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GSS > Events > Government Statistical Service (GSS) Conference 2019

Government Statistical Service (GSS) Conference 2019

From 1st October 2019 10:00am to 2nd October 2019 4:00pm
Sheraton Hotel, 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh, EH3 9SR

We are pleased to announce that the 2019 Government Statistical Service (GSS) Conference will be taking place at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh on the 1 and 2 October.

The conference is titled “GSS Conference 2019: Our Statistics, Today’s Issues” with a theme of “Government data informing public debate and shaping policy through evidence-based decision making.

The conference will be an exciting opportunity to meet other statisticians and data scientists working across a variety of organisations and will allow you to share ideas and examples of excellence in the field of evidence-based decision making.  The first GSS Awards will also be held at this year’s conference. The awards will recognise and celebrate the excellent work being done across the GSS.


Each department’s Head of Profession (HoP) has now been informed of their ticket allocation for the Conference. If you would like to attend, please see your HoP newsletter for information about how to register your interest.


We are pleased to release a draft agenda for this year’s conference.

9:30 to 10:45                             Registration

10:45 to 10:55                           Welcome and Opening Remarks

10:55 to 11:15                            National Statistician

11:15 to 12:00                            Keynote Speaker

12:00 to 12:15                            Break

12:15 to 13:15                            Parallel Session 1a/1b

13:15 to 14:15                            Lunch

14:15 to 15:00                            Parallel Session 2

15:00 to 15:15                            Break

15:15 to 15:25                            Official Event Partner

15:25 to 16:30                            Panel Session


18:00 to 18:45                           Drinks Reception

18:45 to 19:15                            Awards

19:15 onwards                           Evening Dinner

9:30 to 10:00                              Arrive

10:00 to 10:45                            Keynote Speaker

10:45 to 11:30                            Parallel Session 3

11:30 to 11:45                             Break

11:45 to 12:45                            Parallel Session 4a/4b

12:45 to 13:45                            Lunch

13:45 to 14:30                            Parallel Session 5

14:30 to 14:45                            Break

14:45 to 15:30                            Keynote Speaker

15:30                                            Close

Call for abstracts

We are now accepting abstracts for talks and poster presentations at the conference. Talks will take place in parallel and posters will be displayed in the poster presentation exhibition room at the venue. Talks and posters are excellent opportunities to share your knowledge of the issues faced by statisticians today and the ways in which we can overcome these challenges.

Have you encountered any particular issues?

Have you found a unique resolution to a common issue?

Have you seen the impact of data in decision making?

The conference team would love to hear from you! We would like to include a diverse and interesting selection of topics from statisticians and data scientists across government departments, as well as other public and private sector organisations. We are happy to accept abstracts for work that is not yet completed but due to be so before the conference.

It would be appreciated if you could use the relevant template to submit your abstract – either the template for government departments or the template for external speakers.

If you are interested, please submit an abstract by Friday 28 June to the GSS 2019 conference team email address

The first annual GSS awards

The first GSS Awards will be held on the first evening of this year’s conference. The awards will recognise and celebrate the excellent work being done across the GSS. There will be four awards presented to teams from across the GSS:


Recognising collaboration between teams, departments and/or external organisations/researchers to deliver a statistical output or project.


Recognising innovation in methods of data collection, statistical analysis and data science.


Recognising clear, successful, innovative presentation and dissemination of statistics using commentary, visualisations, interactives, social media etc.


Recognising statistics which have been impactful through use, influenced decisions made by policy-makers, politicians or the public and/or have contributed to public debate.

The Awards are not limited to published statistical outputs and can be awarded for other outcomes such as projects. The Awards will be judged by the following expert panel:

  • Siobhan Carey: Head of Profession for Statistics, NISRA
  • Robert Cuffe: Head of Statistics, BBC
  • Ed Humpherson: Director General for Regulation, UKSA
  • Neil McIvor: Head of Profession for Statistics, DfE
  • Julie Stanborough: Head of Best Practice & Impact Division, ONS

Full details on how to submit nominations for the Awards and further details on the judging process will be released in July. For any queries on the Awards please email

Meet the organising committee

The organising committee is made up of volunteers from across government, find out more about them.

Francesca Parrott (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I really enjoyed being part of the 2018 GSS Conference organising committee and so I was very happy to volunteer to co-chair this year’s conference with Michael. It’s a great opportunity to do something very different to the day job and contribute to the wider GSS community. I’m very excited to work with Michael and our excellent organising committee to make this year’s conference one to remember.


Michael Cole (Valuation Office Agency)

Having been part of the 2017 and 2018 GSS conference organising committee I’m thrilled to be co-chairing the 2019 conference with Francesca. The conference is a special opportunity for the GSS community to come together, share best practice, and showcase some of the innovative work statisticians are doing across Government. We are all working hard behind the scenes to make the conference a success, having already secured this year’s venue, we’re continuing to make good progress and I’m very excited for what we have planned.

