Local government officers – communicating the issues using numbers, data and statistics

This workshop for in-house booking covers:

  • the fundamentals of working with numbers, data and statistics
  • good practice when communicating numerical information in reports and presentations
  • useful approaches to writing reports that are clear and concise

The workshop is particularly suitable for local government officers who are reporting to elected members, external stakeholders and the wider public. It draws on my fifteen years’ experience as an elected member on two major councils.

No statistical knowledge is required.

The workshop complements the one for elected members on scrutiny and decision-making using numerical information.

Workshop outcomes

The main topics you will learn about are:

  • how to get meaningful information out of your data
  • summarising and analysing data: averages – mean, median and mode; which to use and when; ranges and extremes; the problems of confirmation bias
  • percentages and percentage points: how to calculate and use them; when expression as a fraction or words may be better; how to avoid confusion when using them
  • key performance indicators: setting achievable targets; trends and blips – keeping an eye on the bigger picture; getting an early warning of going off course
  • uncertainty: margins of error, confidence intervals; knowing when a difference is or is not statistically significant
  • visualising data: tables, charts, graphs and infographics – which to use and when; common misuses that can confuse or mislead
  • surveys for service development: the importance of representative samples, and the role of sample size; the problems with self-selecting surveys; what outlying responses do and don’t tell you


  • reporting effectively: using highlighting and ‘lowlighting’ when drafting; avoiding acronym overload and how to use technical terms effectively
  • techniques to give your reports impact
  • avoiding common mistakes in spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • tips on how to verbally present numerical information

How the workshop is run

The workshop is interactive throughout with a mix of presentation, group discussion and practical exercises. Workshops typically run for six hours including breaks; scheduling is flexible and according to the organisation’s needs.

The material is drawn from local government sources and similar. There is an option for workshop material to be tailored to material from your own authority.

Workshops are ideally limited to 16 attendees. This gives the most opportunity for all to contribute and for all points that arise to be covered effectively.

I will also be available after the formal course for an informal ‘surgery’ to discuss individual points of interest and concern.

Workshops can be repeated on a second day or third day. There is a discount for bookings of two or more workshop days.


These prices are for in-house workshops for up to 16 attendees from the organisation. Open workshops are available from time to time for individual registration.

Single workshop: £755

Two workshops package: £1280

Three workshops package: £1700

Supplement for developing bespoke material: from £210 subject to requirements

Half-day (3 hours) workshop: £480
– fewer topics covered
– fewer practical exercises

Bite-size talk: £235
– suitable for lunchtime or after work
– two or three topics covered of your choice
– one short practical exercise