With 10 of us attending via Teams, it was good to catch up! Louise Reeve (LARIA North East Organiser) led with a presentation on ‘The Census: What’s New, and What’s In It for You?’, describing how ONS plan to increase digital participation in Census to 75% in 2021, and get the data outputs to users in a way that works best for them. We discussed both plans for the Census, and issues that members were facing and expect to face in future, such as:

  • For some attendees, the challenge of successfully carrying out their regular role whilst at the same time completing a Data Analyist Apprenticeship – and whether local authorities have fully embraced data science and what it can offer us.
  • The extent to which local authorities are able to do ‘in-depth’ or ‘proactive’ research, rather than reactive research.
  • How we will manage workloads in 2021 when tasks that were put on hold during the pandemic have to be caught up with.
  • The difficulties of keeping up with what’s happening when no-one’s in the office – and how we’re looking forward to hopefully getting back into it in 2021.
  • The logistical difficulties of the upcoming vaccination programme.
  • The opportunities offered by Census 2021, particularly for those of us managing data platforms such as Durham Insight.

Despite the challenges, all agreed it was good to catch up. We’ll have another event soon!