• Mae'r wefan hon ar gael yn y Gymraeg

Building a ‘data savvy’ public sector


Back in 2016 a study published by IBM ("10 key marketing trends for 2017") suggested that 90% of the world’s data had been created in the previous twelve months, with many data analysts predicting that the digital universe would be 40 times bigger by 2020. While on the surface, this figure seems staggering, perhaps it isn’t so surprising when we consider the amount of data we collect on a daily basis, particularly in a professional context. The opportunities this presents to learn more about our communities, their needs and their experiences is inspiring. And yet, it can also be overwhelming – how do I unlock the insight? Where do I begin?

Luckily these are just some of the questions that the DataBasic training programme will help you answer and we, in collaboration with Data Orchard CIC, are bringing it to Wales!


The DataBasic training programme

The aim of the DataBasic programme is quite simply to help anyone in an organisation, whether or not they have data responsibility and no matter how senior they are, get more confident with data. Originally developed by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (the original can be found here), the programme comprises a series of exercises, workshops (most of which rely solely on paper, pens and discussion) and a small number of online tools all designed to help you build the fundamental skills needed to use data more effectively.

So, if you want to be more ‘data savvy’, to be able to ask the right questions and make best use of the data you have, then look no further. Whether you are a data specialist or a ‘spreadsheet-phobe’ we believe this programme has a lot to offer.

Creating a ‘data savvy’ culture


The programme isn’t only aimed at individuals. In fact, DataBasic works best when lots of people within an organisation sign up to follow the programme. Whilst some people need specialist analytical or technical skills, all employees need to have basic skills around using data more effectively and the confidence to have conversations about data.

What’s more, if lots of people and/or organisations across local government and the wider public sector in Wales followed this programme, it could have a real impact on the culture around collecting, interpreting and using data. 

Help us take the first step


Over the last few months we have been adapting the content of the programme to better fit the Welsh public sector. As part of this we have a run a couple of pilot sessions (our thanks to Data Cymru staff and Powys County Council for their co-operation and feedback) to check that the techniques are as useful as we think they are (which, thankfully, they are).

We now plan to roll it out wider.

The first step is to invite individuals from across the public sector to run through the programme, most likely over a 2-day period. We hope this will not only produce some additional feedback about how we can refine the content, but, perhaps more importantly, generate some interest and encourage organisations to get involved with the programme.

We are also interested in finding teams or groups within public sector organisations in Wales who would like to try the DataBasic Cymru materials in their own organisations via a series of lunch and learn sessions over a couple of months.

By the autumn we hope to have a full, bilingual set of tested, remixed workshop approaches, with accompanying datasets and examples which we can make available to Welsh public services.

If you would like to be involved, please get in touch.

About the author

Suzanne Draper

Suzanne is our strategic lead for data collection and governance, with overall responsibility for data governance and all of our data collection, performance management and benchmarking work.


029 2090 9516