Purposes and activity

Statutory framework

The Statistics Board, operating as the UK Statistics Authority (the Authority),was established under the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 (the Act) and formally assumed its powers on 1 April 2008. The Authority is an independent statutory body. It operates at arm’s length from government as a non- ministerial department and reports directly to the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The work of the Authority is further defined under the secondary legislation made under the Act by the UK Parliament or devolved legislatures.

Statutory objective

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
  • regulating quality and publicly challenging the misuse of statistics

Official statistics are for the benefit of society and the economy as a whole; not only in government policy making and the evaluation of government performance, but also informing the direction of economic and commercial activities. Statistics provide valuable data and evidence for analysts, researchers, public and voluntary bodies, enabling the public to hold to account all organisations that spend public money, and informing wider public debate. The Authority is committed to official statistics enabling sound policy, decisions and providing a firm evidence base for decision-making both inside and outside of government.

Statistics for the Public Good

On 16 July 2020, the Authority launched its strategy for the UK official statistics system for the five years 2020 to 2025. The strategy can be found in full on the Authority’s website.

The collective mission of our official statistics system is:

High quality data and analysis to inform the UK, improve lives and build the future.


The Statistics for the Public Good 5-year strategy launched in 2020 covers the principle elements of the UK official statistics system for which the Authority has oversight. The Authority provides professional oversight of the Government Statistical Service (GSS), and has exclusive responsibility for its two executive arms, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR). The National Statistician also leads the cross-government Analysis Function.

The Government Statistical Service (GSS)

The GSS is a UK network, spread across a whole range of public bodies, including the devolved administrations and UK government departments which produces and analyses statistics. It includes professional statisticians, data scientists, geographers, researchers, economists, analysts, operational delivery staff, IT specialists and other supporting roles. The GSS is also a part of the cross-government Analysis Function, which has built a community of analysts of various professional backgrounds working to provide the evidence base for understanding the biggest challenges of the day. Both the Analysis Function and the GSS are led by the National Statistician.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS)

The ONS is the Authority’s statistical production function and is part of the GSS. Led by the National Statistician, the ONS is the UK’s internationally recognised National Statistical Institute and largest producer of official statistics. The ONS produces data, statistics and analysis on a range of key economic, social and demographic topics.

Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR)

The OSR is the Authority’s independent statutory regulator. Led by the Director General for Regulation, OSR ensures that statistics are produced and disseminated in the public good and aims to increase public confidence in the trustworthiness, quality and value of statistics produced by governments. OSR also reports publicly on system-wide issues and on the way that statistics are being used, celebrating when the standards are upheld and challenging publicly when they are not.

The legislation which established the UK Statistics Authority requires strict separation of the functions of production and regulation, where those involved in the production of statistics are not involved in the assessment of statistics against the Code. The Director General for Regulation reports directly to the Chair of the Authority and produces a separate annual performance report. More detail about OSR, including its approach, its governance and an assessment of its effectiveness is set out in the Annex to this document.

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The UKSA Strategy

The UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) strategy – Statistics for the Public Good – sets the direction for the UK official statistics system with its overarching mission to deliver:

High quality data and analysis to inform the UK, improve lives and build for the future

The strategy describes four strategic drivers that underpin the mission statement – UKSA must be:


Radical in taking opportunities to innovate and collaborate, using data for the public good.


Ambitious in setting out to answer the critical research questions the public needs the Government to answer, and informing the decisions that citizens, businesses and civil society take.


Inclusive in its approach to workforce, talent management, and the design of data, statistics and analysis.


Sustainable in delivering a unique service in a way which delivers value for money with lasting benefits and minimises impact on the environment, all through partnership and collaboration.

The UKSA strategy is supported by business plans produced by each constituent part of the statistical system.

The ONS Strategic Business Plan

The ONS Strategic Business Plan, originally published alongside the UKSA Strategy in July 2020, and subsequently updated annually, sets out how ONS will contribute towards delivery of the UKSA strategy. The Strategic Business Plan includes our responses to external challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of living challenge, and the war in Ukraine plus our outputs to inform on issues such as net-zero, levelling up economic opportunity across the country, social mobility, and an ageing population.

The Strategic Business Plan sets out how the ONS will deliver in line with the four Strategic Drivers – Radical, Ambitious, Sustainable and Inclusive – as set out in the UKSA strategy, working in partnership with the GSS, data providers and the analytical and research community.

The Strategic Business Plan also sets out the structure through which we deliver against our commitments. It presents the eight Strategic Objectives – owned by the ONS senior leadership team. This is further supported by delivery tiers made up of our Accountability Framework Objectives (AFOs) and our five transformation programmes:

  • Census and Data Collection Transformation Programme (CDCTP)
  • Integrated Data Services Programme (IDSP)
  • Covid19 Infection Survey (CIS)
  • Ambitious, Radical and Inclusive Economic Statistics (ARIES)
  • Corporate Services Improvement Programme (CSIP)

Figure 1 below provides a visual representation of the structure showing the alignment from the Strategic Drivers through to delivery.

Figure 1: ONS strategic business plan taxonomy

Strategic DriversRadical
Cross cutting analysis and integrated data
Inclusivity, quality, conference, accessibility, and timeliness of our core stats
Building inclusivity into everything we do
Sustainability and efficiency
Strategic ObjectivesSO1
Priority analysis
Statistical quality
Accessible outputs
Future tools
Integrated data
Census outputs
One ONS culture
Sustainable business model
DeliveryDirectorate accountability framework objectives
Level 1s and level 2s

Please note these strategic objectives have been updated for the financial year 2023-2024 to ensure they remain future-facing and relevant to the organisational context. These updated objectives are presented in the FY23/24 Strategic Business Plan.

Statement about the use of Government Functional Standards

The National Statistician leads the Analysis Function which supports a 17,000 strong community of analysts. The work of the Analysis Function is overseen by the Analysis Function Board (AFB) and the Departmental Directors of Analysis (DDANs), who represent Departments and our wider stakeholders. An Analysis Function People Board subcommittee has also been established in recent years to further strengthen the delivery of people specific priorities.

This governance structure ensures the Function addresses cross-cutting challenges, drawing on the strengths of the analytical professions, and ensures a consistent approach to delivering expert analytical advice across government.

