Statistics Regulator Oliver Fox-Tatum explores what we mean by effective analytical leadership and how our TQV (Trustworthiness, Quality and Value) framework supports this.
So… what do we mean by Analytical leadership?
Effective analytical leadership ensures that the right data and analyses are available, and that analysts are skilled and resourced to answer society’s most important questions.
Crucially, it ensures that data and analyses are used at the right time to inform key decisions, and that they are communicated clearly and transparently. When done well, this supports confidence in the analyses themselves, but also in the decisions based on these analyses.
We began exploring this concept in our review of statistical leadership last year and see the review’s findings as relevant for all government analysis produced across the UK.
But I’m not an analyst… is this relevant for me?
Yes! Everyone in government has an important role in championing the use of analytical evidence and being confident in engaging with analytical experts.
Whether as a senior minister communicating analysis publicly; an official drawing on analytical evidence for a policy decision, or for an external communication; or an analyst showing leadership in the provision of new data to answer the most important question of the day, strong analytical leadership needs to be demonstrated at all levels and parts of government.
We all have a stake in ensuring that the data and analyses produced and used across the UK can realise their full potential in supporting:
- vital operational and policy decision making
- confidence in the analyses and in the decisions based on them
- citizens’ and society’s broader information needs – the wider public good.
How does the TQV (Trustworthiness, Quality and Value) framework support this?
The usefulness of TQV is as a simple framework – thinking about Trustworthiness, Quality and Value as a set of prompts is useful in challenging individuals, teams and organisations about how they approach their work and achieve their goals.
Stopping to reflect can be a powerful means to think again, to see what works and what else can be done. It is helpful for everyone using data and analysis in their work – not just for analysts, but non-analysts too – and is a particularly valuable tool as a culture of TQV evolves.
When considered together (and they always should be!) the TQV pillars form a pyramid of strength that ensures that:
- the Value (V) of analysis for decision making and the information needs of citizens and wider society is maximised;
- the Quality (Q) of the data and methods used is assured;
- and the Trustworthiness (T) of both the data and decisions based on them, is supported.
So, when a government minister invests in the analytical capability of a department by providing additional resources for training, or new IT infrastructure to support automation … they are thinking T and Q. And when they choose to publish management information around a key policy area of wider public interest for transparency, that is thinking T and V!
Or when a press officer checks the accuracy of the text alongside a chart to be used in a Tweet with an analytical colleague before posting – that is thinking Q. Or if a policy colleague reaches out to an analytical team when developing a new performance measure for a key policy – that is thinking Q and V!
And not least, when an analyst pushes to attend to a key policy meeting to develop their skills and knowledge in an emerging policy area – they are thinking V. Or their permanent secretary asks them to provide an account of the latest published evidence at a press briefing as they value their objectivity, professionalism, expertise and insight as an organisational asset – that is thinking TQV!
It’s true to say that T, Q and V are equally important and shouldn’t be considered in isolation, as each support and reinforce each other.
But crucially, if we all take time to stop and think TQV when working with data and analysis, we can ensure we are truly supporting confidence in those analyses and the range of important decisions that they inform, as well as ensuring that they serve the public good.