Office for National Statistics and the Alan Turing Institute announce collaboration on new projects to help track changes in the economy

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and  Knowledge Quarter partner The Alan Turing Institute on the 14th of June announced that they are embarking on a new strategic partnership which aims to produce close to real-time economic statistics to help track changes in the economy while preserving privacy.

The collaboration, which will initially run for two years, will involve ONS economists, analysts and data scientists working closely with a team of Turing researchers on a series of projects.

The first three projects will be:

Understanding Economic Networks: This project will utilise a variety of cutting-edge data science techniques to provide new insights about transactions between firms in near real-time, allowing the ONS to better understand the impact of seasonal patterns and major events such as the Covid-19 pandemic or Brexit on the UK economy.

Economic nowcasting: This project will involve rapidly bringing together a range of new data, to create economic models in close to real-time that track changes in retail prices, household spending and income at a detailed local level.

Synthetic data and privacy preservation: This project will develop tools to allow the sharing of private datasets with a wider range of stakeholders while preserving privacy.

Adrian Smith, Institute Director and Chief Executive of The Alan Turing Institute, said:

“High quality data is crucial to the future growth, efficiency and stability of the UK economy. This exciting new strategic partnership gives us a new opportunity to work closely with ONS to provide timely insights enabling data driven decisions with the potential to improve our socio-economic wellbeing.”