NHS England - Transformation Directorate

AnalystX Observatory State of the Nation survey

Health and care organisations from across the country were invited to take part in a national census that will, for the first time, paint a picture on data and analytical professional teams.

Supported by Ipsos and the pan-organisational Developing Data Analysis as a Profession Board, the AnalystX Observatory Survey of the Nation aims to better harness the professional skills of analysts and data scientists and to support their professional learning and development.

The survey, which closed on 8 April 2022, was designed to be completed by heads or managers on behalf of their data professional teams and will collect information such as the structure and size of the teams, where they are situated, and how they are managed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you carrying out this survey?

There is currently no big picture of data professional teams, with only a number of isolated local surveys carried out in the past. This makes it more challenging when developing national policy or creating programmes of support for professional learning and development.

The survey findings will benefit data and analytics teams by helping to identify and develop access to training and development opportunities, aiding collaboration between teams (through improved knowledge sharing and project support) and influencing the development of a national framework which looks to create a standardisation of data roles and grades.

Who is conducting the survey?

The survey is being conducted by the AnalystX Observatory team, lead by Sarah Blundell, Lead for Analytics Development.

How will results from my team shape national work to support the profession?

The results from this survey could be combined with the Analytics Competency Framework to help build a national standardisation of data analytic job families to aid in development, upskilling and hiring.

The survey also forms a major step as part of one of the commitments set out in the government’s strategy Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data, which is to develop an analyst workforce observatory, including an annual census to inform how to better harness the professional skills of analysts and data scientists, and support their professional learning and development.

How can I keep up to date with developments on this work?

Updates on survey results and information regarding future surveys will be posted on this page, which can be accessed via the Data and Analytics Partnership Gateway. Members of the AnalystX community can access the AnalystX Observatory web page which will contain information about upcoming surveys, previous results and a forum to keep up to date with developments.

Data team managers who take part in the survey can also choose to opt-in to a mailing list from the AnalystX Observatory team to be kept updated with future developments.

Is there a way I can be more involved in this work?

Yes! This is the first national survey of its kind for analytical teams and our communication plans to ensure the survey reaches all data teams across health and care. We are however asking staff to share the survey with teams and organisations in their contacts to help ensure maximum participation.

We are planning on conducting further surveys in the future and intend to run feedback workshops on future surveys. We would appreciate volunteers to take part in these workshops to improve the quality of our surveys.

Data team managers who complete the survey will also be offered to take part in a short, anonymous feedback form to help us improve future surveys.

If you have any further ideas for future surveys and want to get even further involved, please reach out to Sarah Blundell

Will the survey results be published and if so when?

Yes, we will make the survey results available once analysis is complete. They will be available in May 2022 and AnalystX community members can view results on the AnalystX Observatory web page.

Data team managers who take part in the survey can choose to opt-in to hear more information from the Observatory by email which will also include the results from this survey.

How will the survey be used to make improvements?

Data from the survey will be used to shape existing national and regional programmes that are focused on professional development.

Will there be future surveys?

Yes, the AnalystX Observatory team plans to publish one-off surveys across the nation, as 'deep-dives', which target specific areas of data professionals’ work life, such as specific tools and software, day-to-day activity and personal development.

The team also intends to host an annual State of the Nation survey, similar to this survey which is currently live, to track how the data professional teams workforce changes over time.

What will the results mean for my team members?

The survey findings will benefit data and analytics teams in several ways:

  • Helping to identify and develop access to training and development opportunities
  • Opening up channels of communication so that teams can access relevant news and important
  • Aiding collaboration between teams, through improved knowledge sharing and project support
  • Influencing the development of a national framework which looks to create a standardisation of data roles and grades across health and care for development, hiring, upskilling and reviews/appraisals.

The results will also be used to design future deep-dive surveys aimed at data professional individuals with the aim of understanding their personal development, what specific software and tools they use and their day-to-day activities. This information will then be used to tailor training, development and upskilling materials best targeted at what data professional individuals will benefit from most.

How will my personal contact details be used?

Your personal details will be used to create a map of analytical teams across health and care.

There is an option at the end of the survey to choose to opt-in to receive email communication updates from the AnalystX Observatory team, including survey results and future surveys. The contact details for data team managers received from the survey will be stored in a secure contact database and will only be used to contact you to share training, collaboration and development opportunities that we believe will be beneficial to your team.

Your contact details will not be shared to third parties. You can opt-out of any contact at any time by contacting Sarah Blundell.

The personal contact details provided in the survey will be stored separately from the rest of the answers provided to ensure anonymity of responses.

Completing the survey - your questions answered

This section includes a selection of questions about completing the survey; however, if you have any further questions or require any assistance, then please contact Sarah Blundell.

I manage several data professional teams, how many responses should I submit?

We would like people who manage several teams to submit a separate survey response for every team. However, we understand that some individuals may manage a large number of teams and this can become time consuming.
In this case, we will accept one survey submission for several data teams. Please state in the team name field that this is a combined teams response. Also, make use of the ‘Other’ text field response boxes to provide separate information regarding each team where you are able, for example, ‘Team A consists of 8 data analysts and Team B consists for 3 Data Scientists’

I have vacancies in my team, where do I include this information in the survey?

In your responses to questions 8, 9 & 10, please include your vacancies as well as current employed staff. Later in the survey, there will be follow up questions asking about your current and recent vacancies.

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