The Analysis Function also plays a key role in delivering the Cabinet Office’s and Ministers’ civil service reform agenda. Over the next three years, the ONS plan for the Analysis Function will support integrated, informed decision-making and efficient service delivery by putting world class analysis in the hands of decision makers. A Functional approach is needed for analysis to pool knowledge, skills and techniques and to ensure that government analysts apply common standards and approaches when this is the right thing to do.

In addition to the Analysis Function, the ONS aligns to other functional standards such as Finance, Project Delivery, Human Resources, Communications, Property, Digital, Data and Technology, Security, Commercial and Internal Audit, as per the Dear Accounting Office (DAO) Letter dated 30/09/2021. The Letter sets out that all central government departments and their arm’s length bodies should have a plan in place by March 2022 to comply with each functional standard in a way that meets its business needs and priorities.

The OSR business plan

OSR also published its Business Plan in May 2022. This set out the independent role, governance, vision, and priority outcomes and activities for OSR. Performance against this business plan for 2022/23 is set out in the Annex to this document.

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Performance analysis


We have continued to make significant progress against our radical, ambitious, inclusive and sustainable drivers during 2022/23 – the third year of our five-year strategy. We have achieved a great deal, as set out in more detail below, while maintaining our commitment to a sustainable business model. We have embedded learning from our response to the Covid-19 pandemic, incorporating agile and flexible resource alongside our change programmes and quality outputs.

Throughout 2022/23 ONS has continued to demonstrate its crucial role in informing Government and the public on priority topics including Covid-19, inflation, migration, economic growth, employment.

As with all parts of government we worked with HM Treasury colleagues through the Spending Review 2021 (SR21) exercise which settled budgets for the period 2022/23 to 2024/25. The exercise was vitally important in securing ongoing support, placing the organisation on a sustainable footing and facilitating the delivery of our strategy for the next three financial years.

The following sections provide an overall summary assessment of performance against our strategic objectives and key milestones for 2022/23 as set out in our Strategic Business Plan. We also provide a more detailed narrative highlighting the key achievements in the period by each strategic driver and Strategic Objective (SO) on pages 25 to 30 of the pdf.


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Summary assessment of performance by strategic objective

The Strategic Objectives (SOs) were developed as part of the ONS’s initial Strategic Business Plan published in July 2020. They have been reviewed annually and as a result have been iterated and rationalised, to maintain relevance to current and expected future operational context, and to support clarity of accountability. Each SO contributes to all four Strategic Drivers, with the strongest association shown in the table below.

Performance against the SOs is monitored monthly through internal governance using the mapping of the underpinning Accountability Framework Objectives (AFOs) to each SO[5] as a mechanism to track progress and flag issues. The table below provides an assessment of the status of each of the eight SOs in March 2023. The Green rating indicates that the majority of the AFOs that align to that SO were reporting either “complete” or “on track” at the time of reporting.

This end of year position is the same as the previous year, 2021/22.

[5] Each AFO is mapped to one or more SOs depending on the contribution the AFO makes towards delivery of the SO. By tracking progress of the AFO we are able to extrapolate the performance against the SO.

Priority deliverables: ARIES, Covid Infection Survey
Main strategic contribution: Radical
2022/23 rating: Green
Working with new and existing partnerships to deliver inclusive, engaging and timely data, statistics and analysis on priority economic, social and environmental issues including on the impacts of the pandemic and the lives of those missing from our existing data sources.

Priority deliverables: Delivery of IDSP data services
Main strategic contribution: Radical
2022/23 rating: Green
In collaboration with the GSS, Government Analysis Function and wider government, deliver a ground breaking, safe, secure and trusted integrated data service with associated data governance that drives the integration of Government data and the provision of crosscutting analysis for the public good, and facilitates the evaluation of policy effectiveness.

Priority deliverables: IDSP platform, Prioritised legacy replacement
Main strategic contribution: Sustainable
2022/23 rating: Green
To develop and future-proof the ONS’s statistical, analytical and data management tools, technologies and policies to meet the changing requirements of the business, at pace and with innovation to the fore.

Priority deliverables: Labour market transformation, Prices transformation, GDP, Crime, Inclusive data task force
Main strategic contribution: Ambitious
2022/23 rating: Green
Drive improvements in the inclusiveness, quality, coherence, accessibility and timeliness of our priority statistics and outputs and set best practice for the development of UK statistical frameworks.

Priority deliverables: Census outputs, Transformation of population and migration statistics, to support 2023 Recommendation
Main strategic contribution: Ambitious
2022/23 rating: Green
To deliver outputs from the 2021 Census and a revised system of population and migration statistics, working towards a robust recommendation on the future of the Census in 2023.

Priority deliverables: Efficiencies framework
Main strategic contribution: Sustainable
2022/23 rating: Green
To implement a sustainable and ambitious business model that enables ONS to deliver against the ambitions in the UKSA strategy using resources (people, funding & infrastructure) effectively and efficiently, while continuously improving ONS’s corporate services and systems so they are fit for the future.

Priority deliverables: IDSP dissemination capacity
Main strategic contribution: Inclusive
2022/23 rating: Green
To deliver an efficient, targeted, accessible, inclusive and flexible publication and two-way engagement model that promotes understanding, provides information that our key stakeholders and the wider UK need, and informs organisational delivery.

Priority deliverables: People plan
Main strategic contribution: Inclusive
2022/23 rating: Green
To create an inclusive, collaborative, engaged and healthy working environment and a ‘One ONS’ culture where employees of different backgrounds, grades, characteristics and ways of thinking are consistently empowered and inspired to innovate, share learning and deliver their best work.

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Key deliverables

Our Strategic Business Plan also set out a high-level timeline of key deliverables. The table below gives the milestones for the 2022/23 financial year and their status in March 2023.

