenting that it was ‘interesting, informative, easy to use and bringing statistics to a wider audience’. It has also won an exceptionally high level of praise from users.
ONS’s work on data visualisation and interactive graphics is widely considered to be world class so it is perhaps no surprise that data visualisations of the 2011 Census also featured among the awards. The graphics were designed to appeal to a very broad range of users, as a hook for engaging with the census, without dumbing the data down. Described as ‘impressive’ by judges, the interactive visualisations with explanatory commentary were offered for syndication to a variety of mainstream media. As a result, they were directly carried by media organisations ranging from the BBC, The Guardian, Channel 4, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail right through to the Rotherham Advertiser – making them the most widely viewed graphics that the ONS has ever produced.
Overall, the 19 entries to this year’s awards – now in their fourth year – were of particularly high quality, making the task of the judges particularly difficult. In addition to the three winners, five other entries made it through to the final round and were also commended:
Department for Communities and Local Government – Fire Response Times publication
Department for Education – ‘Level 3′ Value Added
Department for Education – Attainment at Key Stage 4 by pupils in Academies 2011
House of Commons Library – Olympic Britain
Office for National Statistics – Annual Business Survey User Engagement including the Business Statistics Interactive User Guide.