Executive Summary

This report sets out the findings from the Office for Statistics Regulation’s (OSR’s) review of analytical leadership. Drawing on case studies, it looks at how analytical leadership can be demonstrated and enabled across government. It is relevant for all who want to foster a stronger, data-driven culture in their organisations, offering actionable suggestions for people in different professions and levels of seniority.

See more on our work on analytical leadership here.

Analytical leadership is a professional way of working with data, analysis or statistics that enables them to be consistently, confidently and competently produced and used as evidence to inform effective data-driven decision-making.

Analytical leadership ensures that the right data and analyses are available within government for informed, effective policy and decision-making to improve the lives of citizens; that analysts are sufficiently skilled and resourced to answer society’s most important questions; and that analytical evidence produced by government to make policy decisions is more routinely made available to the public.

Everyone working in government can and should demonstrate analytical leadership, regardless of profession or seniority. Senior leaders have an important role to play, but everyone, if properly equipped and enabled, can help support and foster a professional, evidence-driven culture across government.

When established, analytical leadership supports confidence beyond government in how analytical evidence is produced and used by government, and in policies and wider decisions based on that evidence. Making more government analysis available to those beyond government can also help narrow the gap between the perception of how analysis is produced and used by those within government, who have a broadly positive outlook, compared to those outside government, who can be more sceptical.

Through conversations with analysts across government, OSR has identified six actions that individuals and organisations can take to enable analytical leadership:

  1. Foster an evidence-driven culture
  2. Demonstrate transparency and integrity
  3. Collaborate across organisations to add value
  4. Embed structures to support evidence
  5. Invest in analytical capacity and capability
  6. Draw on analytical standards and expert functions

By combining OSR’s six enablers of analytical leadership with a commitment to ensuring Trustworthiness, Quality and Value in evidence – taking a ‘Think TQV’ approach – everyone in government can demonstrate analytical leadership when working with data, analysis or statistics. In doing so, everyone can contribute to the UK Government’s Declaration on Government Reform, to put data more fully at the heart of decision-making, and support how analysis is produced, used and valued.

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