Following the publication of Professor Denise Lievesley’s review of the UK Statistics Authority today, Sir Robert Chote, Chair of the Authority, said:  

“I would like to personally thank Professor Lievesley for all the hard work she has put into her report and for engaging so widely with our many stakeholders. I welcome the recommendations she has made to the Authority and to Ministers, and in particular the emphasis on tackling barriers to the sharing and linking of data from government departments and public bodies, which holds great potential for public benefit. 

I welcome the proposal for a Statistical Assembly to discuss the future development of the statistical system and we hope to take this forward in partnership with the Royal Statistical Society. As Professor Lievesley has observed to us, no other country has attempted an exercise of this sort. Its scope will necessarily extend well beyond the statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and we need to ensure the widest possible participation while recognising the resource constraints that confront all statistical producers across the public sector.

The ONS, like many statistical producers around the world, is finding it increasingly expensive and challenging to maintain the quality of outputs from household surveys, because of reduced response rates and higher collection costs. The review raises the possibility that the Government could require households to complete the Labour Force Survey (and presumably other such surveys), as is the case in some other countries and with the Census here in the UK. That would be a big step and I welcome the Government’s willingness to consider and discuss the opportunities and risks that this might present.

I welcome Professor Lievesley’s recognition that the Office for Statistics Regulation is in practice robustly independent of the Office for National Statistics under the UKSA umbrella, but that it could be more visible and its independence better understood and reflected in the Authority’s underpinning legislation. I also welcome her support for consistent limits on pre-release access to data releases within Government, which is important for trust in the integrity of the statistical system. 

There are many other interesting proposals and observations in the review. While the above sets out my initial views as Chair, the Authority will now consider the review’s recommendations in detail and report back on next steps in due course.”

Professor Lievesley’s Review was conducted as part of the programme of Public Bodies Reviews and considered the UK Statistics Authority, including the Office for National Statistics and Office for Statistics Regulation. 

The full report and the Government’s response can be found on

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