Medical Section Annual General Meeting 2012

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The annual general meeting of the Society’s Medical Section will take place at the start of the next meeting of the Section on Monday 3 December 2012 at the RSS in London.
 
In accordance with the regulations of the section, the following are recommended by the section committee as members of the committee for the 2013 session:
 
Chair: Lucinda Billingham
Vice Chair: James Carpenter
Secretary: Dawn Teare
Meetings Secretary: Gordon Prescott
Mike Campbell
* Richard Emsley
Moira Mugglestone
* Nuala Sheehan
Kate Tilling
3 vacancies
 
Unless alternative nominations are received by the theme manager for sections Paul Gentry before 19 November, these persons will be declared elected at the annual general meeting.
 
* indicates new member
 

Social Statistics Section AGM 2012

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The annual general meeting of the Society’s Social Statistics Section will take place at the start of the next meeting of the Section on Tuesday 11 December 2012 at the RSS in London.
 
In accordance with the regulations of the section, the following are recommended by the section committee as members of the committee for the 2013 session:
 
Chair: Chris Kershaw
Vice-Chair: Richard Laux
Secretary: Alison Walker
Meetings Secretary: Tarani Chandola
Nick Allum
Gabi Durrant
* George Leckie
Charles Lound
Patrick Sturgis
Joel Williams
2 vacancies
 
Unless alternative nominations are received by the theme manager for sections Paul Gentry before 27 November, these persons will be declared elected at the annual general meeting.
 
* indicates new member
 

Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information seeks views on a National Information Framework

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In recent years the government has made significant progress in increasing access to a wide range of  public sector information (PSI) through the Open Data initiative.   Various studies have projected large economic and social benefits from easier access to such information and the exploitation of new technology in mining it to provide new or better services.  However, unlike the existence of a national physical infrastructure plan, which lays out how the country should maintain a sound physical infrastructure (e.g. roads, railways, utilities), no such plan exists for the development of a similar information infrastructure.
 
The Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information (APPSI), an independent body which advises the government on public sector data, has recently published a paper which summarises its views on a strategic framework for PSI re-use.  The paper, A National Information Framework for Public Sector Information and Open Data, includes a wide ranging discussion on the various issues which will need consideration in the development of  such a framework.
 
The APPSI is welcoming views on the paper; please email the APPSI secretariat with comments and views.
 
The Government’s Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information (APPSI) is an independent UK-wide Non-Departmental Public Body of the Ministry of Justice. APPSI advises Ministers and the Director of the Office of Public Sector Information (The National Archives) on matters relating to Public Sector information re-use.  Its members are drawn from the business and entrepreneurial, economic, academic, ICT, legal and public sector communities, also including local government and health sector experience and representing all three Devolved Administrations.
 

CBI calls for education focus to shift from GCSEs to A levels

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A report published for this year’s annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry (19 November 2012) has called for the focus of the English exam system to shift from GCSE to A level.
 
The CBI report, First Steps, recommends a complete overhaul of the UK’s education system. Among the many recommendations made in the report was that maths and English should be studied by all until 18, but for there to be different routes of study for students on different career paths post-16.
 
After pointing out that England, Wales and Northern Ireland have the lowest proportions of students studying maths in advanced economies during the upper phase of secondary education, the report recommended that the government develop ‘clearly rigorous and stretching standards for both academic and vocational A-levels, with maths and English retained until 18 for both’.
 
The report also stressed the importance of tailoring mathematical study post-16 to an individual’s needs. ‘Maths study for a retail apprentice and for an A-level student will be fundamentally different, but it is vital that both are undertaken,’ it said.
 
Both of these recommendations are currently already being acted on by the government; however, the report also recommended that policy should focus on developing the exams taken at 18 rather than those taken at 16. ‘There is an opportunity to realign the system rather than simply putting a tougher exam in place,’ it said.
 
The report talked of moving away from GCSEs to a mix of exams and regular assessments aimed at supporting student decision-making about subject choices and career paths. These could be undertaken at 14 or 16, including .
 
‘In some cases secondary schools have become an exam factory,’ said John Cridland, CBI Director-General. ‘Qualifications are important, but we also need people who have self-discipline and serve customers well.’
 

Scottish Government publish new strategy for government data access

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The Scottish Government has just published a new strategy for improved access and analysis of government data, following a consultation to which the RSS contributed written evidence in June this year.
 
The strategy – Joined-up Data for Better Decisions: A strategy for improving data access and analysis – has three key aims; firstly, to build on existing successful data-linkage programmes – namely the Scottish Health Informatics Programme (SHIP); secondly, to improve standards in data sharing (therefore minimising risks to privacy); and thirdly, to facilitate any benefits achieved through data-linkage.
 
A Privacy Advisory Committee is to be established to facilitate the strategy, as will a Steering Group to oversee its direction. The paper also outlined plans for a national Data Linkage Service which would, among other things, provide relevant IT expertise and provide a trustworthy data exchange service. An Information Gateway would be set up to assist users of the data through training and support, establish examples of best practice and raise public awareness of the benefits of data sharing. The Scottish Government also published some Guiding Principles for Data Linkage.
 
Many points raised by the RSS were picked up in the strategy and guiding principles,  including the importance of additional work on data quality and involving expertise from elsewhere.
 
Scotland’s Chief Statistician, Roger Halliday, outlined the next steps in the project, which will include a consultation on the details of the data linkage service, due to take place in early 2013, and the development of possible models for the Privacy Advisory Committee.
 
Views and contributions to the next stage in the process are welcomed, and any updates will be posted on the data linkage webpages.
 

The RSS Membership Survey goes live

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The RSS has launched its Membership Survey.
 
The Society has been considering its membership strategy and we believe it is very important to consider in member views in the development of our future strategy.   The survey, which was sent to members by email today, asks about how members value the various elements of the member benefit package and the activities the Society undertakes on their  behalf.   These activities include supporting the discipline, promoting statistical literacy, upholding high standards of statistical competence, responding to consultations, and many more.
 
The analysis of responses to the survey will help us to further develop our membership strategy and ensure that the services we are delivering reflect what our members want and need.
 
Valerie Isham, RSS President, said:  ”The views of our membership are extremely important to us and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our members for participating in this process and for their continuing support for the RSS.”
 
If you are a member of the RSS and have not received an email with the survey invite, please email us to request an invite.
 

Statistics in Sport Section AGM 2012

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The inaugural annual general meeting of the Society’s Statistics in Sport Section will take prior to the next meeting of the Section on Tuesday 11 December 2012 at the RSS in London.
 
In accordance with the regulations of the section, the following are recommended by the section committee as members of the committee for the 2013 session:
 
Ian McHale (University of Salford) –Chair
Luigi Colombo (Smartodds)
Frank Duckworth
John Haigh (University of Sussex)
David Hastie (Onside Analysis)
Ian Preston (University College London)
Trevor Ringrose (Cranfield University)
Phil Scarf (University of Salford)
Jonathan Tawn (Lancaster University)
3 vacancies
 
Unless alternative nominations are received by the theme manager for sections Paul Gentry before 27 November, these persons will be declared elected at the annual general meeting.
 

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