The Office for National Statistics, which is based in Newport, has won a coveted national award for excellence in official statistics for its groundbreaking work to produce the first official data on deaths of homeless people.

The Royal Statistical Society’s Campion Award for Excellence in Official Statistics recognised the project which used new techniques to ascertain whether someone who had died had been sleeping rough or using emergency accommodation immediately before their death.

By doing this, the ONS’s Health Analysis and Life Events team found that between January 2013 and December 2017 there had been an estimated 597 deaths of people in this category.

The statistics body was also named runner-up for the same award for its work linking two administrative data sets to provide the first official estimates of suicide among higher education students.

The Campion Award was named after Sir Harry Campion, the first director of the Central Statistical Office, which preceded the ONS. The award aims to recognise outstanding innovations or developments that improve a service to data users.

Meanwhile, data scientist Luke Shaw from the ONS’s Data Science Campus in Newport was presented with the award for statistical excellence in early career writing.

Luke received the prize along with his brother Liam, from the University of Oxford after writing an article, The Flying Bomb and the Actuary, which tells the story of the analysis by the actuary who studied the apparent clustering of V-1 missile strikes on London during the Second World War.

Iain Bell, deputy national statistician and director general for population and public policy at the ONS, said: “These prizes recognise the difference ONS’ work makes to real people’s lives.

“The data we produced last year on deaths of homeless people and on student suicides show the importance of ensuring our data shines a light on the society we live in, including the most vulnerable, to support decision-making in the UK.

“The ONS is an organisation that encourages innovation so it was also good to see Luke Shaw winning an award with his brother for their article on The Flying Bomb and the Actuary.”