On 17 October 2023, the Bank of England (BoE) published the Independent Evaluation Office’s (IEO) evaluation of the BoE’s use of data to support its policy objectives.

The BoE’s Court of Directors commissioned its IEO in October 2022 to conduct the evaluation, in light of the BoE’s 2021-2024 strategic priority to modernise its ways of working. The BoE noted that it was vital to ‘stand back and consider’ whether its data capabilities will remain fit for purpose in a rapidly changing world.

IEO recommendations

The evaluation has rendered the following recommendations:

Theme 1: Agree a clear vision for data and analytics, supported by a comprehensive strategy and effective governance

  1. Agree and champion a vision for data use, matching funding to ambition.
  2. Collaboratively design deliverable BoE-wide and local business area data strategies to meet measurable business outcomes.
  3. Ensure governance structures can support the agreement, co-ordination and monitoring of data transformation, with clear accountability for delivery.

Theme 2: Break down institutional, cultural and technological barriers to keep the BoE’s data and analytical practices in step with a changing world.

  1. Improve day-to-day collaboration across the business on data and analytics.
  2. Agree the approach to sharing data and analytics inside and outside the BoE.
  3. Narrow the gap with modern data and analytics practices, with the most impactful initial step being a phased migration to cloud.
  4. Systematically monitor and experiment with new approaches and technology for data and analytics.

Theme 3: Ensure staff have the support and skills they need to work effectively with data.

  1. Embed common standards to make data and analysis easily discoverable and repeatable.
  2. Provide staff with the easily accessible support and guidance they need across the data lifecycle.
  3. Develop a comprehensive data skills strategy encompassing hiring, training, retention and role mix.

BoE response to IEO evaluation

The BoE has also published its response to the IEO’s evaluation of its use of data to support its policy objectives. It welcomes the recommendations in the IEO’s report on how it can build on what has already been achieved with respect to the three themes discussed in the review, noting that while the BoE has made significant progress in recent years in the use of data and analytics, it will need to do more in coming years to meet its ambition.

The response addresses each of the IEO’s themes and individual recommendations, and notes that that delivering the BoE’s vision will require:

  • Consistent sharing and management of, and access to, the BoE’s data.
  • Effective collaboration across the BoE.
  • A strong and effective framework and governance for data and analytics.
  • A clear and consistently funded roadmap towards a target technology and data architecture for the BoE.
  • All parts of the BoE to define their strategic goals for using data to support their business functions.

The BoE flags that this work will necessarily take time and, looking ahead, it will now undertake the detailed planning needed to implement the strategy and set out a timeline for a roadmap for change, including for the technology and data architecture, and the budget to deliver the investment necessary to implement it.

An update on progress will be communicated in Q1 2024 and the BoE will then publish the strategy, its plan for 2024/25, and three year change roadmap in its next Annual Report.