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

The Government Statistical Service (GSS) harmonisation team based within the Best Practice and Impact division is responsible for maintaining harmonised principles. These are guidance on how to make statistics more comparable by encouraging producers to use the same methods of data collection and presentation. These principles are arranged by topic area on the GSS website. To find out more please visit the Harmonisation pages on the GSS website.

The GSS Harmonisation Strategy sets out three goals to improve the comparability and coherence of statistics across the GSS. It is a two-year strategy for the GSS, and progress will be monitored via the harmonisation champion network, updating the Statistical Policy and Standards Committee and producing annual updates for the GSS Heads of Profession.

The first goal is to increase consistency in definitions and classifications used in data collection across government. This will be achieved through consistent definitions and question wording in data collection and developing and agreeing cross-government approaches to measuring emerging topics.

The second goal is to improve communication of information on coherence in statistical publications. This will be achieved through improved guidance on comparability and coherence – how can we help users make valid comparisons between data sources.

The third goal is to enhance the value of data through the integration and combination of distinct data sources. This will be achieved by working with teams across GSS to improve understanding of the definitions and question wording used in data sources to understand how they can be integrated to improve the value of statistics.

If you have any questions relating to harmonisation please get in touch with us by email: