Winner of the Award for Statistical Excellence in Trustworthiness, Quality and Value 2022 for the COVID-19 dashboard.
“The COVID-19 dashboard team are truly delighted to receive this endorsement from the RSS and the OSR for our work. We put honesty and transparency at the heart of this project, to provide COVID-19 data to anyone who needs it. We know that our users value this data and it is needed to enable people to go about their daily lives. We are therefore proud to demonstrate how we uphold the trustworthiness, quality and value principles so that the dashboard can be used with confidence. We are very grateful for all the user feedback and to our team for their dedication to producing such high-quality dashboard during difficult circumstances.”
Clare Griffiths, Head of the COVID-19 Dashboard at the UK Health Security Agency
Who are the UK Health and Security Agency?
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is responsible for protecting every member of every community from the impact of infectious diseases, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents and other health threats. UKHSA provide intellectual, scientific and operational leadership at national and local level, as well as on the global stage, to make the nation’s health secure.
What is the COVID-19 dashboard?
The UKHSA created the COVID-19 Dashboard as one of the main tools to establish rates of COVID and vaccination across the UK, that quickly became one of the main and trusted sources of data on the pandemic. It has been used extensively by decision makers and wider, experiencing over 1 million users per day during peak times. These users include government ministers and other decision makers who rely on this information to help shape the UK’s COVID response, as well as the public making decisions about their daily lives.
These statistics remain high-profile, are complicated to produce, receive daily scrutiny and much wider discussion, so must fully demonstrate trustworthiness, quality and value. The UKHSA team continue to modify the dashboard, to undertake user engagement and make improvements. The dashboard data continues to remain incredibly important to people as we move to the living with COVID phase of the government’s strategy.
Applying the Code
Providing COVID dashboard users with trustworthiness, Quality and Value (TQV) was essential from that start of pulling this data together. UKHSA are proud of the commitment made to the Code and have prominently published a statement of compliance on their website so it’s visible and easy to find.
Trustworthiness, Quality and Value
The dashboard statistics are developed by a team of analysts and data scientists at UKHSA, in collaboration with devolved administrations, NHS England, NHS Test and Trace and the DHSC, under the guidance of the Head of Profession for Statistics. Data are compiled from reputable sources, including government and NHS departments in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
This presents challenges, for instance, making sure that users can easily compare data and understand differences in how nations produce data. The dashboard team maintain close contact with these organisations, to ensure our work is aligned. Data must be current, so the dashboard is updated every weekday: a big task for a small team.
Engaging with users has been key to the dashboards success and getting the data correct, with over 40,000 people involved in the last survey. UKHSA know the public like the open data and the API data download options the dashboard provides, with over 1 million downloads each week by individuals for their own data purposes.
Collecting user feedback through the survey will continue, along with interviews, use of analytics and email contact, with nearly 30,000 interactions and communications so far. This has enabled UKHSA to maintain very high levels of trust in the data, continually make improvements and add new features.