Data analysis in uncertain times: rapid working to adapt to research needs during a pandemic
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 created widespread uncertainty with unknown impacts on society, the economy, and the world around us. As a result, the need for rapid analysis based on trustworthy data to be able to plan and forecast had never been greater. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and its partners have led the way in making high-quality data available for critical analysis through its Secure Research Service (SRS).
New and renewed partnerships with ADR UK, Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) and the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) allowed for cutting-edge analysis of time-critical data on the effects of the pandemic. The innovative linking of existing administrative and health datasets along with the rapid roll-out of new surveys available and analysed within the SRS, such as the Coronavirus Infection Survey (CIS), has enabled researchers to provide an indispensable evidence base for policymakers and service planners.
Rapid response to Covid-19
ONS responded to the pandemic with measures such as:
- Rapid data collection of new surveys to provide crucial evidence on the spread of Covid-19 and its effects on the UK.
- Cutting edge analysis of newly linked administrative and health datasets to understand the socio-demographic context of infections and mortality.
- New temporary homeworking policy allowed continued access to data for researchers to produce research informing the pandemic response.
Resulting impact included the creation of a rapid evidence base to inform localand national policy, accredited researchers facilitated to carry out their vital research and regular provision of bulletins and analysis to keep the public informed.
Read about this in more detail in the full report.