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GSS > About us > Support for the GSS

Support for the GSS

The Best Practice and Impact (BPI) division in the Office for National Statistics supports everyone in the Government Statistical Service (GSS).  The division brings together the Good Practice Team, Quality Centre, Harmonisation Team, Methodology Advisory Committee and Methodology Advisory Service.

We work with statisticians and others across government to improve government statistics through advice, consultancy, training, guidance and champion networks.

You can contact all the BPI teams by email to gsshelp@statistics.gov.uk.  Your query will be routed through to the appropriate team.

The work of BPI falls under seven key themes:

1. Strategic direction

BPI provides strategic direction to help statistical users and producers across the GSS.

Directed by the Heads of Profession for statistics, BPI supports five domains of statistical work: statistical quality, harmonisation of statistics, best practice in statistics, methodological advice and statistical policy and guidance.

2. Sharing best practice

BPI identifies best practice across government, the private sector and internationally and shares that best practice across the GSS.

We facilitate champion networks to share expertise and best practice and promote collaboration.

We organise conferences like the GSS Methodology Symposium and the GSS Presentation and Dissemination Symposium that allow networking, sharing of expertise and a platform to discuss important topics.

We also set up innovation seminars and sharing seminars where departments can present their recent achievements, innovative ideas, and examples of best practice.

“It’s great to know that there exists the opportunity in government for such useful and insightful knowledge sharing“ – feedback from the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy following a consultation with the GSS Methodology Advisory Committee, facilitated by BPI.

3. Consultancy

BPI advises on issues including presenting statistics, statistical quality, harmonisation and applying the Code of Practice for Statistics.  The consultancy support we offer can range from informal chats to structured work packages.

We can visit your department to support you and provide you with guidance on any methodological, quality, presentation or harmonisation issue, free of charge.

Examples:

Improving quality with the Department for International Development (DfID)

In Autumn 2018, BPI reviewed DfID’s overall approach to data quality and provided recommendations on how they might improve this. We provided guidance to help statisticians identify the quality of existing data sources.

Reviewing a publication from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)

In November 2018, BPI worked with analysts from Home Office to review “Race and the Criminal Justice System 2016” from the MoJ. The discussion resulted in a detailed feedback report which was very well received.

Developing harmonised principles for loneliness

In December 2018, after direction from central government, consultation, workshops and testing with key stakeholders, BPI published the interim GSS harmonised principles to measure loneliness. These will standardise the way loneliness is measured across the GSS, improving comparability. These principles will be used in major studies to inform future policy.

4. Building capability

If you or your department would like to improve your skills and capabilities, BPI provides free support services including training courses, workshops, and seminars.

Take a look at the events area of the website to view upcoming seminars (or to look at ones that have happened in the past – some have slides from the presentations or information on future events).

Or, search through the training courses and workshops available for you to sign up to on the training courses webpage.

“Perhaps the best two hours of training I have ever had in my civil service career. Interactive and truly facilitative – rather than telling us what to do, eliciting responses from us first and getting us to work it out. Brilliant.” – feedback from a policy profession fast streamer at the Policy Profession Basecamp session on statistics.

5. Tools, guidance and standards

We develop and maintain guidance and policies to support statistical producers on a range of topics, including the collection, communication and dissemination of statistics.

Take a look at the guidance area to find out more.

We also maintain a set of harmonised principles across a range of topics, which can help you adopt best practice in data collection and ensure that data collected is comparable.

There is also free methodological advice available to the GSS via the GSS Methodological Advisory Committee and the GSS Methodological Advisory Service. These are both managed by BPI. Email gsshelp@statistics.gov.uk to find out more.

6. Assessment and monitoring

BPI run workshops to review and suggest improvements for statistical releases (these are sometimes called “scrums”).  We draw on experience and expertise from across the GSS to provide independent feedback to producers. The aim is to provide constructive, helpful feedback on presentation, quality, and harmonisation.

If you would like to put a statistical release forward for review, please email gsshelp@statistics.gov.uk

If you would like to take part in one of these workshops, they are advertised on the events page.

“The scrum was really helpful. We knew our report needed a refresh and having some external feedback was really useful.” Feedback from the Ministry of Defence following a workshop organised and attended by BPI.

7. Foster one GSS voice

To foster one voice for the GSS community, BPI uses several different channels:

Contact

Please email us at gsshelp@statistics.gov.uk if you have questions about anything mentioned on this page.