Vacancy – Communications Officer

Applications have now closed.

Job description

Working at the heart of the UK’s official statistics system, this is a unique opportunity to work in a fast-paced environment across a variety of contemporary statistical and policy issues.

As Communications Officer, you’ll be part of the UK Statistics Authority’s Central Policy Secretariat (CPS) team which supports the leadership of the UK Statistics Authority, the Board, the National Statistician, the Second Permanent Secretary, and the three Deputy National Statisticians, to fulfil their objectives.

You will see first-hand how some of government’s most senior leaders prioritise their work, perform under pressure and deliver the strategic aims of the organisation. The skill and insight you gain will develop how you think and serve you for the rest of your career.

The role

The CPS provides support to the Authority Chair and Board. This role will support the Authority to deliver the collective mission of the UK’s official statistics system: to provide high quality data and analysis to inform the UK, improve lives and build the future.

You will be the main press officer for the Authority, handling enquiries from the media and proactively arranging media opportunities. You will be a member of a small private office, working together to provide the Chair and Chief of Staff everything they need to do their jobs effectively. As well as communications duties, you will deputise for the Private Secretary to the Chair.

To be successful in this role you will need to be highly organised with the ability to work independently and manage competing priorities in a fast paced working environment.

Apply before 11:55 pm on Tuesday 15th September 2020

Specific responsibilities:

  1. Oversee timely and accurate responses to all media enquiries. Provide out of hours cover and media monitoring on a rota basis.
  2. Write news releases and, working with the Digital Communications Officer, prepare content for our blog, social media and other digital channels.
  3. Develop and maintain positive relationships with key journalists, bloggers and media producers.
  4. Assist in the preparation and maintenance of lines to take, statements and daily media summaries.
  5. Working with the Private Secretary and Executive Assistant, to provide excellent private office support to the Chair and Chief of Staff. Preparing papers, briefing and other necessary information in advance of meetings. Working with colleagues across a wide variety of teams to provide insight into key issues.
  6. Developing and maintaining a high-level understanding of the issues across the UK Statistics Authority and an understanding of statistics in Government and society.

Person specification

Essential:

  • Experience of handling press queries. You should display the required Government Communication Service competencies at Information Officer (IO) level, including a strong command of the disciplines required for Press and Media specialists.
  • The ability to communicate, both written and verbally, using the appropriate styles to maximise understanding and impact.
  • Proven ability to focus on delivery of outcomes, be proactive, work under pressure, respond quickly and decisively to changing circumstances and tight deadlines.
  • An interest in the role of statistics and evidence in society.

Desirable:

  • Experience of providing private office support or similar.
  • Experience of prioritising, forward planning and supporting others.

About us

The UK Statistics Authority is an independent body at arm’s length from government, which reports directly to the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 established the Authority with the statutory objective of “promoting and safeguarding the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good”. The public good includes:

  • Informing the public about social and economic matters;
  • Assisting in the development and evaluation of public policy; and
  • Regulating quality and publicly challenging the misuse of statistics.

How to apply

For more information and application details please visit the Civil Service Jobs website.

Please add your CV and use your personal statement to evidence your experience against the essential criteria found within the job description. Your personal statement cannot be more than 1200 words.

Contact point for applicants

Ross Tiveyross.tivey@statistics.gov.uk – 020 7592 8644
HRONS.Resourcing@ons.gov.uk

Vacancy – Independent Member of Regulation Committee

Applications have now closed. 

We are looking to appoint an independent member to the Regulation Committee of the UK Statistics Authority.

If successful in your application you would play an important role in our organisation which is engaged in significant transformation, responding to the challenges and opportunities of the changing data landscape.

About the Authority

The UK Statistics Authority is an independent body at arm’s length from government. The Authority has a statutory objective of promoting and safeguarding the production and publication of official statistics that ‘serve the public good’. The public good includes:

  • informing the public about social and economic matters;
  • assisting in the development and evaluation of public policy; and
  • regulating quality and publicly challenging the misuse of statistics

The collective mission of the official statistics system is to provide high quality data and analysis to inform the UK, improve lives and build the future.

Our remit covers the three principal elements of the UK official statistics system:

  • the Government Statistical Service (GSS), which is the cross-government community of all those involved in the production of official statistics in the UK;
  • the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority and the largest producer of official statistics in the UK;
  • the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) which is the regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority. It assesses official statistics for compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics, reports on system-wide issues and on how statistics are used, celebrating when the standards are upheld and challenging publicly when they are not.

About the Regulation Committee

The purpose of the Regulation Committee is to help shape the regulation strategy and to oversee the programme of assessment of sets of official statistics against the Code of Practice, plus other work related to assessment and regulation, thereby contributing to achievement of the Authority’s strategic objectives.

More specifically the Committee:

  • oversees the assessment of whether sets of official statistics are compliant with the Code of Practice for Statistics;
  • determines whether sets of official statistics may be designated National Statistics or not, approves assessment reports for publication, and monitors progress by statistical producers in meeting the requirements for designation as National Statistics;
  • oversees the regulatory function’s programme of monitoring and reviews, making recommendations to the Authority Board as appropriate;
  • maintains oversight of the Code of Practice for Statistics, and makes proposals to the Authority Board in respect of any revisions;
  • monitors progress against the Office for Statistics Regulation work programme and business plan, and provides scrutiny of its budget; and
  • reviews other work produced by the Director General for Regulation and Office for Statistics Regulation, making recommendations to the Authority Chair on these matters.

The Committee meets five times a year with meetings usually in February, April, July, October and December. Committee meetings usually last three hours and members can expect to spend at least the equivalent time in preparation for each meeting; follow up actions may be required. Committee members may be asked to draw upon their expertise and provide advice and guidance on regulatory matters outside of meetings. The remuneration for this post is £3,000 per annum.

Person Specification

We are seeking a candidate with an enthusiasm for good governance and an interest in statistics, combined with proven expertise and senior level experience in the following fields:

  • Experience of operating at Board and/or Committee level in the public or private sector (or both), preferably with knowledge of the operation of arm’s length bodies.
  • Ability to analyse complex issues and think independently, strategically and laterally, in order to identify key issues/implications, make balanced judgments and effective decisions, scan the horizon for future issues, and offer constructive challenge
  • Able to work well as part of a diverse team and to take collective responsibility for decisions.

Experience of working in independent regulation is desirable, but not essential.

How to Apply

To apply for this post, you must provide:

  • a covering letter of no more than two pages of A4 setting out why you are interested in the role and clearly setting out how you meet the criteria above; and
  • an up-to-date curriculum vitae.

You should send the above by email to: Secretariat@Statistics.gov.uk


Please note that the closing date for all applications is Wednesday 26 August.

This post is NOT regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments.

‘Statistics for the Public Good’ new mission for statistics over the next five years launched  

The UK Statistics Authority has unveiled “Statistics for the Public Good” – the new strategy for the UK statistical system following a period of dramatic change during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This strategy is accompanied by five-year business plans for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR), which spell out a direction of travel for official statistics in this country, ensuring that robust data continues to inform the public.

The strategy recognises a need for ever more local, frequent, up to date, accessible, relevant and coherent information to help the public, businesses and civil society. The opportunity for the Government Statistical Service to link multiple sources of data to come to the best answer has been greatly enhanced through new legislation and technology. It was announced in the budget earlier this year that the ONS will take a lead role in developing a new government wide online platform that will link large amounts of existing public data in one place to help inform decision making.  This forms a crucial part of the work that this strategy lays out.

Many of the issues facing us today cross departmental and geographical boundaries and the responses to them are organised in a collaborative way. ‘Statistics for the Public Good’ sets out the Authority’s plan to build flexible and integrated analytical capabilities and data management tools to address national priorities to enable the statisticians to manage data and deliver analysis that cuts across organisational boundaries – enabling joined up government through joined up data.

It lays out key principles to underpin this work, both in production and regulation committing the country’s statistical system to being more radical and ambitious when looking for new projects and to reach beyond what’s gone before. With a focus on partnerships and better use of existing data, the strategy makes a commitment to producing inclusive statistics that reflect the experiences of everyone in our society, ensuring everyone counts and no one is forgotten.

It also commits statisticians to being more proactive in tackling misinformation by speaking out publicly to ensure political debates remain well informed. The plans lay out a set of priorities to stand up for the public’s right to access statistics and data that exhibit trustworthiness, quality and value. OSR will, by championing high standards, uphold public confidence in statistics that serve the public good. This signals a radical shift from traditional static, collect-and-count approaches to statistics.

This launch follows a period of unprecedented change, seeing the design and implementation of the national COVID-19 Infection Survey in a matter of days and transforming the way data is collected and assessed following the pandemic.

Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority said: “Since the pandemic started, the statistical system has adopted radically different ways of working. This has ensured we can provide the vital data needed to track the progress of the pandemic and asses its impact upon our society and economy. Faster, more relevant data from wider sources have supported critical decisions day after day. We want to capitalise upon these changes to further improve lives and guide the path to economic recovery.

