Sharing webinars

What is a sharing webinar?

The Best Practice and Impact division (BPI) host regular sharing webinars which are open to all government departments.  The aim of these webinars is to help create a culture of shared innovation across the Government Statistical Service (GSS).  These sessions are 90 minutes long and are broadcast as live web broadcasts or dial-in sessions.

Each webinar is made up of three short presentations showcasing work relevant to the topic of interest. Participants can ask questions and find out more about the topic, with the overall goal being:

  • improved collaboration
  • problem solving
  • peer learning

John Pullinger was very supportive of this initiative. He said “It’s always encouraging to see expertise being shared to join up work across the GSS”.

All materials will be shared, including code where appropriate, and BPI will facilitate follow-up actions when there is an appetite. The webinars themselves will be broadcast live and made available after the date of broadcast, via BPI’s YouTube channel.

To get involved in discussions about sharing webinars, you can visit the dedicated slack channel.

Previous sharing webinars

This sharing webinar covered the broad plans for introducing new data and methods into UK consumer price statistics. It included how to go about data acquisition and building relationships with suppliers. It also discussed the work covered by the team on their recently published research articles, with the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on their plans.

The team is updating the way that they collect and process price information to reflect our changing economy and produce more robust, timely and granular inflation statistics for businesses, individuals and government. The new data sources; web-scraped and scanner data, have different qualities relative to data collected traditionally (in stores and over the phone). This means they require different, more automated, methods to produce robust consumer price indices.

Thanks to the following presenters from the Office for National Statistics: Helen Sands, Geum young Min, Liam Greenhough, Alex Rose and Mather Price

The presentation slides are available by emailing

The June 2020 webinar spotlighted work on communicating uncertainty in statistics and analysis. This includes presentations from members of:

  • Department for Education (DfE)
  • Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)
  • Winton Centre for Risk & Evidence Communication
  • Office for National Statistics.

Department for Education: UK Government; Assessing and Communicating Uncertainty toolkit

Have you ever had an analytical problem to solve and wondered “how do I handle all this uncertainty?” Do you want to improve the way you analyse uncertainty in your analysis?

If so, then the Assessing and Communicating Uncertainty Toolkit is for you! This toolkit is from a cross-departmental team and. This document will evolve with ongoing best practice across the analytical community. Jon Tecwyn from DfE has contributed to the toolkit and will present the content.

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency: Communicating uncertainty in labour market statistics

Cathryn Blair, head of labour market statistics in NISRA, hosts this session. Cathryn discusses challenges in communicating uncertainty in regional labour market statistics and how they have tried to address these.

Winton Centre for Risk & Evidence Communication: Communicating uncertainty around trends over time

Uncertainty is present in the generation of all kinds of data, past present and future. Communicating this uncertainty may undermine audience understanding, trust in these data and their communicators. This presentation discusses empirical research on the effects of communicating uncertainty around statistics on audience comprehension and trust. Recommendations for future research and practice are also given.

Presenter: Dr Sarah Dryhurst

Office for National Statistics

Charles Lound from BPI provides a presentation on the Communicating quality, uncertainty and change guidance and examples of good practice across the GSS.

Did you miss this webinar?

A recording of this webinar is available on YouTube.

Join the sharing webinar Slack channel for more discussion.

On Tuesday 10 March, BPI hosted a webinar on government projects in the data linkage space. This showcased projects from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Ordnance Survey (OS).

Ordnance Survey: Data Discoverability with Geo6

Data Discoverability is a project funded by the Geospatial Commission to maximise the benefits of geospatial data for the UK. The project has involved the six partner bodies of the Geospatial Commission, also known as the Geo6.

The Geo6 includes OS, the British Geological Survey, Coal Authority, HM Land Registry, the Valuation Office and the UK Hydrographic Office.

This project was set up to make the geospatial data held by the Geo6 more discoverable. Working together, they created six consistently formatted data catalogues and made them available on

Ministry of Justice: Splink

The Analytical Services branch of MoJ are developing open-source probabilistic record linkage software called Splink. This is a Python-based package running in the distributed computing framework Apache Spark. Splink implements Fellegi-Sunter’s linkage model, including the expectation-maximisation algorithm to estimate model parameters.

The Splink record linkage package aims to:

  • work at much greater scale than current open source implementations (100 million records plus)
  • get results faster than current open source implementations – with run-times under an hour
  • have a transparent methodology, so the match scores can be easily explained both graphically and in words
  • have comparable accuracy to some of the best alternatives
Miss the webinar or want the resources?

Watch the webinar on YouTube. If you have any issues accessing this, the video can also be downloaded from Google Drive (MP4, 119MB).

Run MoJ’s Splink demo in your browser by following the “launch binder” link on the project GitHub page.

Join the sharing webinar Slack channel for more discussion.

The GSS awards were held at the GSS conference in Edinburgh 1 October. On 2 December, the Best Practice and Impact division hosted a webinar on winners of the GSS awards. This webinar was a chance to hear from all the winners.

