The United Kingdom Health Statistics Steering Group – Workplan

This is a summary of our workplan for 2022 to 2027. You can ask for the full 2022 to 2027 workplan by emailing us at

Our vision is to enhance the coherence, production, dissemination and accessibility of health and care statistics in the United Kingdom. We aim to bring together different agencies to reduce duplication of statistical releases and make sure that health policies are evidence based.

Our remit is to:

  • develop a long-term strategy for improving the coherence and accessibility of statistics
  • improve the coherence and accessibility of health and care statistics
  • oversee topic networks – this includes giving advice on priorities and resolving problems that might affect their work or lead to duplication of work
  • encourage harmonisation across the topic networks – this will improve coherence across health and care statistics
  • encourage the production of new and innovative insights from linked data products
  • improve the co-ordination and communication of health and care statistics – this will help users to get all the information they need to make effective decisions
  • encourage user and public engagement to make sure there is open communication between statistics producers, users, and the public – this will help to improve trust and confidence in the data

We have produced a workplan to help us meet our remit. We aim to:

  • develop a long-term strategy for improving the coherence and accessibility of statistics – we will also work with producer agencies to include the strategy in their operational plans and models
  • continue developing the information resources from the 2019 to 2024 workplan
  • understand the role of senior leaders of the health and care system and how we interact with them – this will help us to work with them to provide strategic leadership, develop resource and make decisions beyond the remit of the producer groups
  • improve the user engagement of the UKHSSG – this will help to make sure that we communicate openly about health and care statistics
  • open communications with the devolved nations in the UK to share good practice and promote theme group membership across the four nations
  • share resources and upskill analysts to help them produce high quality statistics using linked data

It is important that we do not just concentrate on improving the health and care statistics landscape for England. We should also aspire to improve coherence and accessibility of health and care statistics across the UK.

We acknowledge and respect the fact that health and social care is a devolved matter.

We will work to improve the coherence of health and care statistics where possible through harmonisation of standards for the UK. This is important because it means that health and care data are available across the UK and can be compared internationally.

We will:

  • make sure that theme groups think about the UK perspective and invite representatives to appropriate meetings – this will help to encourage harmonisation and coherence across the UK
  • have representation from across the UK at UKHSSG meetings – by having members of the group from devolved nations attend at least one meeting each year we can strengthen our relationship and share information
  • make sure that we share successes from each country so the nations can learn from each other

We will regularly engage and interact with the Head of Professions (HoP) Health Statistics Leadership Forum (HSLF). The Forum has been set up by Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to address the need for stronger analytical leadership and coordination of health and social care statistics. This is important because of the number of organisations in England working in statistics.

DHSC has set up the Health Statistics Leadership Forum alongside statistical leaders in:

  • the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID)
  • NHS England
  • NHS Business Services Authority
  • Office for National Statistics (ONS)
  • UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)

The Forum brings together Heads of Profession for statistics and lead statisticians from across the health statistics system in England.

The Health Statistics Leadership Forum will meet monthly to make sure the health and care statistics community is working together across all our statistical work. The Forum will concentrate on the strategy for health statistics, and how we deal with any new emerging situations.

The UKHSSG will continue to encourage coherence and accessibility of health and care statistics. through specific topic subgroups and We expect that the HSLF and UKHSSG will work closely together with outputs from each group feeding into the other.  The way that the HSLF and UKHSSG work together will develop over time as the HSLF becomes more established.

We will:

  • make sure we regularly communicate and contribute to HoP’s Health Statistics Leadership Forum meetings
  • communicate with theme group leads to create and follow plans that align with the Forum’s priorities
  • use the HoP’s Health Statistics Leadership Forum to talk about issues and solve problems that are affecting progress

Achievements from 2019 to 2021

GSS Health and Care Newsletter

The Secretariat redesigned the GSS Health and Care newsletter to ensure it is accessible. The monthly newsletter provides updates on the latest data, publications, blogs, and events across Health and Care. As of April 2023, the newsletter has around 8,000 subscribers.

UKHSSG Theme Groups

The Secretariat established theme groups. These have been effective at increasing coordination and communication between different organisations. Members are kept informed of upcoming publications. This includes regular and unplanned publications. One example of this is the Mortality Theme Group. This group was highly effective during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It gave members from many statistics producers and the devolved nations the opportunity to meet and talk about new methodology on COVID-19 deaths, and trends. Members were also able to work together to coordinate publications.

Health and Care Interactive Tool

The Secretariat developed a UK health and care statistics interactive tool. The tool puts all government health and care publications in one place for users. The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) complimented this work.


The Secretariat has consulted with all theme groups to explore UK coherence across 15 topics within Health and Care. As a result of this work, the cancer theme group are piloting a work plan to develop UK coherence in cancer statistics.

The Secretariat published a blog on Driving the change to make health statistics more coherent. The blog outlines work undertaken by the UKHSSG to make statistics more coherent following a Systemic Review undertaken by the OSR.

User Engagement

The User Engagement Hub presented at the RSS/Health Statistics User Group webinar series on User engagement. In this webinar the User Engagement Hub presented their model of a theme-based engagement in statistics. Activities will bring together users and producers of statistics across the UK, who will collaborate on developing workplans, identify and address data gaps, and discuss how we present our statistics and data. The UKHSSG will be working closely with the User Engagement hub as theme leads for Health.

Filling Evidence Gaps

The Adult Social Care Theme Group has been successful at filling in some gaps on the statistics about adult social care and carers. You can find more information on the characteristic on unpaid carers on the ONS website. You can also find information about how unpaid carers were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic on the ONS website. You can view all NHS England publications relating to Adult Social Care on the new Adult Social Care Data Hub. Adult Social Care client level dataset has become mandatory from April 2023.

UK Coherence

The Adult Social Care Theme Group have created a four nations comparison matrix to help users understand differences in data across the four nations. You can view the four nations matrix as a downloadable spreadsheet on the UK adult social care statistics interactive tool.


Commitment to co-ordinate publication release dates across the four nations has been re-affirmed following the pandemic. This has improved the coherence of data on the topic of alcohol.


Members of the Disability and Unpaid Care Theme Group reviewed how they measure disability to make sure harmonised measures are used. We are encouraging data collectors, to use harmonised measures. This includes data collectors like Labour Force Surveys transformation. We are also working with devolved countries to encourage them to use harmonised methods. There are now more harmonised measures and methods on disability. This means that the consistency and comparability of statistics have been improved.


Smoking publications are now aligned between ONS and Public Health England (PHE). This work is continued by the Office for Health Improvements and Disparities (OHID). This has improved coherence of communications on the topic of smoking.

Filling Evidence Gaps

ONS worked with PHE to publish information about the number of people that smoke by sexual orientation. This helps us understand more about smoking behaviour in the LGBTQ+ community. This work is continued by the Office for Health Improvements and Disparities (OHID). Publication dates for this data have been aligned across different organisations. More data is available to help us understand more about smoking behaviour in the LGBTQ+ community. This supports evidence-based policy making. There is less confusion for users because the publications on smoking are aligned between many organisations.

Last updated: May 2023