Data, decisions and impact: How statisticians and operational researchers can help civil society

Date: Tuesday 03 November 2020, 1.00PM
Location: Online
RSS Event

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The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) and Operational Research Society (ORS) are hosting an online event to highlight the ways in which volunteers with statistical and operational research expertise have worked with charities to deliver better data analysis and robust decision making.

This event will:
  • Promote the work of our member volunteers and organisations we have supported
  • Increase awareness in the sector about the role and importance of data in decision making
  • Increase awareness in the sector about pro bono initiatives run by the RSS and ORS
  • Connect charitable organisations and our volunteer community
  • Let us know the statistical and operation research needs of the sector.
This event will be of interest to voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations. Come along if you are interested in getting pro bono support from the RSS or ORS. We also welcome past volunteers and beneficiaries, as well as statisticians and operational researchers who are keen to offer their skills pro bono to help charitable organisations.

The Operational Research Society runs ProBono OR which helps analysts donate their time and skills to help charities or other voluntary organisations. The Royal Statistical Society has its pro bono initiative, Statisticians for Society, which connects third sector organisations with professional statisticians who can provide expert help with collecting, analysing and presenting data.

This event will be hosted live on Zoom but registration is required. Joining instructions will be sent to registered delegates nearer the time

Join us during Pro Bono Week for a live celebration of our member volunteers and their partnerships with charitable organisations for the benefit of the wider society.


1pm: Welcome and introductions
Rob Mastrodomenico, chair of Statisticians for Society

1.05pm: Summary of Pro Bono OR Scheme and what operational research analysts do
Ruth Kaufman, former president of the Operational Research Society and co-founder of Pro Bono OR

1:10pm: Statistical support for Embrace Wigan and Leigh
Laura Howell and David Loughlin will be discussing how they got involved with Statisticians for Society. Their presentation will focus on how they found the experience, outline what statistical support they provided to the charity, Embrace Wigan and Leigh, and what the outcomes were.

1:25pm: Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Crimestoppers
Jane Parkin will be discussing her volunteer experience and project involvement with Pro Bono OR. Jane’s presentation will focus on her Pro Bono OR project with the national organisation, Crimestoppers, and how she helped them to cope with increased business while improving their performance without increasing their staffing costs.

1:40pm: Questions from the audience

1.55pm: Panel discussion
Dr Matt Thomas, British Red Cross
Kirsten Mulcahy, The Social Investment Business
Jo Kerr, Turn2us
Andriana Ntziadima, The National Lottery Community Fund
Ruth Kaufman, Pro Bono OR

2.40pm: Final remarks from the chair

2.45pm: Close

Laura Howell
After completing a BSc in Mathematics and MSc in Statistics, Laura Howell has worked as a senior research assistant and then as a research associate in the Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). She provided statistical support to four NHS trusts and supported a number of clinical trials. Laura is currently working as a Statistician for the Government Statistical Service.

David Loughlin
David Loughlin is a statistical officer for HMRC and has been in this role for almost 4 years. David’s work focuses on data quality, looking internally at HMRC’s core systems, processes and data flows to help drive changes and improvement on data quality pain points, in turn helping to make our data a valuable asset to the organisation.

Dr Matt Thomas
Dr Matt Thomas is Head of Strategic Insight & Foresight at the British Red Cross. His team combines research with data analytics to understand where, how and who might be vulnerable to various emergencies and crises within the UK. This year, the team created a Vulnerability Index that maps clinical and socioeconomic vulnerability to Covid-19 for neighbourhoods in the UK – the subject of Matt’s panel discussion.

Jo Kerr
Jo Kerr is director of impact and innovation at Turn2us. She has dedicated her career to the social sector, focusing on strategy, leadership and change through a digital lens. Jo joined Turn2us in January 2020 after two years as a freelance consultant and leadership coach. Jo is interested in innovating how they work as well as what they do, and is passionate about co-producing their products and programmes with people with lived experience of poverty.

Kirsten Mulcahy
Kirsten is Head of the Social Economy Datalab (SEDL) at Social Investment Business (SIB). SEDL is using real-time card spend data to track the economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, at a highly localised level. This data has been shared openly through media and social sector partnerships; and in the panel discussion, we will touch on how social economy actors are integrating this data into COVID recovery decision-making, to best support the most vulnerable communities.

Jane Parkin
Jane Parkin is an independent OR consultant at Carr House Consulting. She has over 20 years’ experience in providing operational research solutions across a range of industries.

Andriana Ntziadima
Andriana Ntziadima is portfolio manager at The National Lottery Community Fund. She will provide a funder perspective during the panel discussion on the trends that they are seeing in data usage and whether the pandemic has changed the way data are used in the sector.

Organising Group: The Royal Statistical Society and the Operational Research Society
Organiser Name: Amaka Nwagbara
Email Address –