“The past few months have shown what we’re capable of doing when there’s special pressure.  Now as we move we hope into more normal times we have to keep up the pace to bring together new sources of data to gain better understanding and improve lives.”

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, the UK’s National Statistician and Head of the Government Statistical Service, said: “I am very proud of the vital contribution my colleagues have made to the country’s pandemic response. Our statistics have become a vital tool for tracking the impact of COVID-19 and providing robust evidence for decision makers.

“By taking the best of what we’ve learnt during this time, I want to ensure that public statistics continue to push boundaries, providing new evidence that gives us the full picture when it comes to making the decisions that matter the most.   During my time as National Statistician I’ve been impressed by the quality of work produced by our teams and I know that we can achieve more.”

Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation and Head of OSR said “Providing trustworthy information to the public is not a nice-to-have. It’s one of the core responsibilities of Government organisations. Our regulatory work over the next 5 years will support producers of statistics and data in informing the public. And we will champion the benefits to the public of getting access to the best possible data and statistics.”

This strategy builds upon the last “Better Statistics, Better Decisions” strategy which laid out its own suggested improvements for statistics – many of which have now been surpassed. It comes as the Office for National Statistics prepares itself for the next Census in 2021.

You can read the full strategy and business plans for ONS and OSR on the UK Statistics Authority website.

Changes to our website

The UK Statistics Authority has made some significant changes to our website, based on extensive research from a wide range of users and stakeholders.

All changes took effect at 1540 on Monday 13  July 2020.

 

Separating out the Office for Statistics Regulation and The Code of Practice.

Historically the UK Statistics Authority website is the single online home for all pages relating to the UK Statistics Authority, the Office for Statistics Regulation and the Code of Practice for Statistics.

As part of some improvements and restructuring to our website, three distinct microsites have been created:

  • UK Statistics Authority

uksa.statisticsauthority.gov.uk (Oversight of the whole statistical system and promote and safeguard the production of official statistics)

  • Office for Statistics Regulation

osr.statisticsauthority.gov.uk (The statutory independent regulator to ensure that statistics are produced and disseminated in the public good)

  • Code of Practice for Statistics

code.statisticsauthority.gov.uk (The Code of Practice provides producers of official statistics with the practices and principles for production of official statistics.)

 

Changes to our website

Users who have statisticsauthority.gov.uk bookmarked are encouraged to update their bookmark to one of the above microsites, depending on your area of interest.

All three sites remain part of statisticsauthority.gov.uk and the UK Statistics Authority remains in overall charge of data collection and cookies.

Please read our website privacy policy for more information.

 

Other improvements

We have sought to improve understanding of the different aspects of the UK Statistical System by creating a new simple navigational home page. We have also created a new navigational menu which sits at the very top of the three microsites to aide navigation.

Following feedback we have streamlined our committees’ page, making it easier to find and review agendas, minutes and other information about our board, sub-committees and advisory panels.

Due to the growing amount of correspondence we have archived all correspondence sent on or before 31 December 2017. No correspondence has been deleted, but older correspondence has been moved.

Next steps

We are creating a new page to bring together our work with parliaments which will go live by the end of July 2020.

Your views

As always, we are happy to hear your views on our website. You can email us or complete this feedback form.

If you regularly access a page which you can not find, please let us know and we will do our best to help you.

Appointment of two new Non-Executive Directors to the UK Statistics Authority Board

Richard Dobbs and Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter have have been appointed as non-executive board members of the UK Statistics Authority for a period of three years, commencing today (Wednesday 27 May 2020).

Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir David Norgrove, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Richard and David as non-executive members of the UK Statistics Authority Board. Richard brings to the Board strong insight into global economic trends, and David is one of our leading experts in the communication of statistics and risk particularly in relation to health. Both have been strong advocates for the power of data and evidence to help people. The Board and I are very much looking forward to working with both of our new members.”

Richard Dobbs said:

“I am delighted and honoured to be appointed to the Board at this challenging time. The Office for National Statistics is already providing us all with deep insights on the COVID-19 pandemic. As we emerge from the crisis the ONS and the UK Statistics Authority will play a pivotal role in helping policymakers, companies and citizens navigate the new normal.”

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically highlighted the importance of timely and trustworthy statistics, and I am so pleased that I am going to have the opportunity to help in the UK Statistics Authority’s vital work.”

 

 

Related links

Biography of Richard Dobbs

Biography of Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter

 

Further information

The UK Statistics Authority is an independent body operating at arm’s length from government as a non-ministerial department, directly accountable to Parliament. It was established on 1 April 2008 by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

The Authority’s statutory objective is to promote and safeguard the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good. It is also required to promote and safeguard the quality and comprehensiveness of official statistics and ensure good practice in relation to official statistics.

