Campion Award: 2023 winners

We are pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Campion Award for Excellence in Official Statistics, awarded in partnership with the UK Statistics Authority and Civil Service World.

The award celebrates good practice in UK official statistics, recognising outstanding innovations and developments that improve the user experience. It is named in honour of the late Sir Harry Campion, the first director of the Central Statistical Office, the forerunner of the Office for National Statistics and RSS president from 1957 to 1959.

Winner:Pupil attendance in schools – maximising value from real-time attendance data - School Census Statistics Team, Department for Education

With school attendance and the safeguarding issues arising from it being a key societal issue from the pandemic onwards, statisticians at the Department for Education proactively responded to the need for better data. Within six months, the team delivered a system to collect daily pupil-level attendance from schools, and since September 2022 have published fortnightly official statistics. This has allowed policymakers to respond rapidly to arising issues and to identify trends.  

The judges considered this to be an example of agile, useful data provision and an exemplar for others to follow. They were also impressed with the efforts made to ensure transparency so the findings could be communicated to a broad audience, as well as the use of new administrative data.  

Highly commended:Shining a light on the population: Finding new ways to release the value of the 2021 Census - ONS 2021 Census Outputs & Dissemination and ONS Digital Publishing teams

The team behind the 2021 Census in England and Wales successfully met the challenge of meeting a wide range of user needs. The team produced a range of products to ensure the results were accessible to different audiences – including statistical bulletins, a census dictionary, interactive maps and engagement via the media. In a unique innovation, a ‘create a custom dataset’ tool was developed to release billions of anonymised census statistics more quickly than before.  

The judges considered this work to be a real extension of the UK’s statistical assets. They were impressed with the quality of the tools and outputs – which are well-designed, efficient and user-friendly. They have also had a very positive reception from a wide range of users as well as excellent media coverage.  

Dev Virdee, Chair of the Campion Award committee, said: ‘Our winning entry is an excellent example of the use of data to respond to a serious societal issue and policymaker needs. Our highly commended entry is a real showcase of government statisticians going above and beyond in their commitment to meeting user needs. Both teams are to be congratulated for their commitment to good practice.’  

Sir Robert Chote, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, added: ‘The School Census Statistics Team are a worthy winner of this year’s award, putting the needs of users at the heart of innovation to deliver timely insights for the public good. Many congratulations to both teams for excellent entries to this year’s Campion Award.’

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