This is a past event. The webpage remains for information only.

GSS Conference 2020

From 9th March 2021 10:00am to 10th March 2021 4:00pm


Registration for the Government Statistical Service (GSS) conference is now open – the Eventbrite link will be circulated by your department’s statistics head of profession (HoP).

Registration closes on Friday 5 March.

GSS Conference: Local Statistics, Global Significance has the theme ‘Celebrating World Statistics and a new GSS strategy to make everyone count by connecting the UK with quality statistics we can trust’.

This event was postponed from October 2020 and will take place on 9 and 10 March 2021. To prioritise the safety and security of our attendees, speakers and organisers, and due to ongoing restrictions, this conference will be hosted online using Microsoft Teams live events. This is open to all GSS staff without pre-allocation.

We will be doing our best to make sure this online conference does not miss out on anything that an in-person conference would bring. There will be time for networking with colleagues across government with similar interests and work streams.

Each of the four parallel sessions will have five talks, and each talk will be capped at 300 attendees. It will be up to attendees which talks they attend on the day and attendance will be managed on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that the parallel sessions will not be recorded


The event will be hosted over two days.

Day one: Tuesday 9 March 2021

10am to 10:10am – Introduction by Co-Chairs
10:10am to 11am – Discussion led by Sir Ian Diamond on how the GSS has responded to coronavirus (COVID-19)
11:05am to 12pm – Questions and answers panel session; HoPs to discuss how each nation or department has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic
12pm to 12:45pm – Lunch break
12:45pm to 1:30pm – Parallel session 1:

  • Pre-existing health conditions, ethnicity, and COVID-19 mortality – Public Health England (PHE)
  • Exploring preferential tariff utilisation with machine learning – Department for International Trade (DIT) and Office for National Statistics (ONS)
  • Local Authority housing statistics: local housing data to illustrate national housing policies – Ministry for Housing, Local Government and Communities
  • Welsh index of multiple deprivation: supporting local projects and national insights – Welsh Government
  • Risk factors associated with COVID-19 in care homes in England – ONS

1:35pm to 2:20pm – Parallel session 2:

  • Ensuring statistical models command public confidence: developing models for awarding grades in 2020 – Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR)
  • Calculating the environmental impact of UK defence – Ministry of Defence
  • ONS best practice and impact support for the daily downing street coronavirus press briefing – ONS
  • Ending homelessness with evidence – Centre for Homelessness Impact
  • Helping citizens make sense of the pandemic – ONS

2:20pm to 2:30pm – Afternoon break
2:30pm to 3:15pm – Parallel sponsorship talk – attendees can choose to attend a talk from one of the following:

  • Shaping Data Science as a Profession – Royal Statistics Society
  • Reproducible, automated and production quality reports – It’s a RAP! – SAS
  • Estimation and use of regional consumer price measures – Southampton University
  • Providing a joined-up view of statistics – Swirl

3:15pm to 4pm – Analysis in Government awards (part one)
4pm – Close by Co-Chairs

Day two: Wednesday 10 March 2021

10am to 10:10am – Introduction by Co-Chairs
10:10am to 11:10am – Keynote speakers Sir David Spiegelhalter and Ed Humpherson
11:15am to 12pm – Parallel session 3:

  • Sustainable development goals: From local statistics to global solutions – ONS
  • Prevalence of Long Covid using data matching – ONS
  • A year of the fortnightly Business Impact of coronavirus Survey (BICS) – ONS
  • Around the world, saving 8,000 days a year: using RAP in the production of accessible Official Statistics – DIT
  • Sugar reduction process between 2015 and 2019 – PHE

12pm to 12:45pm – Lunch break
12:45pm to 1:30pm – Parallel session 4:

  • We are all armchair epidemiologists now… – OSR
  • The relationship between cognitive and psychological disability and learning outcome: A quantitative study of primary school children in North West Syria – Department for International Development
  • How many people use my local train station? – Office of Rail and Road
  • Changes in levels of depression and anxiety diagnoses during the COVID-19 pandemic in England – ONS
  • Chronic pain in adults 2017 – PHE

1:35pm to 2:20pm – Analysis in Government Awards (part two)
2:20pm to 2:30pm – Afternoon break
2:30pm to 3pm – Close by Co-Chairs and final words from Sir Ian Diamond


Jade Carruthers (Public Health Scotland)Jade Carruthers

I really enjoyed being part of the 2019 GSS conference organising committee so I was super keen to volunteer to co-chair this year’s conference with Pooja. It is an excellent opportunity to meet lots of new people from across the GSS. The conference every year has a great atmosphere, unlocks potential working relationships and a chance to share best practice. To make it even more special it will be the first GSS conference since our new National Statistician. I can’t wait to continue working with Pooja to make the GSS Conference 2020 the best one yet!