Consultation on the future of the Retail Prices Index

The UK Statistics Authority and HM Treasury have today announced that they will be extending the time period for the current joint consultation on the future of the Retail Prices Index, in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

With businesses and individuals focused on mitigating the challenges that this public health and economic emergency has created, the UK Statistics Authority and HM Treasury agree that they cannot currently conclude a meaningful consultation on this matter.

The new closing date for the consultation will be 21 August. We will continue to accept responses throughout the extended period. The Authority will resume proactive engagement, including events, as circumstances allow. A response to the consultation will now be published in Autumn 2020.

An exchange of letters between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority on this matter is available below.

Related Links:

Sir David Norgrove to Chancellor of the Exchequer (April 2020)

Chancellor of the Exchequer to Sir David Norgrove (April 2020)

Consultation on the Reform to Retail Prices Index (RPI) Methodology

COVID-19 and the UK Statistics System

Commenting on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority Sir David Norgrove has today said:

“The UK’s statistical system is continuing to serve the public good in the face of the challenges posed by the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) have set out plans to ensure that their work continues and adapts at a time when good evidence is more important than ever.”

Related Links:

Covid-19: Changes to Statistics

Understanding exactly how COVID-19 is affecting us is the hardest job we’ve ever had – Sir David Norgrove newspaper column (May 2020)

Covid-19 surveillance and registered deaths data review (April 2020)

Statement from the Office for National Statistics: COVID-19 and the production of statistics (April 2020)

Statement from the Office for Statistics Regulation: COVID-19 and the regulation of statistics (April 2020)

Sir Ian Diamond’s letter to Ed Humperson regarding changes to statistical production and publication as a result of COVID-19 (March 2020)

Ed Humpherson’s response to Sir Ian Diamond (March 2020)

Ed Humpherson’s blog post on Covid-19 and the regulation of statistics (March 2020)

Joint consultation on the future of the RPI launched by UK Statistics Authority and HM Treasury

In March 2019, UK Statistics Authority recommended to the Chancellor that the shortcomings of the RPI be addressed by bringing the methods and data sources of CPIH into it.

Today The Authority and HM Treasury have launched a joint Consultation on the timing and method of bringing CPIH methods and data sources into the RPI.

HM Treasury will be consulting on the appropriate timing for the proposed changes to the RPI to take place while the UK Statistics Authority will consult on how to make its proposed methodological changes to the RPI in a way that follows best statistical practice.

The consultation will run from today – 11 March – until Wednesday 22 April.

Commenting, the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority Sir David Norgrove said:

“The role of the UK Statistics Authority is to promote and safeguard official statistics.

“I, my predecessors and successive National Statisticians have been clear that the RPI is not a good measure, at times significantly overestimating inflation and at other times underestimating it. However, the RPI is unique as we need consent from the Chancellor to make certain changes, such as the one we have proposed.

“We are seeking feedback from the widest range of users on our proposed method of bringing the methods and data sources of our most comprehensive inflation measure, CPIH, to the RPI.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The consultation page is available here

Today’s letter (11 March 2020) from Sir David Norgrove to Lord Forsyth is available here

The UK Statistics Authority’s previous statement on the future of the RPI, published in September, is available here

A previously published article, setting out the shortcomings of the Retail Prices Index is available here

The full recommendations from the UK Statistics Authority to the Chancellor can be found here

UK Statistics Authority Statement on the future of the RPI

The Advisory Panel on Consumer Prices provided advice to the National Statistician on the composition of the Retail Prices Index (RPI) in light of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report Measuring Inflation, published in January 2019.

Taking account of that advice, the then National Statistician concluded that the current position was unsatisfactory and put options for the future of the RPI to the UK Statistics Authority Board on 26 February 2019.

After receiving this advice, Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, wrote on behalf of the Board to the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer on 4 March 2019 with the following recommendations:

  • that the publication of the RPI be stopped at a point in future; and
  • in the interim, the shortcomings of the RPI should be addressed by bringing the methods of the CPIH into it.

Today the Chancellor has announced his intention to consult on whether to bring the methods in CPIH into RPI between 2025 and 2030, effectively aligning the measures. The UK Statistics Authority will consult on the method of making this change.

Speaking today, Sir David said:

“The role of the UK Statistics Authority is to promote and safeguard official statistics.

“We have been clear that the RPI is not a good measure, at times significantly overestimating inflation and at other times underestimating it, and have consistently urged all – in Government and the private sector – to stop using it. However, the RPI is unique as we need consent from the Chancellor to make certain changes, such as the one we have proposed.

