Leaving @ONSdigital


Never one to miss out on a trend I thought I’d join the prime minister, England football manager, countless shadow cabinet members, the leader of an unnamed party and at least one famous TV presenter who have all resigned from their jobs in the last 10 days or so.

After three years and change I will be leaving the Office for National Statistics in early September. I recently wrote a bit of a review of those first three years so I’m not going to revisit that and elsewhere I wrote a (long) list of the things I have been proud to be involved in during that time and those still hold so no need to rewrite that again (god I love hyperlinks!).

I’m very proud of the work we have done in this time but more than that I am proud of the way we worked. I’ve been incredibly privileged to work alongside the people I have and to have received the consistent support during good and less good times.

A big part of the reasons I took the job was to work with/for Laura and that turned out to be one of my smarter choices and every single other member of Digital Publishing has been a massive help to me at one time or another.

The level of interest and support I experienced from the very pinnacle of the organisation (Sir Andrew Dilnot — Chair of the UK Statistics Authority and John Pullinger — National Statistician) was amazing — at every step they backed and encouraged us (but not without making sure we were held to account of course). Giving a demo of the Beta to Nicholas Macpherson, then Permanent Secretary of the Treasury and about the most senior Civil Servant in the land at the time, and John Pullinger is one of those nerve wracking moments I’ll always remember.

The digital/technology side of ONS has been going through pretty seismic changes in the last couple of years and it is already unrecognisable from when I started. The place is in good hands with the leadership team Heather has built and the talent the organisation is now attracting (as well as promoting — there were always good people at ONS on the technology side of things and they are starting to get their opportunity now — I couldn’t be more pleased.)

One thing I will always be thankful to ONS for is the extent to which they allowed me to work in the open to the extent I do. Apart from one hiccup (which was on me) I have been able to operate with a level of openness and transparency that comes natural to me — but not necessarily to an organisation like the ONS — throughout my time at the organisation and that combined with getting over my fear of public speaking opened up a lot of doors for me. So thanks!

I do have another role lined up but I’ll talk about that in a future post — for now I just want to say thanks to everyone I have worked with the last few years in ONS and external (I’d especially like to say thanks to Will and Full Fact plus Jeni and the ODI folk) and to say I am around for a couple of months still so plenty of time to make my life difficult if you are so inclined 🙂

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