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How the Best Practice and Impact (BPI) team can help you!

Do you think your statistical publication or the presentation of your analysis could be improved, could your tables be presented more simply, would you like to know how to produce infographics, could your policy colleagues benefit from understanding the basics in statistics, would you like some statistical methodological advise, would you like some academic input or peer review for your work, would you like an independent assessment of your teams work or capabilities to help improve your customer service, would you like the readers of your statistics to find it easier to interpret them correctly, would you like your statistics harmonised so that it’s easier to link them across sources ….if you said yes to any of these then the BPI can help you, quickly and for free!

The Best Practice & Impact division was set up late last year and brings together the Good Practice Team, GSS Quality Centre, GSS Harmonisation Team and Methodology Advisory Service to support the GSS improve Government Statistics. I blogged in late March setting out the 7 themes we’re working under and so I thought I’d give you an update on what we’ve been doing recently.

Providing strategic direction

We have been working on a National Statistics Quality Review (NSQR) on privacy and data confidentiality. NSQRs are reviews we are conducting on behalf of and for the GSS to ensure we (the GSS) think ahead and think strategically about the statistical methods we should be using to keep pace with changing data sources and technologies. For this NSQR we have a number of world leading experts writing articles on the art of the possible on data privacy and confidentiality methods and we’ve been working with government departments to understand the types of processes they deploy for example around statistical disclosure control. Once we understand the art of the possible and the landscape across the GSS as is we’ll jointly agree across the GSS a way forward and develop an implementation plan to ensure the GSS is using the most appropriate methods and IT to ensure privacy and data confidentiality

Building capability

We have run 75 training courses across 23 departments in 2018, with the majority under the themes of Data Visualisation, the Code of Practice, and the GSG Induction and Foundations.


We were commissioned by NHS digital to review the Adult Social Care team’s statistical capabilities and ability to meet changing user needs. We have met with most of the team and we’re meeting with lots of their stakeholders. We have come in as a friendly face providing independent thoughts and ideas about how the team operate, what’s working well, areas for improvement etc. We have also been asked by VOA to help them on the back of a UKSA breach to assess how they are putting the Code of Practice into practice, which should be another exciting project.

Share best practice

We are inviting every government department to run an innovation seminar, showcasing the innovative statistical / data / data science work they have been doing to the National Statistician. This is a great opportunity for us to understand the good practice that is going on across government, which we can then share more widely, as well as it being a great opportunity to showcase to the National Statistician and the top of your own offices. We have a few set up already but I’ll be writing out to your HoP over the summer to set up more.

Guidance & standards

All the GSS guidance has been updated in light of the revised CoP

One GSS voice

The revamped GSS website was launched, which I hope you’re all finding an easier and more informative way to get information. The GSS Slack community now has more than 500 people registered, and it’s growing by the day. We want Slack to be the place where you can function across department and location more effectively, whether you’re working on a cross GSS project, or as part of a committee or network – we can help you get set up! Sign up if you haven’t already, and ask your colleagues to do the same.


We ran a workshop in early May, with attendees from across government, to explore what good presentation in statistics looks like, which we have used to refine our statistical reviews of publications (RAG reviews). Basically the BPI team will take a sample of publications from across the GSS and review them. These reviews provide a feedback loop for individual producers but also gives us evidence on where we need to build future capability, standards or guidance. These reviews will kick off in earnest in the autumn with input from presentation, quality and harmonisation champions.

And finally I wanted to let you know that the National Statistician and senior leadership team in ONS really understand the importance of the work we’re doing to support the GSS improve government statistics which is why we’re significantly increasing the size of BPI. We’re in the final stages of recruiting Grade 6’s, Grade 7’s, SSTO’s and SRO’s into the team and if you’re an experienced fast streamer, particularly with experience in policy departments, keep an eye out for a couple of new opportunities being advertised soon if you’d like to join us!

If you would like us to help you or your team please get in touch with me.

Julie Stanborough

Julie Stanborough
Ami Treharne