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GSS > About us > Champion networks > Harmonisation champions

Harmonisation champions

Harmonisation champions aim to increase the harmonisation of government statistics. This means increasing the commonality in definitions, survey questions, administrative data and presentation of outputs across the Government Statistical Service (GSS).

Their main responsibilities are to:

  • promote a cross-government programme of harmonisation
  • attend and actively participate in harmonisation champion meetings
  • share their own experiences with the harmonisation champion network
  • build links with other harmonisation champions
  • actively contribute to GSS-wide harmonisation initiatives
  • keep colleagues and their department’s statistical Head of Profession up to date with harmonisation initiatives
  • act as a central point of contact for advice on harmonisation
  • identify opportunities for harmonisation
  • keep the network updated on departmental harmonisation work and progress against harmonisation targets

The network of harmonisation champions supports the statistical Heads of Profession and the Harmonisation Team, a GSS-facing team which sits within the Best Practice and Impact division within the Office for National Statistics. The Harmonisation Team manages the harmonisation champion network.

The work done by the champions will feed directly into the Heads of Profession Group meetings.

Want to be a harmonisation champion?

Each government department can nominate a harmonisation champion (or several champions) to work with the network of harmonisation champions across the GSS.

If you would like to be a harmonisation champion please email:


The GSS Harmonisation Champion Network (HCN) has been created for two main purposes: firstly to  support GSS Heads of Profession (HoPs) and the GSS Harmonisation Team in identifying opportunities to improve the comparability and coherence of all UK Official Statistics  Secondly, to enable the GSS to deliver the aims outlined in the GSS Harmonisation Strategy.

They will primarily do this by helping to ensure statistical outputs comply with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and where appropriate adopt the GSS Harmonised Principles. As well as this, they will identify opportunities for further development of new principles and tools to improve comparability of statistics, and facilitate knowledge sharing and innovation with regards to harmonisation across the GSS.


 The HCN is organised as follows:

In this way, the Harmonisation Champions are accountable to the GSS Statistical HoPs, with the GSS Harmonisation Team acting as a conduit reporting back to the HoPs on behalf of the HCN. The Chair of the HCN is at the HoP level, but as well as being on the HoP board acts in the network specifically as a senior Champion. As the network evolves, it is intended that the Champions will build relationships within the HCN.


The role of a GSS Harmonisation Champion is as follows:

  • to raise awareness of the cross-government programme of GSS Harmonisation Principles within your department;
  • to provide advice and support over compliance with GSS Harmonised Principles, particularly with teams responsible for statistical inputs and outputs;
  • to flag up any issues of compliance with the GSS Harmonisation Principles with the GSS Harmonisation Team, so that support and advice can be offered;
  • to share good practice and news of introducing improvements to Harmonised Principles for statistical outputs with the rest of the HCN through regular meetings and updates;
  • to take the opportunity to broaden knowledge of good practice across the GSS and build links with other Harmonisation Champions;
  • to build links with survey managers and data owners in their departments or business areas to ensure harmonisation is considered when necessary, such as in the development of a new survey or data source;
  • to ensure HoPs and colleagues within departments are kept up to date with key developments relating to Harmonisation; and
  • acting as a central point of contact for advice on Harmonisation and working with HoPs to identify opportunities for harmonisation.

The group membership will consist of representatives from departments across the GSS and Devolved Administrations responsible for statistical inputs and outputs. In instances where it is necessary there can be multiple Champions per department.

The role of the GSS Harmonisation Team is as follows:

  • to coordinate the HCN, including arranging meetings and compiling a quarterly update;
  • to provide support and assistance to the GSS Harmonisation Champions to assist them in undertaking their role including visiting departments to undertake a presentation and/or meet with staff;
  • to keep GSS Harmonisation Champions informed about any changes to GSS Harmonisation Principles or existing harmonisation guidance;
  • to maintain the HCN online presence to provide documentation in the forms of links to existing guidance which supports GSS Harmonisation (and in turn the Code of Practice for Official Statistics); and
  • to report back to the HoPs annually over progress and achievements with the HCN.

A further role whose definition may be of use to Champions is the ‘Harmonisation Topic Lead’. There are Topic Leads for each overarching area of harmonisation (e.g. Health, Housing etc.), and they act as our subject matter experts. Common responsibilities of the Topic Lead include chairing topic group meetings and providing ad-hoc subject-specific expertise.  This is different to the role of the Champion, which is to be the representative and main point of communication for the GSS Harmonisation programme in their department, cascading out and feeding back information and support on harmonisation.


The group membership will consist of representatives from departments across the GSS and devolved administrations who are responsible for statistical inputs and outputs.


This group is for the benefit of the GSS and all users of government statistics. It’s ultimate aim is to improve the comparability and coherence of government statistics.


In scope:

  • to advise and encourage teams responsible for statistical inputs and outputs to use the harmonised principles
  • to promote good practice
  • to facilitate discussion and knowledge sharing

Out of scope:

  • enforcement of the harmonised principles

It is not the intention for the ONS harmonisation champion or any of the other harmonisation champions to seek to enforce harmonisation principle compliance. Instead, the aim of the network is to promote good practice and offer support and advice to make compliance with the harmonised principles easier to achieve.


The primary form of communication between the ONS harmonisation champion and the other harmonisation champions will be by email correspondence, bi-annual meetings, and quarterly updates.  There may be further opportunities to communicate at events, workshops or conferences.

List of harmonisation champions.

If you can’t access this document, please let us know by emailing

Best Practice and Impact division


Background information

The harmonisation champion network replaces the National Statistics Harmonisation Group (NSHG). The steering group which the NSHG reported to (the National Statistics Harmonisation Steering Group (NSH SG)) has now been disbanded.

Agendas and papers for the National Statistics Harmonisation Group

Minutes for the National Statistics Harmonisation Group

Agendas and papers for the National Statistics Harmonisation Steering Group

Minutes for the National Statistics Harmonisation Steering Group