..and statistics*! In an effort to combat the misuse of statistics by government and journalists a new blog-style website has been established. The site Straight Statistics is a useful tool in explaining best practice, as well as criticising the poor use of statistics.
As someone who is statistically-challenged, in that it’s an area of mathematics I’ve struggled with all my life, I think there’s great benefit in having simple explanations as to why certain practices are wrong. What has this to do with e-government? Statistics have been and are frequently used to explain why we need e-government, where the digital-divide lies or who uses it and so when. Employing statistics in government service and wishing to engage honestly with citizens, we need to employ statistics correctly.
To emphasise the problem, without meaning to give it a political bias, I can report that another blog has recently been complaining about government misuse of statistics – Left Foot Forward, so this is an appropriate time to mention it. However, the coalitions predecessors were equally guilty of such statistical spin.
So, whilst I hope for improvement, the above constraints are unlikely to be taken seriously by politicians or spin-doctors…
* My friend John Bibby appears to have made efforts in unravelling the origin of the quotation, a debate about which can be found on Wikipedia