The site was set up to fulfil the widely recognised need for improvement in communication between users, and between users and producers, of official statistics. It makes use of the latest social networking technologies, providing facilities for discussion, sharing of resources, interactive content and blogging. There is also a selection of featured articles and multimedia on the homepage.
James Tucker, user engagement programme manager, has overseen the development of the site. ‘It is already home to a selection of topic based communities, which have hosted debates on high-profile issues such as the future of the Consumer Price Index,’ he explains. ‘It is also progressing towards being a one-stop-shop for resources, such as presentations, articles and useful links. Take a look at the 2011 census community to see this in action.’
This online approach has helped broaden the reach of existing user groups in the RSS’s Statistics User Forum, and has also provided the flexibility for communication outside of face-to-face meetings.
‘The site is free to use, and anyone can join and participate simply by signing up at www.statsusernet.org.uk and finding a community of interest,’ James continues. ‘We aim to expand the site to cover an even broader range of subject areas and users, so if users have an idea for a community, please get in touch.’