By Adam Al-Nuaimi, Head of Data Analysis, Welsh Revenue Authority.
During the early formation of the WRA, we knew that we wanted to take a different approach to the management and collection of the two new devolved Welsh taxes. This meant working differently; adopting a partnership-led approach to supporting taxpayers and their representatives to help them pay the right amount of tax first time.
To start to realise this approach, we needed to create a strong Data Analysis team who understood and embraced the ethos of the organisation and its vision. We wanted to use the data collected to support and develop our day-to-day operations but, we also wanted to publish trusted data and analyses which told an accurate, bespoke story for Wales.
To support the delivery of this new approach, we needed to create a small team of data specialists with the technical expertise to interrogate, handle and quality assure information which underpinned the WRA tax management and finance systems.
I came on board as lead officer in October 2017 and set about developing a new data function which supported the WRA organisational strategy in a new and exciting first-of-its-kind cloud-only environment.
Today, the Data team comprises of myself, the Data & IT manager, an Information manager and three analysts who all share experience in coding and use of new technologies such as business intelligence software.
The work of the Data team is structured around supporting the day-to-day operations including monitoring compliance, identifying tax risks as well as automation of key tasks, including those associated with data publication.
Other responsibilities include records management, GDPR compliance, management of relationship between the WRA and the Information Commissioner’s Office as well as key aspects of data security.
Our use of data is aligned to and supports the partnership-led approach which underpins the work of the WRA as a whole: for instance, we employ an ‘open’ approach to the availability of our data which can be used to help forecast by all interested and relevant parties. In addition, we publish monthly data followed by a more in-depth quarterly data and analyses report. This hopefully provides a degree of certainty around our ability to maintain publicly available information.
As with all other business areas within the WRA, we are still evolving and learning. As we develop our capabilities, skills and gather greater insight from the data, we will be developing more informed analysis to support the work of the WRA as well as provide high quality, expert advice to Welsh Ministers on tax devolution, administration and new tax consideration.