HSE hosted a statistics user conference for external users at our Liverpool offices. We used our e-bulletin community to promote the event and also asked policy colleagues to forward information to their key external stakeholders. The maximum number we could accommodate was 65 and we were over-subscribed. These were a mix of industry representatives, trade union reps, people from professional associations, academics, trainers and consultants.
Prior to the event we asked attendees for their key questions and also what their issues and difficulties were with our data. We used this both to pitch the agenda and also to prepare for any quiet periods if discussion was slow (which didn’t happen!). The day was a mix of lecture sessions and discussion/Q&A opportunities. We opened up with an introductory session about our data sources and a tour around our website. In the afternoon, we had a theme of “benchmarking” as we know from previous consultations that a lot of our users want to benchmark their own health and safety data against the national statistics for their industry. We invited two external users to be part of that session and they gave 15 minute presentations.
At lunchtime we had a poster presentation so we could show some of the ad hoc analyses which have been done in-house and the relevant statistician was available for questions. We also had a couple of laptops set up so we could demonstrate how to navigate the stats website and how to use our online tabulation tool.
Overall, the event was a great success. Some 95% of attendees said they would attend a future event and 97% said they would recommend to a colleague. We also had some really positive comments, both on the feedback forms and face to face. Although it was nerve-wracking beforehand not knowing what to expect, my advice to other stats teams would be give it a go and you may be very pleasantly surprised.