DSC-186 Free ports consultation analysis

The project will aim to help the Department of International Trade (DIT) efficiently support their policy makers when reading and analysing the Free Ports Consultation. The project will also build the skills and capability of DIT to perform their own analysis moving forward.

Team members

  • Stuart Newcombe
  • David Pugh

Impact (see the impact assessment framework for further details)

Which of the Campus strategic objectives would this project deliver, and how?

  • Building capability

What is the policy impact? Why is this project important?

  • Will help DIT inform decisions on Free Ports policy
  • Will help guide policy makers read and understand key responses
  • Will increase capability of DIT to analyse their own consultations moving forward

What is the technical impact?

  • The project will use simple NLP techniques such as TF-IDF and topic modelling

Why should the Campus do it?

  • Capability building only, the work contains no novel techniques and small corpus

Portfolio balance and stakeholders

  • Project covers economics and trade
  • Stakeholders are DIT

Project management

  • The project will aim to help DIT quickly analyse the Free ports consultation
  • Project will start as the consultation launches in February
  • Data source will be Freeports Consultation responses. Until the consultation closes it is unknown the quantity and quality of these responses. Data will have all identifying and protected characteristic information removed and should be treated as official sensitive.
  • It is uncertain what quantity and quality of data is expected. The consultation question structure could lead to a very sparse dataset with short responses . Date and structure of consultation are unclear and changing regularly - the consultation may not even go ahead. The ability to apply any techniques will be very dependent on the data collected. Resource at DIT could also be reassigned with little notice.

Code and outputs

  • Example code handed to DIT for use on their system
  • Previous DIT consultation analysis (unpublished)


  • Awaiting details from DIT

Further information

Please contact datasciencecampus@ons.gov.uk for more information.


  • No updates yet.


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