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A free consultancy service for the Government Statistical Service

The Best Practice and Impact (BPI) division based at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), provides a range of services for the whole Government Statistical Service (GSS) to help improve official statistics.

One service we offer is free consultancy. This can be tailored to any challenges or obstacles your department faces. Recently, the Quality Centre in BPI has completed a review into the overall approach to data quality at the Department for International Development (DfID).

What was the challenge?

DfID face unique challenges in identifying the quality of their data and managing their quality assurance processes. This is because diverse offices in developing nations are operating under a variety of conditions using different systems and mechanisms. In these conditions it is hard to implement standard procedures and reporting mechanisms, thus making consistency and comparability of the data difficult.

They asked the Quality Centre to review the current processes in place and the improvement plan they had developed. We were also asked to provide recommendations on how to improve their approach and guidance for statisticians and data collectors.

What did we do?

After several meetings with colleagues from several different areas in DfID, including international calls as far as Pakistan, we collated our findings and recommendations into a report. The report outlines recommendations to help DfID raise awareness of the importance of data quality in the organisation, improve collaboration between DfID central and country offices and make links with similar organisations and work with them to overcome data quality issues. Some “quick wins” were also included outlining measurable steps to get the process moving.

To help implement these recommendations and assist in updating their internal guidance, Rebecca Jones from BPI will be going on secondment to DfID for two months. This will include spending two days a week in their central office and one week in one of their international offices piloting the new guidance.

Neil Jackson, the Chief Statistician for DfID, said of the consultancy project:

“The review was really helpful. We knew our approach needed refinement and having an external perspective was really useful. We have some good suggestions to take on board and look forward to continue working with the Best Practice and Impact Division through the secondment to drive the improvement of our results data.”

What can we offer you?

BPI has also undertaken significant consultancy projects for NHS Digital and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We have also completed a consultancy day with the Valuations Office Agency providing instant guidance and support.

This service is available to the whole GSS, if you are interested in this consultancy service or would like to know more about BPI, please email

Rebecca Jones
Sarah Tucker
Statistical fast streamer based in the Best Practice and Impact Division at the Office for National Statistics.