“Although we regret that no change will occur before 2025, we welcome the Chancellor’s intention to consult on resolving current issues with the RPI.

“We continue to urge the Government and others to cease to use the RPI. It would be wrong for the Government to continue to use a measure of inflation which it itself accepts is flawed, where it has the opportunity to change.”


 

Notes to Editors

  1. Under Section 21 of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, before making any change to the coverage or the basic calculation of the RPI, the UK Statistics Authority must consult the Bank of England. Where proposed changes to the RPI are deemed material and detrimental to relevant gilt holders by the Bank of England, changes cannot be made without the consent of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
  2. Under Section 21, Sir David Norgrove wrote to the Governor of the Bank of England on 18 February and the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 4 March, proposing:
    1. that the publication of the RPI be stopped at a point in future; and
    2. in the interim, that shortcomings of the RPI be addressed, by bringing the methods of the CPIH into the index.
  3. His letters drew both on the formal advice of the UK’s National Statistician, and on the advice of the National Statistician’s Advisory Panel on Consumer Prices.
  4. The Bank of England responded on 4 March to confirm changes proposed were material and detrimental to holders of relevant gilts.
  5. Following the appointment of a new Chancellor, Sir David Norgrove wrote to the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP on 30 July 2019, highlighting the importance of the issue and the need to resolve at the earliest practical occasion.
  6. The Chancellor responded to the UK Statistics Authority’s proposals on 4 September 2019. In his response, the Chancellor announced his intention to consult on the timing of when to bring the methods in CPIH into RPI, effectively aligning the measures, to give users time to prepare for the many complex effects such a change will have.
  7. Sir David has responded to the Chancellor welcoming the intention to consult, while expressing regret that no change will occur before 2025.  He has also urged users to cease using the RPI.
  8. In 2030 the requirement for the Authority to consult the Chancellor before making changes to the coverage or calculation of the RPI falls away.
  9. While the current Authority Board cannot commit its successors, the statistical weaknesses of the RPI make it unlikely that the Authority would take a different view from our recommendations in 2030
  10. The Authority has also published its response to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

 

 

Ian Diamond appointed as UK’s National Statistician

Her Majesty the Queen, on the advice of the Prime Minister, has appointed Professor Sir Ian Diamond as National Statistician. Sir Ian succeeds John Pullinger, who retired at the end of June.

The National Statistician is the Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, Permanent Secretary of the Office for National Statistics and Head of the Government Statistical Service. As Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Ian will be an executive member of the Board of the UK Statistics Authority.

Sir Ian’s career spans many areas of social and official statistics. Most recently, he served as Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, and prior to that held the role of Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy, Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Academy of Social Sciences.

Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, warmly welcomed Sir Ian’s appointment:

“I am delighted that we have appointed Sir Ian as the UK Statistics Authority’s new Chief Executive and National Statistician. Ian brings with him enormous professional experience and particular expertise in census design and analysis.

“I would like to record my warm thanks for John Pullinger’s exemplary leadership of the Statistical Service over the last five years as National Statistician before his recent retirement. We have valued enormously John’s professional wise counsel and wish him well for the future.”

The Chief Executive of the Civil Service, John Manzoni, said:

“I would like to congratulate Sir Ian on his appointment. With his considerable standing in the statistics community and talent for analysing large and complex data on population stastistics, I am sure he will provide strong direction for the UK Statistics Authority and Office for National Statistics.

I would also like to thank John Pullinger for his excellent work over the last five years and wish him all the very best for the future”

On the announcement of his appointment by Her Majesty the Queen, Sir Ian Diamond said:

“The UK’s statistical system is one admired world-over and it is an enormous privilege to have been appointed as the UK’s National Statistician. I’m looking forward to building on the work of John Pullinger, as we make use of rich new data sources to deliver the data decision-makers across the UK need.

“I’m particularly excited to be working with staff across the Office for National Statistics and the Government Statistical Service, as we empower our partners in Parliament, academia, business and beyond with trusted and quality data.”

 

Notes to editors:

Professor Sir Ian David Diamond, FBA, FRSE, FAcSS is the former Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen. Previous roles include Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council, Chair of the Research Councils UK Executive Group and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Southampton. Sir Ian served as chairman of the Social Security Advisory Committee from August 2018 until his appointment as National Statistician. He also served as a non-executive director at the UK Statistics Authority Board until his appointment as National Statistician.

Sir Ian will join as National Statistician on a full-time basis on 22 October 2019. In the intervening period, he will be working to familiarise himself with staff, stakeholders and the statistical system.