Public Servants Serving Our Society: Clare Griffiths

9 May 2022
Image of Prospect member Clare Griffiths

Clare Griffiths

Hi, my name’s Clare Griffiths. I’ve been an analyst in government since 1998 and I’m now the Head of UK COVID-19 Dashboard. This means I manage the team of people that update the daily government update on coronavirus. The dashboard brings together the main headline measures of how the pandemic is progressing. It’s not absolutely everything about COVID, but it’s the vitally important kind of the things that people look at to see the most up to date data on cases, deaths and healthcare, as well as the vaccination programme.

What I do day to day

My job is bringing together various different teams of people. I’ve got a team of analysts who work with pipeline engineers to pull together about 30 different data sources that feed the dashboard. There are that many because we’re bringing in data for England and the devolved nations and then turning that into UK figures. We also work with NHS England on healthcare data and on vaccinations. We do lots of data crunching in our pipeline to turn that all into metrics which then populate the dashboard itself.

We also have a user researcher, interaction designer and content designer who help us to make it so the public can understand it. Turning complex data into something everyone can understand is our key priority. We’ve also had a great response from the analytical community. But if it had just been a dashboard for analysts, I think it would have failed. Its main aim has always been to make it useful for the public, to help them in the middle of an incredibly stressful time, and we continue to work towards that. I’m really proud of that and it’s great to see friends who don’t know I’m working on it sharing it online.

Why being paid properly matters

The civil service doesn’t have any pay increments, which is a massive problem obviously because it means no pay progression. I think for younger colleagues joining that’s really disappointing. It also puts massive pressure on people to get promoted fairly quickly if they want to increase their pay.

I don’t think that’s particularly helpful for the business because you want people to develop deep knowledge and skills in an area, but before that to try out a range of different analytical areas of interest. You want people to find out what they’re passionate about and then get more into that. And if you’re just rushing straight up to a higher grade, you’ll lose out on that and might not have that depth of experience to bring to bear on what is essentially a managerial position.

Why being in a union matters

I’ve always been a trade unionist. What I say to people is that everything they’ve got that’s good at work is because trade unions negotiated it. There’s a huge power in coming together as a union. Particularly in the public sector, where everything is negotiated through trade unions because they’re recognized, you can make a big difference by getting involved.

Find out about our Public Services pay campaign, Serving Our Society, and see how you can support workers like Clare today.