The ONS has just announced that it will be opening five new centres each dedicated to a key policy area, with one of their centres to focus on data relating to crime and justice, and another looking at social mobility and equality issues.

The Office is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and is recognised as the national statistical institute for the UK.

Announcing the new centres on their blog this afternoon, the ONS says it will be focusing on “filling evidence gaps and producing incisive analysis that illuminates the key policy challenges of the age.” The Office hopes the move will help to better inform the public and policy makers.

This development is interesting. Not only is the ONS looking to increase its output on issues that are current, it’s also hoping to pioneer data collection and analysis. The Office are going to do this using new sources of data, adopting the latest tools and approaches, and collaborating with other organisations and individuals. Their Twitter feed has also begun to feature product demos in the form of interactive data charts and maps.

The five new centres are:

  • Centre for Ageing and Demography – assessing the needs of an ageing population
  • Centre for Equalities and Inclusion – addressing questions about fairness and equality in society
  • Centre for Crime and Justice – improving the understanding of the nature of crime
  • Centre for Subnational Analysis – to help local areas design their own policies
  • Centre for International Migration – understanding migration’s significance in our population and economy

Perhaps the two centres of most interest to child welfare organisations will be the Centre for Inequalities and Inclusion and the Centre for Crime and Justice, with upcoming projects to include gathering data on sexual offences from across the criminal justice system to offer deeper insights into this area.

The ONS blog explains in more detail, what these two centres will provide:

“The Centre for Equalities and Inclusion will span a wide range of cross-cutting topic areas including gender and ethnic pay gaps, inter-generational fairness, social and financial exclusion, social mobility, economic inequalities, and inclusive growth. The Centre has also contributed to new EU Guidelines on Inequalities Data Collection and Analysis, to be published later this year.

The Centre for Crime and Justice will be publishing the Domestic Abuse Compendium later this year. Although this publication is not new (see last year’s here) it shows the partnership work the centre will be engaging in; working with a range of internal and external experts and drawing on both our own and others’ data to produce the best insights on some of the most pressing topics. Following this publication, the Centre will be looking to take a similar approach to sexual offences drawing together data from across the crime and criminal justice system to provide new insights in this area.”

ONS Stats