Harmonisation is about making statistics more comparable, consistent and coherent. It improves efficiency and enables users to draw more value from statistics. To improve harmonisation, analysts, researchers and data owners should aim to, where appropriate:
- use the same definitions
- use the same survey questions
- use administrative data in the same way
- present data in the same way
But, since statistics producers will each have their own specific user requirements, this is not always appropriate. In these cases, they should consider other actions to improve the coherence of their data and statistics, such as providing improved guidance.
What support is available?
Harmonised principles are guidance on how to make statistics more comparable by encouraging producers to use the same methods of data collection and presentation. The principles include definitions, survey questions, standards for administrative data, rules for presentation and guidance for users.
Producers of statistics can use harmonised principles to improve harmonisation when they collect and publish statistics on a given topic.
Users can use the principles to improve their understanding of how to compare and combine statistics when appropriate.
We have produced A Beginners guide to Harmonisation.
This guide will provide answers to our frequently asked questions and give an overview of harmonisation and what the GSS harmonisation team do.
If a department needs help with harmonisation, the Harmonisation Team (based in the Office for National Statistics but here to help the whole Government Statistical Service) are happy to collaborate closely.
Email email@example.com to find out more.
Harmonisation champions work across the GSS to increase awareness of harmonisation and the help available.
For general questions about harmonisation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions about a specific harmonised principle please find the relevant contact on the principle of interest.
If you want to find out more about what harmonisation means for your department speak to your harmonisation champion (Google doc).