Putting users and stakeholders at the centre of statistical production

This is a case study for Principle V1: Relevance to users.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) produces Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measures (NIMDM). The measures are important for a variety of users and other stakeholders to (a) target resources to the most deprived areas, and (b) monitor the spatial impact of policy interventions. NISRA was commissioned to update the 2010 NIMDM. It created a User Engagement Strategy to understand the needs and views of users and stakeholders, and produced a video about its approach (also summarised in the text below):

NISRA collected user feedback following the NIMDM 2010 update including information on uses of MDM by NI Departments.  The MDM had been poorly understood with too much emphasis on overall MDM, rather than individual MDM domains. This led to recommendations for deprivation research which were taken forward for the 2017 update.

NISRA created seven expert groups – one for each deprivation domain – and an authoritative Steering Group.  The groups’ wide memberships ensured the needs of key stakeholders were represented. NISRA ran two public consultations on the output geography and the proposed methodology, accompanied by information sessions around NI. Users were alerted to these, with Facebook and Twitter used to reach a wider audience.

Consultation responses were analysed and presented to the Steering Group, who decided on the geography and final indicators,. A detailed consultation response covering every comment was also published.

NIMDM 2017 was published in November 2017, accompanied by a user friendly A5 booklet, an analysis package, an interactive map, and material for advanced users such as a methods paper, indicator data and metadata.

NISRA ran a series of dissemination events in collaboration with Government Departments and Councils, which reached 500 people. The team also ran training sessions for another 200 people and created a training video to reach a wider audience, such as those with restricted mobility. NISRA published updated recommendations, including details of previous areas that could not be addressed and new areas to reflect users’ changing needs.

These activities required considerable resource which was factored into the project and budget from the outset. They were deemed essential for informing users about what the measures are and what they can and can’t be used for, to improve understanding of MDM’s utility and value.

This example shows how NISRA engaged through a variety of means with a broad range of users and stakeholders to ensure their views were represented. NISRA was also transparent about its decisions concerning requests that could and couldn’t be met and actively engaged to improve awareness of the value and appropriate use of NIMDM 2017.

Adding value to Northern Ireland tourism statistics

This is a case study for Principle V2: Accessibility.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) present statistics on Northern Ireland tourism across a number of published reports and through access to data.

The publications are easily digestible and published at a sufficient level of detail with a variety of different tourism measures. The analysis is straightforward and incorporates other relevant information, such as exchange rates and employment figures, in some cases.

NISRA uses infographics well, and provides users with a data visualisation tool alongside Northern Ireland Local Government District Tourism Statistics, which is also available in a mobile version. In most cases the graphical presentation of key statistics enhances their readability and usability.

NISRA released its NI tourism statistics in machine-readable CSV format and made historic statistical reports available to users.  Finally, website navigation was improved by providing access to all its core publications through sidebar web links and consolidated web pages holding supporting information.

The statisticians provide commentary and graphics that engage a wide range of users, not just the expert tourism user.