Pooja Ramnarain (Ministry of Defence)Pooja Ramnarain

I have really enjoyed being part of the 2018 and 2019 conference organising committee and most certainly happy to be co-chairing the 2020 conference with Jade. With World Statistics Day and the new GSS Strategy round the corner, this year’s 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. I am excited for what we have planned.

Communications team

Kate Brosnan (Department for International Trade)Kate Brosnan

Having only become a member of GSS relatively recently, I volunteered to join the 2020 conference committee to meet new people and immerse myself in the GSS community. The conference will be a great way to showcase the statistics helping to drive policy, to gain an appreciation of alternative ways of working and ultimately to learn from each other. Having lived in a London bubble for two years I am also looking forward to getting a sense of the GSS membership outside of the capital. I’m excited to work with the other committee members to organise a conference that we can all be proud of.

Jon Mitchell (Office for National Statistics)Jon Mitchell

Allowing statisticians from different departments to meet and share ideas is essential, so I really wanted to help organise the conference. It is a perfect way to do something slightly different to my day job, giving me the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of new people from across government and gain experience organising a large scale event.

Delegates team

Rajni Sandhu (Office for National Statistics)Rajni Sandhu

I was interested in joining the GSS conference committee after attending the 2019 conference in Edinburgh. The whole event was well organised so I was interested in getting experience of how this event came together behind the scenes. It will also give me an opportunity to get to know other people working across the GSS and get a better understanding of the range of statistics in government.


Keynote session team

Rachael Fairley (Registers of Scotland)Rachael Fairley

I volunteered to be part of the GSS conference committee as I feel it’s a great opportunity to build relationships with others across a variety of other government departments and to get more involved in the GSS as a whole. I am really looking forward to working with the rest of the committee to organise this year’s GSS conference and can’t wait to see it all come together.

Leigh Dowd (Public Health England)Leigh Dowd

I volunteered to be on the GSS conference committee as I wanted to build relationships with statisticians from across government, in order to gain a better understanding of the work completed by other departments. I also wanted the chance to work on something completely different to what I do on a day-to-day basis. I presented some of my work at the 2019 GSS conference and found the conference as a whole to be really interesting, so I’m really looking forward to shaping the conference this year.

Parallels session team

Toni Stansfield (Ministry of Defence)

Toni Stansfield

I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the committee last year and meeting new people across the departments. Therefore when the opportunity arose to continue as a part of the team this year I was keen to experience it all again with a new crowd of people. I look forward to another year of helping to display the variety of work undertaken throughout the GSS.

Alex Matthews (HM Revenue and Customs)

Alex Matthews

I wanted to get involved after attending the 2019 conference. I felt motivated by seeing all the great work statisticians had been doing across government and really enjoyed meeting others, sharing ideas and learning about their work. I’m looking forward to doing something a bit different from my current role, getting more involved in the GSS and organising some interesting parallel sessions for this year’s conference.

Sponsorship team

Peshali Diyasena (Office for National Statistics)

Peshali Diyasena

I volunteered to be part of the GSS conference committee as it would be a good opportunity to get to know other statisticians across government and help organise an important GSS event. It is also a good chance to understand what kind of work goes on behind the scenes and hopefully deliver another great conference.

Ellen Clowser (Cabinet Office)

Ellen Clowser

As I am new to the Civil Service and the GSS, I wanted to be part of the GSS committee to get to know other statisticians from across government. I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with new people and learn a bit about their experiences. I am looking forward to building on the skills that I use in my day job, and previous experience, to support the organisation of such a large-scale event.

Venue team

Mike Baird-Parker (Office for National Statistics)

Mike Baird-Parker

Upon hearing about the opportunity to join the GSS conference organising committee, I immediately jumped for the opportunity as event planning is something I have never done before. I love the opportunity to learn new things and develop new skills and this was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Ollie Nixon (Office for National Statistics)

I volunteered to join the GSS conference organising committee so that I could get more experience in organising and planning a large project, as well as having the opportunity to discover more about the work going on across the GSS and wider government analytical community. And of course, I hope to be involved in delivering a conference that is successful and enjoyable for all who attend.

Sophie Buckland (Office for National Statistics)

I joined the conference committee as I am new to the civil service and the GSS and I want to get involved in the community and meet new people. I love organising events and thought bringing the

Sophie Buckland

event online for this year would be a really interesting challenge. I’m looking forward to working with members of the GSS across government and rising to the challenge of running a virtual conference.



Contact us

For any questions about the conference please email