Key deliverable: Publish ONS Subnational Work Plan.
Directorate: Economic, Social and Environmental statistics Group (ESEG)
Due date: May 2022 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Produce and publish quarterly crime in England and Wales estimates, alongside focused analytical articles on topics including domestic abuse, homicide.
Directorate: ESEG
Due date: Apr 2022, July 2022, October 2022, January 2023 Status: Complete

Key deliverable: Analytical capability review of policy officials completed and launched.
Directorate: ESEG
Due date: May 2022 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Develop strategy implementation plan, following stakeholder engagement.
Directorate: ESEG
Due date: July 2022 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: COVID-19 Infection Survey (CIS) – digital implementation complete.
Directorate: CIS
Due date: August 2022 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Stakeholders consulted and requirements included in future crime survey design.
Directorate: ESEG
Due date: October 2022 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: CIS – digital benefits realised.
Directorate: CIS
Due date: October 2022 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Integrated Data Service Platform (IDSP) – initial public beta.
Directorate: IDSP
Due date: July 2022 (originally due June 2022) Status: Completed

Key deliverable: IDSP – full public beta.
Directorate: Digital Services and Technology (DST)
Due date: March 2023 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Live / Basic Integrated Data Service (full operating capability) complete.
Directorate: IDSP
Due date: March 2023 (originally due December 2022) Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Delivery of Prices Alternative Data sources system.
Directorate: DST
Due date: June 2022 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Development of the Statistical production Platform to support legacy (Ingres) reduction.
Directorate: DST
Due date: September 2022 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: GDP / (Gross National Income) GNI – Publication of the UK’s annual Blue Book and Pink Book, including comprehensive measures and performance of the UK economy.
Directorate: ESEG
Due date: October 2022 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Completion of initiation and discovery phase on the scope for RTI data to transform the Labour Market and development of delivery plan.
Directorate: ESEG
Due date: December 2022 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: GDP / GNI – Verification of outstanding actions are implemented into the ONS National Accounts.
Directorate: ESEG
Due date: March 2023 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Publish a range of supplementary analysis, including a Least Cost Index and inflation calculator, to inform the debate on the cost of living.
Directorate: ESEG
Due date: March 2023 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Fiscal Statistics: New public sector balance sheet and research into central government expenditure metrics published in a new-style Public Sector Finance release.
Directorate: ESEG
Status: : Rebaselined to 2023/24

Key deliverable: Supply evidence on population, migration and social statistics to inform the National Statistician 23 Recommendations future approach.
Directorate: Population Statistics Division (PSD)
Due date: February 2023 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Publish all Census outputs and analysis by end March 2023. This includes achieving National Statistics accreditation by end May 2022 and publishing the First Release from Census by end June 2022.
Directorate: PSD
Due date: March 2023 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: ONS London office moved to Marsham Street.
Directorate: People, Business and Services (PBS)
Due date: December 2022 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Deliver the 22/23 Efficiency Target of £5.5m through the ONS Efficiency Framework and the various projects and initiatives.
Directorate: Finance, Planning and Performance (FPP)
Due date: March 2023 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Efficiencies / legacy – move all surveys online.
Directorate: Surveys
Status: Rebaselined to 2023/24

Key deliverable: Publish and promote the statistics and analysis of the ONS and ensure user needs are met.
Directorate: Communications and Digital Publishing (CDP)
Due date: March 2023 Status: Completed

Key deliverable: Deliver dissemination services for the IDSP and Census and build a future-facing publishing and content system.
Directorate: CDP
Due date: March 2023 Status: Completed

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Overall performance narrative by strategic objective

Radical – Cross cutting analysis and integrated data

Strategic objective 1 – Priority analysis

A key strategic objective which is intrinsically linked to our mission as an organisation is to provide time-critical analysis and statistics on priority economic, social and environmental issues. We have developed our capacity to respond at pace, using our relationships across government and with other partners to provide the data and analysis needed to aid decision makers – whatever the question. Central to the achievement of this objective is the need to develop and maintain the necessary structures, capability and capacity to deliver.

Our Analytical Hub continues to work in tandem with our Data Science Campus and cross-Government partners including the Cabinet Office Joint Data and Analysis Centre to aid in our response to urgent priorities. During the year we have been able to respond quickly to provide data and insights across a range of socio-economic themes detailed below.

Significant work was completed in response to a widespread increase in the cost of living, including:

  • data and analysis on energy, health, supply chains, labour market and cost of living, including experimental analysis that tracked the online price of 30 lowest-cost grocery items, used to inform and monitor winter risks preparedness helping to evaluate government policies and packages of support; a new survey on the impacts on higher education students, and a Cost-of-Living Insights Tool that helped users access the latest insights, interpret complex trends and personalise the data to their region and personal characteristics;
  • the “Understanding the cost of living through statistics” event considered how the UK economy was being affected and what it meant for different households; and
  • a Winter Panel of 5,000 households was set up to answer questions on cost of living, housing, energy, heating homes, impact on health, access to treatment and impact on work, caring and life.

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent humanitarian response, the Ukraine Humanitarian Response Insight Survey was set up in collaboration the Cabinet Office, Home Office and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This survey was used to inform policy responses and charted the experience of Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK, highlighting where they were staying, how they were accessing services, what support they required and their intentions for staying in the country. A follow-up survey revealed the experiences and intentions of hosts to provide ongoing support including help settling into UK life, and access to private rented accommodation.

Our Covid-19 Infection Survey (CIS) won the 2022 Campion Award for Excellence in Official Statistics, while our work on Long Covid was highly commended. The award, run by the Royal Statistical Society, recognised outstanding innovations or developments in the production of UK statistics that improve the service to users. CIS moved to a new digital operating model in 2022 and in March 2023 celebrated over 11.5m swabs to monitor for Covid-19 infection, and 3.3m tests for antibodies. A total of 280 publications related to Covid-19 have been released that have informed policy decisions, with the Covid insights tool and data visualisations being used for both public information and policy decisions. Analytical outputs on priority topics covered new variants, regional and characteristic analysis, long covid rates, and more recently for wider respiratory pathogens.

We published the cross-GSS subnational data strategy which is being driven across government through a senior subnational data group, led by the National Statistician and including devolved administrations and representatives from local government. In January 2023, ONS hosted an event in collaboration with Core Cities and Birmingham City Council to celebrate the launch of the strategy and highlight our achievements to date which include:

Strategic objective 2 – Priority data

ONS has been leading the drive to provide faster and wider collaborative analysis of complex data for the public good through delivery of the Integrated Data Services Programme (IDSP). Led by ONS, this programme is a collaborative initiative with the GSS, Government Analysis Function and wider Government, and will build a comprehensive data service, underpinned by a secure and trusted infrastructure that will enable government to make best use of its data assets and unlock the potential of linked data. The IDSP will accelerate our progress in data sharing and analysis and provide a model that is fit for purpose to tackle the Government’s priorities now and in the future; one of the key ambitions of the National Data Strategy.

The IDSP launched its first private beta in May 2022 with an improved cloud platform and service enhancements for a new tranche of users. The next release, an initial public beta followed quickly in July 2022 and the next iteration of public beta was released in March 2023. A group of super early adopters received access to Census 2021 data with the ability to join to other ONS data and run exploratory analytical projects in the IDS environment, and to provide the programme team with early user feedback, critical to ongoing development.

Significant progress has been made acquiring priority alternative data for use in our statistical and analytical outputs during 2022/23, reducing the burden on contributors. Highlights include:

  • Signing a revised agreement with NHS Digital allowing the use of COVID-19 health datasets for wider research projects.
  • HMRC approved the supply of PAYE data in the clear for use in the construction of our Demographic Index. This was a major milestone in terms of progress towards admin-based population estimates.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding to access Exit Check data from Home Office was agreed and data is now being used in the admin-based transformation of migration and population statistics, as part of the Census 2023 recommendation.
  • One of the UK big four supermarkets, delivered test data ahead of signing a data sharing agreement. Regular data deliveries will mean ONS will have more than 60 per cent market coverage for the grocery sector, improving our inflation estimates.
  • Securing access to a very granular dataset from one of our current card payment providers, greatly improving our insights and real time indicators of economic activity.

Ambitious – Inclusive, quality, coherence, accessibility and timeliness of our core statistics

Strategic objective 4 – Statistical quality

Delivering high quality and timely statistics sits at the heart of what we do. The Ambitious, Radical, Inclusive Economic Statistics (ARIES) programme will support our relentless drive for improved quality and granularity of our statistics, as will improvements to the core national accounts, trade and investment and the faster indicators suite.

As part of our plans for “Beyond Gross Domestic Product (GDP)”, we published an ‘inclusive income’ workplan to bring the missing capital such as human and natural capital into a single measure, new quarterly climate change insights, and a proposal for an approach to estimating quarterly greenhouse gas emissions.

A new system to improve and modernise our headline measures of consumer price inflation was developed that is capable of processing billions of price points as part of the monthly publication round. In addition, research was published detailing the impact of using new data sources in Consumer Prices Index (CPI) and Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH).

We have continued to make significant progress on the Transformation of the Labour Force Survey (TLFS). The survey is now collecting data across multiple modes: on-line, telephone and face to face. We are now analysing the data with all 3 modes active and developing appropriate methodologies such as weighting, imputation and discontinuity analysis. Alongside this we are shortly due to share early access data to our core external stakeholders for additional analysis and QA support. User guidance and regular transformation updates have been published throughout the year and will continue throughout 2023. It is the intention to begin transitioning regular published outputs from using the Labour Force Survey (LFS) to the new TLFS from early 2024.

We have continued to develop our international presence with the first year of meetings concluding for the new National Statistician’s Committee for Advice on Standards for Economic Statistics (NSCASE). The committee, chaired by Professor Martin Weale, plays an important role supporting decisions around guidance for economic statistics, particularly as we approach the revision of the United Nation’s System of National Accounts in 2025. Meetings have laid productive groundwork for the workplans of topics such as industrial classifications, non-monetary gold, conceptual methods in prices and volume, quality adjustment, and implementation of the Manual on Government Deficit and Debt (MGDD), 2022 Edition.

Through our strategy we aim to embed inclusivity as a concept across everything that we do, including the data we use and statistics we publish. Linked inherently to the “inclusive” driver as well as quality of our outputs, delivery of the Inclusive Data Taskforce Implementation Plan is progressing well. Dame Julia Cleverdon has been appointed as the Chair of a new National Statistician’s Advisory Committee on Inclusive Data and the inaugural meeting was held in October; with the Committee providing transparent, external scrutiny and advice on our delivery. The Committee includes a diverse group of senior leaders with experience from academia, civil society, local government, and business. The Committee’s agenda covered how to evaluate progress towards greater inclusiveness of UK data and evidence, and how to create and embed an environment of trust and trustworthiness allowing everyone to count in UK data. Delivery highlights include the publication of qualitative research on disabled adults’ experiences of accessing services, which included an easy read report.

The latest admin-based ethnicity research covering 2016-2020 was published and ONS provided local authorities with mid-2022 estimates from the Dynamic Population Model that provides timely access to changes in demographic behaviour.

On crime statistics, prevalence estimates of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault for the whole of the adult population were produced and published for the first time in July 2022, in the latest Crime in England and Wales release. March saw the launch in beta of the Prototype 1.1 of the Violence Against Women and Girls Dashboard. The aim of the dashboard is to have all the relevant information pertaining to Violence Against Women and Girls to be used by citizens and policymakers in one place, prototype is being used to seek views from users and stakeholders on design and future content.

Strategic objective 5 – Census outputs

Census 21 was the first Census completed primarily through an electronic questionnaire. Return rates at the end of census collection phase surpassed 97% of households with 88.9% of responses made electronically, and more than 90% in every local authority across England and Wales. Since the completion of the census, we are producing more data more quickly than any previous census, and published the last of nine Census 2021 topic summaries in January 2022 with widespread reach including events such as the ‘Let’s Count’ campaign in English and Welsh schools, over 5,100 media pieces (including in 28 new minority/specialist media outlets),​ 82 million social media impressions, and over 5.2 million views of the Census Maps product. The International Census Forum (ICF) in Brighton, brought together Census senior leaders from eight English-speaking National Statistical Institutes to discuss the successes and challenges of the Census.

In addition to the topic summaries we have provided innovative tools to allow users to explore the data themselves including the ‘create a custom dataset’ tool launched in March 2023. This tool allows users to select a population type, change the area type or coverage and add multiple variables either by searching or choosing from a list. The tool runs statistical disclosure rules automatically in the background and is designed to return as much data as possible, and even suggests how users can improve their query to return the maximum amount of data.

To support the 2023/24 recommendation on the future of the Census we have published new research and data on population and migration to demonstrate the use of administrative data-based ways of measuring migration and population that will help to build the most accurate picture of our society.

Inclusive – Building inclusivity into everything we do

Strategic objective 7 – Accessible outputs

The demand for statistics and data from the ONS continues to be high, along with public prominence and scrutiny. This is illustrated by an increased number of engagements with the media, data users and our stakeholders, as well as the extent of usage of our products through our website and beyond. This year we’ve been driving changes to make sure ONS information is embedded in search results and used in voice search, as well as having our products embedded by partner organisations to extend their reach and impact. To meet our commitment to deliver publications, communications and engagement activity that are accessible, inclusive and flexible to promote understanding our data, we have developed a range of innovative products, including our Statistically Speaking podcast and the bite-sized content on our Instagram channel. We have developed new interactive content and tools to drive citizen engagement with our statistics, help users see themselves in our data and improve accessibility. As part of our Census outputs, we have created interactive maps that have allowed millions of citizens to find out what people’s lives were like across England and Wales in March 2021, and we have published a flexible table builder that allows people to use the Census data to answer the questions that matter to them. Through our personal inflation calculator and our shopping prices comparison tool, we have enabled citizens to understand how the changes to inflation impact them. In readiness for COP27, we updated the Climate Change portal that brings together a range of disparate climate change data from multiple agencies and enables users to self-serve the insights they need. This technology was additionally used to produce a prototype Violence Against Women and Girls portal.

We continually look to expand our engagement to reach as wide a set of users as possible to increase the inclusivity of our statistics and fully reflect diverse needs. As part of this we have created the ONS Assembly to support regular dialogue on delivering inclusive data with charities and bodies representing the interests of underrepresented groups of the population. At a working level, we have established our Engagement Hub to enable us to work more closely with stakeholders, and to broaden our reach especially with local users and communities. Our stakeholder event in March to mark the midpoint of the UKSA strategy ‘Statistics for the public good’ brought together a range of views and feedback on our direction ahead. We also continue to support a series of theme-based forums that allow producers of statistics and a broad range of users to regularly collaborate on work plans and discuss continual improvement. Overall, this engagement helps ensure we bring the user and citizen voice into our decisions, so that our statistics fully reflect society and that they inform all groups of the population.

Strategic objective 8 – One ONS culture

Our pursuit of an inclusive, collaborative, engaged and healthy working environment resulted in ONS being recognised in the Civil Service Commission’s first Mark of Excellence Awards. The Civil Service Commission named the ONS as Highly Commended for the inclusion initiatives built into our recruitment process to improve accessibility to the Civil Service for under-represented communities. ONS also received a gold award from Mind for the second year. This recognised the support we gave to colleagues to manage their mental health and ensuring healthy working environments and practices.

Our success has also been recognised externally through a number of awards received including two Glassdoor awards: Top 50 Best Places to Work in 2023; and ONS being ranked the top employer in the UK for work-life balance for the second consecutive year.

The results of the 2022 People Survey show a continuation of the record high levels of staff engagement from 2021, with overall engagement levels well above the Civil Service average and higher than the Civil Service benchmark against six of the nine themes.

Sustainable – Building a sustainable and efficient business model

Strategic objective 3 – Future tools

Keeping pace with the ever-growing demand for faster, and more granular outputs means ensuring that our statistical, analytical and data management tools, technologies and policies are constantly updated to meet the changing requirements of the business and our users.

Moving Surveys Online continues to make progress moving ONS business surveys off paper to online collection, increasing ONS digital survey capability. As of March 2023, approximately 2.1 million of the 2.6 million questionnaires ONS dispatches annually are online, delivering a flexible and more efficient data collection approach for UK businesses. The agile development the Statistical Business Register continues and is on track for its end March 24 completion.

As part of the Ambitious, Radical, Inclusive Economic Statistics (ARIES) programme, the Prices Alternative Data Sources Project is progressing the use of new sources of alternative data such as web-scraping and scanner data, improving and modernising our headline measures of consumer price inflation. A key milestone included the delivery of an end-to-end system on a new cloud-based platform capable of processing billions of price points as part of the monthly publication round. The next phase will focus on research functionality to allow continuous improvement of these statistics.

In December 2022, we published an impact analysis of including new alternative data and methods in our headline consumer price statistics – this first edition is for rail fares and second-hand cars, expected to be included in headline measure in the future.

The ONS Data Science Campus celebrated its 5th birthday with successes to date including the completion of 87 data science projects, publishing some of the world’s first ever faster indicators, developing a COVID-19 community-level risk model, training more than 4,000 people in data science (against a target of 500 in the national data strategy) and working with and influencing multiple UK public sector organisations and other statistical agencies through partnerships and collaboration. In addition, the Campus held the Government Data Science Festival bringing together data scientists across government to share learning, consider what the future of data science in government will look like, and to build capability.

The Data Science Campus was awarded first place as part of a cross-government hackathon with Number 10 and the Department of Health and Social Care on optimising ambulance services, building a tool that can simulate trips from ambulance stations to the postcodes they service. They also provided daily rail network analysis to the National Situation Centre during strike disruption to help insight and understanding for Ministers.

On cost of living, ONS used a novel data source, 76,000 prices scraped weekly from supermarket websites and data science methods supported by the Data Science Campus to compile a new ‘Least Cost Index’ that captured changes in supermarket prices for lower price items.

Strategic objective 6 – Sustainable business model

In 2022/23, we completed the formal review into our corporate enabling functions – Building Ambitious Sustainable Enablers (BASE) – and delivered on its recommendations ensuring our supporting functions were set up to deliver in a sustainable way. The resulting new organisational model across six core functions has rationalised and streamlined key back-office structures, generating significant benefits including a contribution towards our efficiency targets.

As part of our Spending Review negotiations, we committed to deliver at least 10% or £21m of sustainable cost savings against our baseline resource expenditure by the final year of the SR (2024/25). In negotiation with HM Treasury, we have retained the ability to re-invest the savings generated, back into our core organisational priorities.

At the Autumn Statement November 2022 HM Treasury announced an Efficiency Savings Review whereby all government departments were asked to set out how they aimed to live within their current means in light of wider fiscal constraints. In response to this, we will amalgamate our original Spending Review commitments into a combined organisational Efficiency Savings Plan v2.0 for delivery throughout the remainder of the SR period. This new plan will enable us to achieve the original re-investment objectives set out as part of the Spending Review 2021 settlement; and allow us to meet our inevitable further cost increases through an additional targeted round of savings in 2023/24 and 2024/25.

