We are looking to appoint independent members to the UK Statistics Authority’s National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee (NSDEC)

If successful in your application, you would play an important role enabling ethically appropriate research and statistics for the public good.

About the National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee:

Chaired by Dame Moira Gibb, the National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee (NSDEC) has been established to advise the National Statistician that the access, use and sharing of public data, for research and statistical purposes, is ethical and for the public good. NSDEC considers project and policy proposals, which make use of innovative and novel data, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Government Statistical Service (GSS) and beyond, and advise the National Statistician on the ethical appropriateness of these.

More about the Committee:

  • Provides ethical consideration that the collection, access, use and sharing of data for research and statistical purposes, is ethical and for the public good.
  • Provides researchers and statisticians with independent and expert ethics advice and guidance at the design phase of a research project enables researchers to confidently move forward with important analysis, with the knowledge that such research meets the UK Statistics Authority’s ethical principles, and that any ethical risks have been appropriately thought through and mitigated against.
  • Promotes transparency around data shares.
  • The Committee formally meets quarterly to consider ethical applications, as well as providing timely advice via correspondence.
  • In reviewing project and policy proposals, NSDEC provides advice to the National Statistician on the basis of the following ethical principles:
    • The Public Good
    • Confidentiality and Data Security
    • Methods and Quality
    • Legal Compliance
    • Public Views and Engagement
    • Transparency
  • The Committee has a dedicated secretariat team within the UK Statistics Authority.
  • The Committee consists of members from academia, the commercial sector and several government departments. They are experts in data ethics, data law, and research and statistics, and also includes a lay member to provide a valuable non-expert view.

The work of NSDEC:

  • NSDEC provides ethics advice to the statistical system. This goes beyond just researchers and statisticians within the ONS, but also those across the GSS and the wider research community and academic sector, that use public authority data for research and statistical production.
  • Here you can see some examples of projects that have benefitted from the independent scrutiny the committee provides.
    • Student Suicide Statistics (ONS)
    • Investigating vulnerabilities linked to serious youth violence using linked DfE & MoJ data (DfE & MoJ)
    • Incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and prevalence of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in the UK general population as assessed through repeated cross-sectional household surveys with additional serial sampling and longitudinal follow-up (ONS & University of Oxford)
    • Vulnerable Persons and Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (ONS & Home Office)
    • Measurement of Vulnerability of Children and Young People in England (Alma Economics (commissioned by the Children’s Commissioner for England))

We are seeking candidates with an interest in enabling ethical collection, access, use and sharing of data for research and statistical purposes. This could include experience in one or more of the following fields:

  • Data Ethics
  • Data Law
  • Social research
  • Economic research
  • Data science
  • Data linkage
  • Data protection
  • Data security

There will be a time commitment of approximately 4 days a year. The position is not remunerated but all reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.

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.

How to apply:

To apply for this post, you must provide a CV and a covering letter of no more than one page of A4 setting out why you are interested in the role and clearly setting out how you meet the criteria above.

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

Please contact Data.Ethics@Statistics.gov.uk for more information about these positions.

The application deadline for these positions is 21 June 2021.