Can you handle the truth? Facts, figures and communicating uncertainty

14 November 2017, 5:30pm


How do ‘experts’ feel about communicating uncertainty around facts and figures?

A distinguished panel of producers, users and communicators of official statistics discuss how uncertainty is, could, and should be communicated.

Date: 14 November 2017

Time: 17:30 - 20:00 (including networking & drinks)

Venue: Peterhouse Lecture Theatre, Cambridge

We can never be certain about facts and figures and yet there seems to be an almost universal push for certainty in society. It is often said that politicians, media and the wider public are uncomfortable with ambiguity and demand simple solutions to precisely defined problems.

There are concerns that trying to communicate uncertainty will undermine people’s trust, and make it more difficult to reach decisions. But could the opposite be true? Could a greater effort to communicate uncertainty improve the quality of policy making and public discourse?


Chaired and hosted by Sir David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, guest speakers include: Amanda Farnsworth, Head of Visual and Data Journalism, BBC News; Emily Miles, Group Director, Strategy in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority.

Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication

CSaP is working in partnership with the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge to organise this event. Endowed by a generous donation by the David and Claudia Harding Foundation and the Winton Charitable Foundation, the Centre aims to ensure that quantitative evidence and risk is presented to people in a fair and balanced way.

Registration for this event has now closed. Registration will re-open nearer the time if places become available.

Banner image from Flickr under Creative Commons

Emily Miles

Food Standards Agency

Sir David Norgrove

UK Statistics Authority

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter

Faculty of Mathematics, University of Cambridge

Laura Sayer

Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge