Organising the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Conference 2023

Natasha Bance

The Government Statistical Service (GSS) Conference 2023 took place on Wednesday 8 November. It was a hybrid event that took place across three government sites and online. The theme was ‘Statistics and diversity: using statistics to build a more inclusive world’.

Ally Turner blogs about her experience on the organising committee for the conference.

My role on the committee

I worked on the communications team. There were 3 main components to what we had to produce:

  • the Analysis Function conference web page
  • the regular updates sent to the whole of the GSS through the Heads of Profession (HoPs) and monthly GSS newsletter
  • tweets for the official GSS X account, formerly known as Twitter

But the bulk of this involved working with the other teams. We had to gather all the information about the venues, delegate tickets and applications for parallel sessions from the other teams as they set up their respective parts of the conference. We then had to write this information clearly to communicate with the wider GSS, and work with ONS colleagues to get it published and shared.

It was great to work with colleagues from across the GSS. This was the main highlight for me, and why I volunteered for the Conference Committee this year.

My experience on the day of the conference

The day of the conference was nerve-wracking but fun, and it was satisfying to see all our hard work come together. I spent the time during sessions on Microsoft Teams, monitoring the comments and reading out questions submitted online for the in-person speaker. I also had a great time mingling with GSS colleagues during the breaks and at lunchtime.

My highlight of being on the committee

The sense of camaraderie amongst the team was really nice. It is always a great experience working in a team where everyone is active and taking responsibility for their bit, and seeing things progress and come together over time.

I rarely work with other statisticians in my day-to-day role, so joining the committee helped me to build a stronger sense of connection with the wider community, I enjoyed working with so many amazing GSS colleagues to organise and host a great conference.

The best skill or piece of knowledge I learnt from working on the committee

There were so many good opportunities to build skills, so it’s hard to pick just one!

As I have already said, it was amazing to work with lots of GSS colleagues, including colleagues I might never have met otherwise. There was always lots do, so everyone could lead on something and be responsible for a major aspect of the conference. This helped to build skills in:

  • leadership
  • communication
  • working together

It might sound obvious, but working in the communications team in particular was a great way to work on my written communication skills. I had to write content for the website and regular updates, and it taught me to think carefully about the audience. I learnt to think about:

  • what major pieces of information the audience needs
  • how I can be as clear and concise as possible with my messaging

It also got me thinking about how to build enthusiasm through the updates and tweets. Overall, it was a really good experience for building a wide range of skills, all of which will help me immensely in my day job.

Ally Turner
Natasha Bance
Ally works for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) as a Grade 7 Analytical Adviser.