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About the Official Statistics team

We provide technical and strategic support to governments and development agencies, across the statistical production cycle, from design to evidence-based policy formulation and engagement with users and producers of statistics.

Esther Namukasa

Consultant

OPM United Kingdom

Esther is a consultant with the Official Statistics team. She is a statistician with strong quantitative and data visualisation skills. With a particular interest in economic statistics, Esther has over seven years of experience in performing statistical data analyses, data quality audits, and developing data visualisation tools.

Claire Hutchings

Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning team leader

OPM United Kingdom

Claire Hutchings heads up our Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning team, having originally joined OPM as the team lead of the Research and Data Collection Methods team. She joined us from Oxfam, where she spent 16 years, first as a Global Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor and then as Head of Programme Quality.

We believe that working across the policy cycle, in partnership with governments , national decision makers and development agencies, is crucial to achieving impactful public policy. At every stage of the cycle, there is a role that statistics can play to ensure that the most useful and accurate evidence is gathered but also used. It is this evidence that is essential for making sure that policy decisions and project implementation are most likely to benefit the individuals, households, or communities in question.

Research

At the research stage, our Official Statistics team can provide a better understanding of the current situation, identify constraints to the use of data and highlight any potential statistics and evidence gaps. This can include:

  • data mapping and landscape diagnostics - in the MENA region we reviewed the data landscape related to children;
  • statistical capacity assessments -  in Kenya we undertook an assessment of agricultural statistics; and
  • data quality audits, in Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Indonesia, we conducted data quality assessments across a broad range of sectors from health to water utilities.

Policy options

Statistics can provide evidence that shows which policy options are viable or sensible. Exploring these different policy routes is essential for ensuring sustainable policy reform, whether the options are broad and complex or targeted at more immediate development. For example, in Sudan we provided government officials with a training on how to conduct evidenced based decision making.

Policy development

There are many areas of policy development where statistics can play an important role, whether as the focus of the policy or to ensure that development in a different sector is chosen with the required evidence. The role of statistics at this stage can include developing:

  • policies for statistics including National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) ;
  • statistical legislation;
  • policies for data management and Open Data;

For example, we have developed action plans in the UNICEF country offices of Lebanon, Djibouti and Palestine to invest in better production and use of data for children. Working in Liberia, Ethiopia, and South Africa, we reviewed existing policies and stakeholders to develop national strategies for the development of statistics.

Organisational reform

Securing lasting change in government often requires organisational reform, whether in capabilities or attitudes. Often there is a primary need to ensure that a ministry has the systems in place that will allow them continue developing and implementing the most appropriate policies.

In Indonesia, for instance, we supported the provision of high-quality statistics to help underpin effective policymaking through the transformation of the Indonesian statistical office, while we have advised the Government of Barbados on how to modernise its statistical systems. This support has included:

  • setting up national statistical systems; in particular bring together data producers from the national statistical office and data collected by departments;
  • developing programmes of surveys;
  • developing statistical infrastructure;
  • reform of an office for national statistics; and
  • statistical reform of ministries, governments, and agencies.

In Indonesia, the team assisted the National Statistical Office to move from a silo-based to an integrated organisation with functions aligned to the Generic Statistical Business Process Model. OPM’s work focused on the design and the specifications for statistical transformation and quality improvement. The work focused on the development of the Statistical Business Framework, corporate statistical infrastructure and the redesign of six priority statistical series.

Capacity building

Helping strengthen the capacity of a ministry or government is vital for sustainable development, ensuring that national decision makers can continue to implement the most beneficial policies once our projects are complete. This capacity building, in partnership with government stakeholders, could include:

  • embedding technical assistance;
  • mentoring;
  • twinning with other statistical offices; and
  • technical training.

This sort of training and embedding not only has the immediate effect of improving the knowledge of the participants, but can enable them to train others. For instance, when we worked on the Sudan Evidence Base Programme to strengthen statistical knowledge and data literacy across ten government ministries and agencies, the training material was made available for re-delivery to future participants.

In Cambodia and Malawi the team conducted training to government officials from the National Statistical Office and Ministry of Finance and Planning on monetary poverty and multi-dimensional child poverty.

Monitoring and evaluation

At the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) stage, working with statistics can establish whether or not a project has achieved its aims, as well as offering opportunities for presenting and sharing this information with stakeholders. The Official Statistics team can provide support in the following areas:

  • assessment of an existing M&E system;
  • identifying M&E indicators and data sources;
  • setting up management and information systems (MIS). You can read more about our work on management information systems in a blog post;
  • setting up a dashboard for efficient monitoring, evaluation, and learning; and
  • data collection, analysis, archiving, and dissemination.

Whether assessing the quality of M&E indicators used by the Millennium Challenges account in Zambia, or documenting datasets from the large EQUIP-T, ESSPIN, and HSNP projects, we have extensive experience in integrating statistics and M&E systems to ensure quality data is produced which can be used to inform policymakers on the best ways to support the most vulnerable people in society.