GSS harmonisation champions

Harmonisation champions aim to increase the harmonisation of government statistics. This means increasing the commonality in definitions, survey questions, administrative data and presentation of outputs across the Government Statistical Service (GSS).

Their main responsibilities are to:

  • promote a cross-government programme of harmonisation
  • attend and actively participate in harmonisation champion meetings
  • share their own experiences with the harmonisation champion network
  • build links with other harmonisation champions
  • actively contribute to GSS-wide harmonisation initiatives
  • keep colleagues and their department’s statistical Head of Profession (HoP) up to date with harmonisation initiatives
  • act as a central point of contact for advice on harmonisation
  • identify opportunities for harmonisation
  • keep the network updated on departmental harmonisation work and progress against harmonisation targets

The network of harmonisation champions supports the statistical Heads of Profession and the GSS Harmonisation Team, a GSS-facing team based in the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The GSS Harmonisation Team manages the Harmonisation Champion Network (HCN).

The work done by the champions will feed directly into the Heads of Profession Group meetings.

Want to be a harmonisation champion?

Each government department can nominate a harmonisation champion (or several champions) to work with the network of harmonisation champions across the GSS.

If you would like to be a harmonisation champion please email the team at

Please read the privacy notice for champions before you sign up.


The GSS Harmonisation Champion Network (HCN) has been created for two main purposes: firstly to support GSS Heads of Profession (HoPs) and the GSS Harmonisation Team in identifying opportunities to improve the comparability and coherence of all UK official statistics. Secondly, to enable the GSS to deliver the aims outlined in the GSS Harmonisation Strategy.

Champions help ensure statistical outputs comply with the  Code of Practice for Statistics and where appropriate adopt relevant  harmonised standards. As well as this, they will:

  • identify opportunities for further development of new standards, guidance and tools to improve comparability of statistics
  • facilitate knowledge sharing and innovation with regards to harmonisation across the GSS


The harmonisation champions are accountable to the HoPs, with the GSS Harmonisation Team acting as a conduit reporting back to the HoPs on behalf of the HCN. The chair of the HCN is at the HoP level, but as well as being on the HoP board acts in the network specifically as a senior champion. As the network evolves, it is intended that the champions will build relationships within the HCN.


The role of a GSS harmonisation champion is:

  • to raise awareness of the cross-government programme of GSS harmonisation within your department
  • to provide advice and support over compliance use of harmonised standards and guidance, particularly with teams responsible for statistical inputs and outputs
  • to flag up any issues of unexplained or unjustified compliance with the harmonised standards with the GSS Harmonisation Team, so that support and advice can be offered
  • to share good practice and news of introducing improvements to harmonised standards for statistical outputs with the rest of the HCN through regular meetings and updates
  • to keep GSS harmonisation champions informed about any changes to harmonised standards or guidance

The group membership will consist of representatives from departments across the GSS and devolved administrations responsible for statistical inputs and outputs. In instances where it is necessary there can be multiple champions per department.

The role of the GSS Harmonisation Team is as follows:

  • to coordinate the HCN, including arranging meetings and compiling a quarterly update
  • to provide support and assistance to the GSS harmonisation champions to assist them in undertaking their role including visiting departments to undertake a presentation and/or meet with staff
  • to keep GSS harmonisation champions informed about any changes to GSS harmonisation principles or existing harmonisation guidance
  • to maintain the HCN online presence to provide documentation in the forms of links to existing guidance which supports GSS harmonisation (and in turn the Code of Practice for Statistics)
  • to report back to the HoPs annually over progress and achievements with the HCN

A further role whose definition may be of use to champions is the harmonisation topic lead. There are topic leads for each overarching area of harmonisation (such as health and housing), and they act as our subject matter experts. Common responsibilities of the topic lead include chairing topic group meetings and providing ad-hoc subject-specific expertise.

This is different to the role of the champion, which is to be the representative and main point of communication for the GSS harmonisation programme in their department, cascading out and feeding back information and support on harmonisation.


The group membership will consist of representatives from departments across the GSS and devolved administrations who are responsible for statistical inputs and outputs.


This group is for the benefit of the GSS and all users of government statistics. Its ultimate aim is to improve the comparability and coherence of government statistics.


In scope:

  • to advise and encourage teams responsible for statistical inputs and outputs to use the harmonised standards and guidance
  • to promote good practice
  • to facilitate discussion and knowledge sharing

Out of scope:

  •  enforcement of the harmonised standards

It is not the intention for the ONS harmonisation champion or any of the other harmonisation champions to seek to enforce harmonisation principle compliance. Instead, the aim of the network is to promote good practice and offer support and advice to make compliance with the harmonised principles easier to achieve.

The following organisations have network members:

  • Data Talk
  • Department for Business and Trade (DBT)
  • Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
  • Department for Education (DfE)
  • Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ)
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC)
  • Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC)
  • Department for Transport (DfT)
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • Equality and Human Rights Centre (EHRC)
  • Food Standards Agency (FSA)
  • Gambling Commission
  • Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
  • Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA)
  • His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS)
  • His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Home Office
  • Intellectual Property Office (IPO)
  • Ipsos
  • Kantar
  • Ministry of Justice (MoJ)
  • National Centre for Social Research (NatCen)
  • National Records Scotland (NRS)
  • NHS England
  • NHS Scotland
  • Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)
  • Office for National Statistics (ONS)
  • Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted)
  • Office for Students (OfS)
  • Office of Rail and Road (ORR)
  • Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual)
  • Parliament
  • Public Health Scotland (PHS)
  • Scottish Government
  • UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)
  • Understanding Society
  • Value Office Agency (VOA)
  • Welsh Government

The Harmonisation Champion Network replaces the National Statistics Harmonisation Group (NSHG). The steering group which the NSHG reported to (the National Statistics Harmonisation Steering Group (NSH SG)) has now been disbanded.

If you would like to access any agendas or papers published by the NSHG please email

GSS Harmonisation Team