Collaboration award

Winner: Cross-government champions network for Reproducible Analytical Pipelines (RAP)

The RAP champions network has developed capability across the GSS to implement Reproducible Analytical Pipelines (RAP). The network, through its work both within departments and across government, has created a community of analysts dedicated to improving the quality of statistical publications in line with the new GSS Quality Strategy.

Methods award

Winner: Department for Transport (DfT)

A change of reporting systems for around half of police forces created a major discontinuity in DfT’s statistics on people killed or seriously injured. These statistics are crucial to measure progress and improve road safety. With the Methodology Advisory Service (based in the Office for National Statistics), the road safety statistics team developed a time series and a logistic regression adjustment approach (PDF, 3MB)  to produce estimates as if all forces had been using the new systems.

Communication award

Winner: Office for National Statistics (ONS)

In early 2019, the Policy Evidence and Analysis Team (PEAT) at ONS completed analysis of the impact of automation on occupations. Recognising the importance of widening awareness on this topic, a matter of public and policy interest, PEAT and the Digital Content team at ONS worked collaboratively to produce two outputs that could satisfy a variety of audiences, including the inquiring citizen and more experienced expert users or information foragers.

Impact award

Winner: Office of Rail and Road (ORR)

A key area of work for ORR has been on accessibility. In particular,understanding the experiences of disabled passengers who use the railway. Previously there had been negative press about assisted travel which presented a picture of a scheme that was fundamentally unfit for purpose. A major concern for ORR was the absence of reliable data to support or refute that narrative. ORR have now developed an extensive evidence base. Over the past year they have used data to recommend vital changes to the railway, which should improve the travel experiences of disabled passengers. All of this evidence has also been used by policy colleagues to publish new guidance for operators called Improving Assisted Travel.

Did you miss this webinar?

You can also watch the GSS Awards webinar on YouTube.

Power BI is a collection of software services that lets you connect to your data sources, visualise data to discover what’s important and share that information with anyone you want. Power BI is being used to display and creatively present and disseminate data across government, internally and externally.

On 11 July 2019, the Best Practice and Impact division hosted a webinar on Power BI. There were presentations from colleagues in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Companies House and the Office for National Statistics.

There were presentations on:

  • the process involved
  • lessons learned from introducing Power BI into a department
  • the use of Power BI internally to display business performance
  • the use of Power BI externally (i.e. for publishing statistics)

Did you miss this webinar?

Watch the Power BI webinar on YouTube.

Want to get involved?

To get involved in discussions about Power BI, you can visit the dedicated slack channel.

Accurate geographical referencing is vital to making any statistical outputs and datasets compatible and comparable. However, each department, agency and service provider will capture slightly different information about an address or may store it in a particular format to suit their needs.

Different storage methods and information captured mean that address data is often inconsistent, is of varying quality, and can be held in multiple places. Matching addresses is much easier if they’re written in the same way, so we need a process where lots of existing data can be matched against something definitive and trustworthy. That’s where address matching comes in.

On 14 May 2019, the Best Practice and Impact division hosted a webinar on address matching. There were presentations from colleagues in the Valuation Office Agency, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Office for National Statistics. The presentations all focused on innovative techniques used to match addresses.

We received some great feedback from this webinar, with departments using their new knowledge to drive improvements in their own teams:

“Off the back of the address matching webinar the other week I’ve had several departments get in touch with me to further discuss methodologies. The methods, when applied to our data, I think is going to drive a massive improvement in our process.”

Did you miss this webinar?

Contact the Best Practice and Impact Division for the address matching presentations by emailing

Want to get involved?

To get involved in discussions about address matching, you can visit the dedicated slack channel.


Regional sharing seminars

As well as the webinars run by BPI, a group of analysts from the GSS presentation and dissemination sub group are planning to hold regional sharing webinars over the next year. Each webinar will last half a day and will involve presentations, interactive sessions and discussions around the presentation and dissemination of statistics.

Email for more information.

In November 2019, the GSS presentation champions’ network hosted a roadshow in Welsh Government based on open data, HTML publishing and interactive dashboards. There were presentations from colleagues in the Office for National Statistics, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), NHS Scotland and the Welsh Revenue Authority.

There were presentations on:

  • Delivering a single open data portal for NHS in Scotland
  • Connecting Open Government Statistics
  • HTML publishing in Welsh Revenue Authority
  • Moving from PDF to HTML publishing in ONS
  • Defra farming commodity dashboards
  • Performance dashboards in Welsh Revenue Authority

Did you miss the seminar?

We have published the presentations:

Single open data portal for NHS Scotland (PDF 740KB)

HTML publishing in Welsh Revenue (PPT 1MB)

Moving from PDF to HTML publishing in ONS (PPT 6MB)

Defra farming commodity dashboards (PDF 1MB)

Please contact the presenter for further information.

Want to get involved?

To get involved in future seminars or roadshows, please contact your departmental presentation champion or email


If you have any ideas for future sharing webinars or would like to present on one of the proposed topics, please email