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The GSS Methodology Advisory Committee

The GSS Methodology Advisory Committee (GSS MAC) is a free service providing departments across the Government Statistical Service with methodological advice. It facilitates access to a pool of subject matter experts spanning academia, private sector, GSS and other National Statistical Institutes.

The GSS MAC can advise on all parts of the statistical production process, covering areas such as, but not limited to:

  • survey methods
  • administrative data methods
  • data linkage
  • data science
  • innovation and development of new methods

 

The GSS MAC supports the GSS to shape and improve standards for methods, contributing to the credibility and usefulness of government statistics, offering:

  • expert advice and peer-review on individual research at various stages, from preliminary methods and ideas to more advanced work, providing advice on next steps
  • scoping and engagement work on developing new methods, including workshops and extraordinary meetings to tackle specific methodological challenges
  • independent state-of-the-art expert methods reviews
  • a collaborative approach to addressing methodological issues, encouraging knowledge sharing, and increasing ties between GSS and the wider expert community

The GSS MAC responds to two main types of requests:

1. Individual requests for expert advice and/or peer-review on specific projects

Example: A GSS statistician developing a new methodology for weighting a survey can ask GSS MAC for direct and tailored expert advice during the planning stage, while work is in progress, or obtain peer-review upon completion.

2. Scoping requests for developing new methodological frameworks and/or expert reviews in response to GSS priorities 

Example: A GSS department developing new methods for ensuring privacy and data confidentiality can gain a fresh insight into methodological innovations from outside GSS through a GSS MAC scoping meeting gathering leading subject matter experts, accompanied with continuous follow-up support and assurance from GSS MAC advisors.

 

Our response:

When requests are received, GSS MAC take a flexible approach tailored to the specifics of each case. Completion time will depend on request complexity and advisor availability. Below is an overview of the user engagement timeline.

Benefits for GSS departments

  • Timely advice and support to resolve a specific methodological issue.
  • Expert advice and evidence to inform GSS strategy and resource prioritisation in developing existing and new methodologies.
  • Peer-review of work in progress.
  • Potential for follow-on research support from advisor or associates.
  • Value added from discussion and debate between experts in scoping meetings.
  • Opportunity to keep abreast of research and development taking place outside GSS in a focused manner.
  • Closer ties with non-GSS experts and institutions.

 

Benefits for GSS MAC advisors

  • Recognition for resolving a specific methodological case, or contribution for role in shaping government statistics, through news item or blogs published on GSS website.
  • Potential to include work in relevant conference and symposium papers and/or journal publications.
  • Invitations to follow-up GSS MAC workshops and meetings.
  • Greater insight into challenges faced by statisticians in government.
  • GSS-wide opportunities to shadow the end-to-end process to develop capability.
  • Closer ties with GSS statisticians and wider network of GSS MAC advisors.

The GSS MAC is accountable to the Statistical Policy and Standards Committee (SPSC) and managed by the Best Practice and Impact division which sits within the Office for National Statistics.

In response to the GSS priority to adapt to the increasing role of administrative data in statistics production, the GSS MAC organised meetings and workshops to gather together 80 leading experts from academia, private sector and the GSS. They discussed challenges and set the strategic direction for the future development of administrative data methods across GSS.

Follow-up meetings and workshops were held across various GSS sites due to strong interest in the subject, and a specific channel on Slack was established to facilitate continuous engagement and discussion of administrative data challenges.

Meeting booklets and minutes for GSS MAC meetings in its previous (pre-restructured) format can be found below:

 

GSS MAC meeting 30

GSS MAC meeting 30 booklet, November 2015 (pdf, 2.2MB)

GSS MAC meeting 30 minutes, November 2015 (pdf, 390KB)

 

GSS MAC meeting 31

GSS MAC meeting 31 booklet, May 2016 (pdf, 1MB)

GSS MAC meeting 31 minutes, May 2016 (pdf, 388KB)

GSS MAC meeting 32

GSS MAC meeting 32 booklet, November 2016 (pdf, 2MB)

GSS MAC meeting 32 minutes, November 2016 (pdf, 458KB)

 

Pre-2015 meeting documentation can be found on the Office for National Statistics webpage here.

 

For further information, please see the GSS Methodology Advisory Committee brochure (PDF, 727KB).

Contact us

Email: gssmac@statistics.gov.uk

You are also welcome to join the GSS MAC Slack workspace, an online network for GSS MAC members to advise on and discuss statistical topics of interest.