A change to Harmonisation terminology

Government Statistical Service (GSS) Harmonisation is now using new terminology.

After wide consultation across the GSS, topic groups and beyond, harmonised standards and harmonisation guidance replace harmonised principles.

The change aims to make harmonisation work more transparent, and to help our users understand what each tool is for.

Misinterpretation, inconsistent use and poor communication are just some of the issues the team identified with the existing terminology. This change addresses those concerns.

Harmonised standards and guidance are tools for improving the comparability and coherence of statistics. Being harmonised is about aligning with others, not necessarily being identical to them. As such, some of our harmonised standards can be tailored for specific situations.

Harmonised standards include:

  • definitions
  • survey questions
  • suggested presentations
  • information for data users

Producers of statistics can use these harmonised standards to align with others, which will increase the usefulness of their statistics.

In some circumstances, it is not appropriate to suggest harmonised questions and definitions. In these cases, harmonisation guidance explains the topic landscape to help users understand where they can and cannot compare data.

Additionally, if the harmonised standard or harmonisation guidance requires further evidence in the context of harmonised surveys or is currently being reviewed in line with contextual changes, then it will be labelled as under development, with a clear explanation of what this means for each topic.

If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch with us by emailing Harmonisation@Statistics.gov.uk.