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Content types on the ONS website Headline releases


A headline release, or a headline bulletin, is a short page, published alongside a dataset or datasets

It includes headline findings, alongside essential methodology and caveats for users.

Headline releases should be used when there is:

  • limited interest or value in the topic area for users and stakeholder
  • no evidence to suggest users are regularly engaging with more than the first 500 words of a full bulletin
  • little to say about the data from one release to the next
  • limited capacity to publish a full bulletin each month

Structuring a headline release

Other pages in this releaseWhen publishing more than one content page (not datasets) in a release, use this section to link to them
Main pointsUp to six bullet points containing headline figures or trends in the data.
Bullet points can highlight key changes around certainty or methodology changes.
No statistician’s comment.
Can include one short warning for essential caveats.
[Name of headline release] dataLinks to the most relevant datasets referenced in this release.
Measuring the dataShould link to more detailed methodology publications, such as Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) reports, methodology articles, user guides and planned changes.
May also include short updates on important changes, linking to separate pages when there are significant updates.
Related linksLinks to in-depth analysis or articles on this subject from the ONS.
Can include links to associated bulletins, such as revised or mid-year estimates.
Links to related publications or statistics that users might find useful.
Can include links to publications from other organisations.

Headline release template

Download our template (Word, 172KB) (opens in a new tab)  to help you draft your bulletin in the headline release structure

How a headline release differs from a bulletin

  • Main points are the only commentary provided: there are no additional sections for analysis or reporting
  • Measuring the data is shorter than the bulletin: unless essential, it’s more important that users can easily find a link to the QMI
  • There is no “Strengths and weaknesses” section: key caveats appear in the main points section, anything else can be found in the QMI
  • The glossary section is optional, and should only be used where important terms cannot be explained in the main points

There is no minimum length to a bulletin, but if a release includes any analysis, it must also include the mandatory bulletin sections

Supporting shorter releases

If a dataset or headline release are not sufficient for a release, consider publishing articles alongside the data and headline release. The headline release still needs to work as a standalone product. We should not rely on users using an article to understand the headlines.

If there is a frequent requirement to publish articles alongside a headline release, consider whether a bulletin would be more suitable, bearing in mind the principles behind our products (opens in a new tab) 

Alternatives to supporting articles

If the supporting information is targeted at a smaller audience, consider other ways to share it with the right users:

  • users could get in touch to request copies of particularly long or technical information that is not relevant to most users
  • consider whether a newsletter might be a better way to share important technical information

Avoid publishing content that is not relevant to your data

Publishing content that is not relevant to a large number of users damages the user experience of the website, because:

  • it makes it harder for users to find content via search
  • which increases the chances of most users ending up on the wrong page
  • which makes users less likely to trust the website and our content
  • it makes the website more difficult and more expensive to maintain