Our Corporate Systems Improvement Programme (CSIP) is a multi-year programme but has delivered further incremental benefits and enhancements during 2022/23. These include the development of a pilot work force planning solution; implementation of a cloud-based data archiving solution; process reviews across our commercial, finance and human resources functions; and prototype solutions to feed a roadmap of priority projects aimed at more cost effective and enhanced corporate services.

ONS has now established office space in the Darlington Economic Campus (DEC), a new presence in Manchester, and re-located its London office as part of the Government Property Agency (GPA) strategy. Our Sustainable Offices project has reduced the office space we occupy in both our Newport HQ and Titchfield as well as continuing to fund lifecycle replacement and Net Zero projects to ensure they remain well maintained, safe, sustainable and as efficient as possible.


2022/23 was the third year of our five-year Strategy. We have continued to deliver and improve our core outputs and build the foundations for our future while responding to priority demands to inform key policy decisions across government. The success of Census 21 demonstrated our commitment to transforming how we collect data without compromising on quality, and significant progress in the delivery of the Integrated Data Programme has solidified the cross-Government drive to release the potential of shared data. We have secured commitment from across government to the transformation of our Economic and Public Policy statistics and analysis which enables us to progress at pace, and we have put in place the building blocks for an inclusive and sustainable business model.

Our ambitions over the year have required us to think collectively as ‘One ONS’. The front-line successes have only been possible through the hard work of those involved in the process from end to end – survey collection, data ingest and processing through our data architecture and technical infrastructure, analysis and dissemination. All supported by our back-office functions – our procurement, human resource, finance and planning capabilities.

Challenges and external impacts

This section highlights our response to some of the challenges and external factors we have faced in order to continue delivering against the radical, ambitious, inclusive and sustainable drivers set out in the UKSA strategy.

Our response to the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated our ability to function in a new way that incorporates a hybrid approach of home working and using a transformed office space adapted for collaborative working. This move to hybrid working has necessitated a review of how we use the office space to best effect, including rationalising open areas to ensure optimal energy usage.

We have responded to the shift in the economic context including the rising cost of inflation, cost of living challenge, and the need for Government efficiencies in various ways:

  • An extensive review of ONS delivery plans to identify efficiencies and savings and to ensure a sharp focus on our priorities, supported by a refreshed organisational prioritisation framework and flexible resourcing process;
  • Using our flexible Analytical Hub to pivot resource to provide support to both evidence-based policies and to the public. Some examples are provided in page 26 of the pdf [cost of living challenge under SO1];
  • We have continued to provide support to our staff through a new wellbeing hub that includes financial and mental health support, guidance and contacts.

Our Census data has helped government respond to the war in Ukraine, providing early data to help plan for the arrival of refugees. Through our flexible resourcing approach and collaborations with the Cabinet Office, Home Office and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, we launched two new surveys to chart the experience of Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK and the experiences and intentions of hosts to provide ongoing support including help settling into UK life, and access to private rented accommodation.

The accessibility of government data is pivotal to our ambition to deliver ever more accessible, timely, high-quality outputs and to make best use of government data. Access to these data sources continues to require strong engagement and relationships with other government departments, Devolved Administrations and wider users and producers of data. This year has seen these relationships embedded into the way we work across government with support from HM-Treasury and Cabinet Office. Despite this, challenges have remained in accessing data sources from other government departments for a variety of reasons which has impacted the extent of research we have been able to achieve on embedding administrative data into statistical products.

Our People Plan clearly sets out the importance of our staff to the delivery of the UKSA strategy and ONS business plan. The challenge to attract and retain critical skillsets continues to be a priority for ONS and others across government, with national labour market supply issues, in particular for the DDaT profession, but also analytical and project delivery disciplines. We have established more innovative flexible resourcing models and an approach to growing our own talent during the period to ensure we can continue to deliver our ambitions. However, we have encountered challenges in getting the right capabilities in the right numbers in 2022/23.

Associated with the above, the risk of industrial action has required careful monitoring to assess impact on delivery. Our business continuity plans have been pivotal in ensuring that industrial action has had limited impact on our operations and delivery of ambitions.

Our ongoing risks are described in the Governance Statement.

Looking ahead

Our 2023/24 Key Milestones can be found in our 2023/24 Strategic Business Plan. They continue to reflect our drive to deliver our highest priorities aligned to the Strategic Objectives and UKSA Strategy.

To ensure that our Strategy remains relevant, we are holding a mid-term Strategy Review involving key stakeholders and consultation across the statistical system. A summary of findings and the Review itself will be published later this summer. The outcome will help drive our future priorities and planning.

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Key performance indicators (KPIs)

We developed a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in 2020/21 that we have iterated during 2022/23 to ensure that we maintain their ongoing fitness for purpose and relevance to organisational activity as it evolves. There is an intention to review these KPIs in 2023/24 to ensure they remain reflective of our ambitions. The KPIs are disaggregated by Strategic Driver and complement the progress reporting against our strategic objectives (as set out in Section 2.5 above) through our internal governance. Our performance against the KPIs for 2022/23 is set out below.


Data Science
Campus research
>= 30%36% of projects are in the ‘Explore’ category as of March 2023n/a1
Secure Research
Service number of
5,2715,043 users as of 31 March 20235,270 users as of 31 March 20222
Secure Research
Service number of
582639 projects as of
31 March 2023
581 live projects as of
31 March 2022
Data acquisition
n/a35% were rated Green ‘On track’ and 27% were Complete in the quarter ending 31 March 2023n/a4
Media coveragen/a20,793 media mentions in the month ending 31 March 2023 and 10% of these featured an ONS spokespersonn/a5
1. The Data Science Campus has three categories for projects it is involved in: Explore, Embed, and Enable. This KPI measures how much of their time is spent on the ‘Explore’ category which covers experimental research projects aligned to the Radical pillar of the ONS strategy. The methodology for measuring this has changed since last year so no comparable data is available.
2. The goal is to increase the number of users Year on Year. The target is set at the figure as of 31 March 2022 plus one.
3. The goal is to increase the number of projects Year on Year. The target is set at the figure as of 31 March 2022 plus one.
4. This KPI was established to provide an indication of how we are performing against a key enabler for this strategic driver. No target has been set for this KPI currently although significant progress has been made. No comparison against last year is possible due to a change in methodology.
5. This figure shows the total mentions of ONS and its outputs in the media landscape. Percentage shows what proportion of these mentions featured a comment from an ONS spokesperson. There is no target set for media coverage. This measurement of this indicator has changed since last year so is not comparable to data from 2021-22.


