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GSS Conference 2018 – A word from John Pullinger

This year’s conference is building up to be a truly outstanding one. It marks the 50th anniversary of the Government Statistical Service (GSS). Those 50 years span enormous change and advancement of statistics and their use. It is worth reflecting on the statistical landscape 50 years ago.

Claus Moser was just appointed as head of the Central Statistical Office (now ONS) at a time when radical reform was needed to statistics in government. There were demands for good quality statistics on housing, employment and the economy. Social and economic policy was being made on incorrect and out of date statistics. Data was not being shared efficiently across government delaying its use in decisions. There was duplication of work in some areas and gaps in others. It lacked a joined-up approach across government.

Claus recognised the efficient utilisation of statistics within government relied on the decentralisation of their production but with a greater central coordination. He put forward a series of recommendations which were accepted and the newly formed Government Statistical Service began to transform this.

Claus’s early work to meet the increased and growing complexity of demands on the GSS has been a springboard for us to be at the heart of good decision making. 50 years later to meet today’s needs we must deliver faster, finer grained and more relevant statistics and draw on previously unimaginable data sources and data science techniques. I am confident the Government Statistical Service is in good shape to step up.

We are doing fantastic things with statistics. We are evaluating how success at school links to success in the workplace. Using predictive analytics we are improving tax compliance. Creating a service offer we are helping charities working with ex-offenders to assess “what works”. Our economic statistics research programme is enriching our understanding of productivity. Using machine learning we are finding insights from complex data to help make better decisions.

The 2018 GSS Conference theme is centred around the advancement in analytical methodology, supporting transparency and collaboration. Many of you have worked on things that others across the GSS would love to hear about. I would encourage you to consider presenting this or produce a poster on your work.

The deadline for submitting abstracts is Monday 30th April. All submissions should be sent to the 2018 GSS conference team. More information is also available on the conference webpage.

I hope to see many of you there.

John Pullinger

National Statistician

John Pullinger