The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) has today announced 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, named in honour of the late Sir Harry Campion – the first director of the Central Statistical Office and an RSS president – celebrates good practice in UK official statistics. The aim of the award is to recognise outstanding innovations or developments that improve the service to users. The past year has been particularly challenging, both for ‘business as usual’ and for the new statistics needed to monitor the impacts of the pandemic.

The 2021 winner is:

Covid-19 Deaths by Ethnicity – Office for National Statistics – Health Analysis and Modelling teams and Census and Population Statistics Hub in Methodology

This official analysis captures health inequalities and ethnicity, which has been a key issue during the pandemic. It found that those from certain ethnic groups were at a far greater risk of dying from Covid-19 and has had a profound impact on decision-making – from government policy through to the handling of the disease in hospitals. The judges considered this to be an outstanding example of work that was clearly communicated, innovative, timely and informing a critical topic. It is a powerful demonstration of what can be achieved through data linkage and regression analysis. High quality data visualisations also helped to make an impact on both public knowledge and government policy.

Highly commended is:

Comparisons of all-cause mortality between European countries and regions: January to June 2020 – Office for National Statistics – Methods and International team – Health Analysis and Life Events Division

This release was the first reliable international comparison of mortality produced during the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing us to better understand the experience of the UK in an international context. The judges considered the work to be an outstanding example of how to best compare countries on sound and consistent lines. It highlighted patterns of mortality authoritatively, bringing rigour to the debate on international comparisons. The solid methodology was supported by excellent graphics showing the spread of Covid over time and space. It met a real need for reliable information in a context where it was generally lacking.

Chair of the Authority, Sir David Norgrove, said:

‘The team [at the Office for National Statistics] behind this year’s winner [Covid-19 Deaths by Ethnicity,] produced a profound piece of analysis that had huge effects right across Government and the health service. I enthusiastically congratulate them on this piece of work. It was vitally important to the response to the pandemic. It won out in a very wide range of outstanding projects, showing just how important statisticians have been during the pandemic.

‘The analysis and use of statistics is more prominent in public life than it has ever been, and our statisticians have risen to the challenge despite having to work largely from home, and adapt our surveys to keep people safe and results reliable. Well done to all the nominees for their hard work.’

Dev Virdee, Chair of the Campion Award committee, added:

‘Given the outstanding work all government statisticians have been doing over the last year or so, I knew this would be a particularly hard year to judge. All entries were of extremely high quality and really showcased the hard work that has been done by statisticians across the Government Statistical Service, both in response to the pandemic and in ensuring the core statistical releases continue to be produced to a high quality. Our winning and highly commended teams are to be congratulated for the impact they have had on policy-making and in meeting user needs.’

Please visit the RSS website for more information about the Campion award.