Major errors06 major errors reported between April 2022 and March 20237 major errors reported between April 2021 and March 20226
escalated to the
OSR and National
04 statistical concerns that required escalation between April 2022 and March 20230 statistical concerns that required escalation between January 2022 and March 20227
Social Surveysn/a2,724 monthly responses for March 23 Labour Force Survey Wave 12,560 monthly responses for March 22 Labour Force Survey Wave 18
COVID19 Infection
Swabs within range 256,847 to 276,180

Bloods within range 102,739 to 110,472
228,076 monthly UK Swabs as of March 2023

95,873 monthly UK Bloods
as of March 2023
179,555 monthly UK Swabs as of March 2022

156,225 monthly UK Bloods
as of March 2022
6. The Major Errors indicator helps to measure the quality of our outputs. The errors reported represent less than one per cent of our total statistical releases in the period. For context these errors are defined as those which, for example, could affect an important aspect of a release, or lead a user to misinterpret the statistics. As set out in the Governance Statement we are improving our approach to managing quality risks and strengthening the assurance system that operates to manage them. All errors were swiftly corrected and communicated to users.
7. Statistical Concerns refers to ‘Reporting concerns under the code of practice’. The deputy Head of Profession will decide if a concern needs to be escalated to the Office for Statistics Regulation and the National Statistician. Comparable data is only available from January 2022.
8. Monthly responses are monitored to reflect the level of engagement with our key social surveys. We are yet to establish a target level for this KPI.
9. Measures the number of Monthly UK Swabs and Monthly UK Bloods under the COVID19 Infection Survey – these are counts of results, including void tests, in the preceding 28 day period. The target range over the life of the survey has varied and variation in the number of swabs and bloods collected compared with 2022 is expected. Swabs and bloods for March 2023 were slightly outside the target range and this was an expected part of the closing down of the survey across March 2023.


ONS staff
- Ethnicity
By 2025 – 11% of
ONS staff are from an ethnic minority
As of March 2023:
• 9.4% of ONS staff are from an ethnic minority
As of March 2022:
• 7.9% of ONS staff are from an ethnic minority
ONS staff
diversity - Sex
By 2025 - 50% of staff at each grade, and 50% of staff overall are femaleAs of March 2023:
• 56% of ONS staff are female
• At least 50% of staff at all grades, except for Grade 6 (49%) and SCS (42%), are female
As of March 2022:
• 57% of ONS staff are female
• At least 50% of staff at all grades, except for Grade 6 (43%) and SCS (41%), are female
Inclusive data commitmentsn/a76% of commitments are either Green ‘On Track’ or Completed as of 31 March 2023n/a12
10. Figures on ethnicity are calculated using data from declarations from ONS staff. The straight-line trend to our 2025 target gives us a target of 9.1% in March 2023 - 0.3 percentage points lower than the current figure.
11. Figures on sex are calculated using data from declarations from ONS staff.
12. This KPI shows the progress of ONS and the wider Government Statistical Service to deliver on key commitments to improve the inclusivity of the UK statistical system. No data is available for 2021-22 as the commitments had not been finalised at that point.


Achieve 7/7
Achieved 6/7 targets
We failed to achieve
the ‘International flights’
Achieved 6/7 targets
We failed to achieve the ‘Water usage’ target
ONS Staff Levelsn/aStaff increased by 245 FTE compared to 2021/22Staff increased by 315 FTE compared to 2020/2114
ONS Financial
Remain within key
control totals
All financial control
total targets met
All financial control
total targets met
13. Data detailed in this report cover the period April 2021 to March 2022. The seven targets are direct building emissions-tCO2e, paper purchased, water consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, waste produced, international flights and domestic flights.
14. Staff increases largely relate to the increase in activity associated with programs in our portfolio.
15. See Statement of Parliamentary Supply in Parliamentary Accountability Report.
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Resources and organisation

Financial management

We have complied with all HM Treasury expenditure control approvals processes, and managed the standard annual fiscal events within the required timescales. Moreover, we have successfully managed within our financial control totals as set by Parliament for 2022/23.

Spending Review 2021 (SR21) provided us with a multi-year settlement over the three financial years 2022-23 through to 2024-25. The settlement provides funding certainty and supports the ongoing delivery of our strategy through a continuation of baseline funding plus specific programme funding allocations. We have set ourselves a challenging efficiency delivery agenda for the SR21 period which includes a need for all of our business areas to absorb the impacts of inflation and deliver sustained cost savings associated with discrete efficiency driving projects. We will use the efficiencies delivered to resolve inherent operational cost pressures and to progress wider organisational priorities that were not funded through the SR21 settlement. We have delivered total operational cost savings of £11.4m during 2022-23 of which at least £7.5m are sustainable.

The Office for Statistics Regulation’s (OSR’s) budget forms part of the Authority’s wider accounts and whilst it is not disclosed separately in this report, defined parameters are applied in internal reporting.

Financial outcome

Total Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) for resource expenditure reduced from £448.9m in 2021/22 to 2022/23 £352.4m. This figure is net of income and includes ring-fenced resource expenditure (depreciation). The reduction is due to a combination of offsetting movements with noteworthy items including the CDCTP Programme with expenditure decreasing in line with the programme business case. These net resource expenditure reductions were partly offset with additional funding approved by HM Treasury for expenditure on IDSP and ARIES Programmes.

Taking the position gross of income receipts (resource and depreciation) the expenditure figures decreased from £902.1m in 2021/22 to £576.9m in 2022/23. These decreases relate to lower COVID-19 Infection Survey (CIS) costs following a move to CIS Digital, and lower CDCTP costs in line with the ramp down of the programme.

Our income has decreased from £453.2m in 2021/22 to £224.6m in 2022/23 primarily due to CIS (in line with the reduction of expenditure) income received from UKHSA, which is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care.

