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Editorial, October 2014

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Welcome to the sixth edition of Civil Service Quarterly. I am honoured to be taking over the stewardship of the magazine from Sir Jeremy Heywood. We’ve had a great year with over 60,000 unique users on the website. And I’m looking forward to an even more successful year to come.

This edition explores one of the Civil Service’s most important capabilities: our analytical skills. In a fast moving, unpredictable modern world our ability to use our data to inform policy making and help citizens is crucial. Today, increasing numbers of people are victims of mobile phone theft. The Behavioural Insights Team explains how they it has analysed crime data to discover which phones are most likely to be targeted. This helps consumers make informed choices and also puts pressure on manufacturers to improve security.

The Office for National Statistics offers us an intriguing view into how much the country spends on prostitution and drugs. It delves into the murkier side of life because it's part of a hugely important analysis of the overall state of the economy.

No less important is Cody Xuenig and Rory Moody’s article. It offers tools to help decide how much to spend on public services – a crucial question in a time of austerity.

And Steve Peters article on Linked Data is part of an ongoing theme that we will explore more in the next few issues. It looks at the innovative ways government is exploring its own data to bring immense value to citizens.

Another ongoing theme is a perennial one: How can we make the Civil Service we are so proud of fit for the challenges of the 21st Century? John Manzoni, our new chief executive, writes a pithy and frank response to the last edition’s article on government blunders. While for Stephen Muers it’s all about evolutionary forces: will your policy survive? Is it a dodo or a cockroach? And as the nights draw in, we also take you away to more exotic and beautiful places. Sarasa Podaval tells us about her experiences in Beijing as the first Department of Health employee ever to be seconded outside Europe. And finally, we hear how the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs helped preserve the national treasures of our canals... I hope you enjoy this edition of Civil Service Quarterly. Please do comment on the articles online and on social media using #CSQuarterly. You can also subscribe for free here.  We look forward to hearing your views.

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