Fiona Walker (Department for Education

I volunteered to be part of the committee because I wanted the chance to work with statisticians across government, and having previously helped organise a smaller conference in the past I wanted to be involved in shaping a much larger event. The GSS conference allows us statisticians and analysts to collaborate and identify common methods and themes within our work, and also gives us the opportunity to collectively advocate for policy that is evidence-driven.


Isobel Bochel (Department for Education) 

I wanted to be part of the GSS committee to gain a greater insight into the GSS as well as to build relationships with other statisticians from across-Government. It also seemed like a valuable chance to learn about the process behind running a large event which I might otherwise have not come across in my career. I’m really looking forward to collaborating with the other committee members to create an topical and informative conference this year!

Daniel Ayoubkhani (Office for National Statistics)

Having previously presented at the GSS Conference and been drafted into the Organising Committee late in the day to offer a hand, this year I wanted to contribute to the process from start to finish. I’m looking forward to getting to know fellow committee members from across the GSS, and perhaps bumping into some familiar faces at the conference itself.


Rebecca Jones (Office for National Statistics)

Being relatively new to both the GSS and the civil service I saw joining the GSS Conference Committee as a great opportunity to meet people and get more involved in the GSS. It’s so exciting to be involved in organising such an important event and working with committee members from across government to put it together. I can’t wait to see the whole event to come to life, especially in my home city.

Connie Taylor (Office for National Statistics)

I volunteered for the GSS Committee as I wanted to grasp the opportunity to both experience and contribute to a large, informative event which pulls together individuals from across Government. As a social researcher, I believe it is important to highlight how the work of individuals from varied professions, in addition to statisticians, support the work and impact of the GSS. I look forward to being involved in the organisation of an event where relationships can be fostered across Government in a celebration of best practice and excellent statistical innovation, that is occurring in Government statistics and beyond.


Luke Pagliaro (HM Revenue and Customs)

I’m really pleased to be part of the 2019 GSS committee. It seems like a great opportunity to meet other statisticians from across government, hear about the work they’re doing, and to share and talk about new ideas. I’m really looking forward to being on the keynotes team to help find some really interesting and informative speakers for this year’s conference.

Anna Blaylock (Ministry of Justice)

Joining the GSS committee appealed to me because it gives the opportunity to be involved in an important event within the GSS. The conference allows statisticians to share ideas, meet, and gain more understanding of GSS outside of their own departments. I think joining the organising team will allow me to do this to an even greater extent. I’m really looking forward to the planning involved for this and of course the event itself!


Toni Stansfield (Ministry of Defence)

I volunteered to be on the committee as I am new to the Civil service and thought it would be a great way to gain relationships and collaborate with people from across the GSS. It will also give me the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the work undertaken by the various departments that contribute to the GSS. Additionally, it will allow for some diversity in my work, giving me a change from the day to day job I currently undertake and expanding my abilities in other areas. I’m excited to be a part of organising a large scale and hopefully successful conference.


Yetunde Fakayode (Department for Education)

Working as part of the team that is organising the GSS excites me because gives me the opportunity to meet colleagues across the GSS environment and government, who I would not have otherwise met. Joining the GSS committee will also expand my understanding of the GSS and what it takes to run a very large event such as the GSS conference.

Amila Said (HM Revenue and Customs)

I look forward to being part of the committee so that I can see what goes down behind the scenes, have a chance to meet new people and be part of putting together such a huge event. I also look forward to putting my organisational skills to the test…


Pooja Ramnarain (Ministry of Defence)

The reason why I joined this year’s GSS Committee is so that I can bring my skills and knowledge gained from last year to help deliver another amazing conference.

Jessica Madison (Department for Work and Pensions)

I wanted to be a part of the GSS Committee to become more involved in the wider picture. After organising local analytical events in the North East, I decided I wanted to utilise my skills and help organise a national event that would benefit the wider analytical community. I hope that this will give me the chance to get to know other statisticians across government and share knowledge and experience. I look forward to playing a part in delivering a conference you’ll all enjoy.


Kate Shires (Department for Work and Pensions)

I volunteered to help organise the 2019 GSS Conference to gain experience of organising a large scale event, and to meet Statisticians from across government. The visits to Edinburgh to arrange everything venue-related are a bonus!


Jade Kavanagh (National Health Service)

I wanted to be part of the GSS committee to get to know other statisticians from across- Government. I thought it would open my eyes to the process of organising such a huge event. I’m looking forward to collaborating with other committee members and working with a variety of people!

Want to get in touch with us?

The conference team has set up a Slack channel #gssconference2019 on the GSS workspace. Add yourself to the channel to get updates and to ask any questions you have.

It’s easy to join – simply create a Slack account, add yourself to the GSS workspace ( with your government email address and then click ‘add a channel’. Here you’ll find the option to add us: #gssconference2019.