Capital expenditure during the year increased from £25.3m in 2021/22 to £35.7m in 2022/23. Our capital expenditure is made up of £24.4m investment in development of assets and in IFRS16 treatments, with £11.3m of expenditure classified as capital expenditure under the European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA10). The latter is not classified as capital expenditure under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The £10.4m increase in capital expenditure is mostly due to IFRS 16, where new leases starting in 2022/23 have been capitalised, and fit out costs related to the relocation of the London office.

Further information on our financial outturn is provided in the Financial Summary section and in our Accounts in chapter 4.

People capability

The People Plan accompanies and underpins the Authority’s strategy, frames the areas of strategic people focus and evolves with the changing context and progress made. In 2022, the Strategic Resourcing Framework was agreed, which sets out the process by which the Authority will Define the need, before moving to Attract, Develop and Deploy. With accelerated implementation towards the end of 2022/23, this approach is the driving force in ensuring we have the right people, with the right skills, in the right place to deliver our Strategy.

In 2022, the Authority launched Skills that Count; a document that highlights the organisational shift from learning being something you do, to skills being something that you develop over a lifetime. The Authority’s focus is therefore on not just ensuring that we have provision for the skills needed for today but that the organisation “horizon scans” to ensure we know what skills are needed for the future.

We continue to build and mature our development and talent management approach for the Government Analysis Function, upskilling analysts across government using a OneAnalysis approach. The talent approach was matured during 2022; and now includes a view of the SCS1 analysts across government. In addition, the Authority continues to support the government’s apprenticeship initiatives by identifying roles within the organisation that can be filled by an apprentice, and for AO to EO roles the Authority is taking an “apprentice first” approach.

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Corporate responsibility

Anti-corruption and anti-bribery measures

The Authority is committed to upholding high standards of honesty and integrity in all its activities and continues to work on its commitments regarding counter-fraud, bribery and corruption. All staff are required to act with honesty, integrity and to safeguard the public resources they are responsible for, with mandatory training (provided by Civil Service Learning) on counter fraud, bribery, and corruption. The Authority operates a zero-tolerance approach to fraud, with all cases of irregularity investigated and dealt with appropriately.

The Authority Counter Fraud Team maintains a Fraud, Bribery and Corruption policy available to all staff via the internal intranet. The policy establishes clear expectations in terms of roles and responsibilities and what processes they need to follow to report any concerns regarding fraud, bribery, and corruption. The team undertakes a fraud risk assessment, involving fraud workshops and training sessions, to identify where the Authority may be susceptible to fraud and to ensure proportionate controls are in place. The team also carry out an assessment against the Government Functional Standards – GovS 013: Counter Fraud. These assessments are reviewed at least annually and contribute to the counter fraud workplan and supports the identification of proactive fraud work led by the Counter Fraud Officer. Counter fraud reports are provided at least twice a year to the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee. The Counter Fraud Team has not identified any material fraud for the reporting period.

All senior leaders in the organisation – interpreted here as members of the Senior Civil Service – are required to sign a declaration of interests and confirm a statement on related parties. In addition, all members of the procurement profession who hold contractual delegation are also required to sign the declaration. that meeting.

An ongoing register is maintained of all hospitality and gifts offered to Authority staff. All staff are made aware of the civil service rules and the internal policy around acceptance of hospitality or gifts including the requirement to declare any offer. This register is periodically reviewed by the Authority’s Audit and Risk Assurance Committee to ensure adherence to policy; the last review took place in June 2023.

Other information in the public interest

Responding to members of the public

There have been zero complaints in 2022/23 (2021/22 zero) about the Authority by the Parliamentary Ombudsmen. All complaints have been resolved internally.

Whistleblowing arrangements

It is important that the Authority’s work environment offers a safe, inclusive and supportive place to work; where everyone feels comfortable to speak up if they experience or witness anything that concerns them at work. The Authority’s Whistleblowing and Raising a Concern policy provides assurance on the visibility, accessibility and understanding of the approach to ‘speaking up’. The Speak Up Framework enables navigation between the Resolution Policy for concerns related to inappropriate behaviour and unfair treatment, and the Whistleblowing policy for concerns related to breaches of the Civil Service Code, suspected illegal activity, or fraud. People & Business Services provide information on Speaking Up, Whistleblowing and the Civil Service Code as part of the new managers learning pathway.

Respect for human rights

UKSA fully complies with the Human Rights Act 1998.

The realisation of human rights correlates with the availability of sound official statistics. Statisticians play a critical role in supporting evidence- based policy and measuring civil, economic, political, and social rights. In accordance with internationally accepted standards, starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the dissemination of relevant information is essential to meet peoples’ right to information and delivering on related entitlements to trustworthy statistics. Upholding rights, such as the rights to privacy and to be registered as well as the rights of statisticians themselves is vital to ensure robustness and independence in official statistical systems.

The Authority recognises these challenges and has established a clear Statement of Principles to ensure that we:

  • exercise our statutory responsibilities in a fair, proportionate and accountable way, with due regard for principles of privacy and appropriate degrees of internal and external scrutiny;
  • work in a collaborative, transparent and fair manner with data suppliers, civil society, and the public, responding to any concerns or opportunities as they arise; and
  • reinforce our full accountability to the UK Parliament and the devolved legislatures in exercising our statutory responsibilities.

Researchers, statisticians and data scientists should demonstrate compliance with the UK Statistics Authority’s ethical principles through use of the Ethics Self-Assessment Tool and/or consultation with the National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee. The UK Statistics Authority’s Centre for Applied Data Ethics was established in February 2021 with the aim of being a world leader in the field of applied data ethics. The Centre has developed an ethics self-assessment tool that enables staff to quickly assess their use of data against the UKSA’s ethical principles and identify and mitigate ethical risk.

The Authority also recognises the ways in which internationally accepted and domestic legislation provide further effects to the human rights, protections, and freedoms guaranteed to its workforce. The Authority is committed to upholding the key human rights that intersect with the employment relationship through workplace policies and practices developed in collaboration with its workforce and official consultation channels to maintain the principles of dignity, fairness, respect, and equality. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of colleagues’ voluntarily-disclosed personal information, as per General Data Protection Regulation principles
  • ensuring colleagues are aware of their right to join one of our formally recognised unions
  • underpinning our work with the commitments outlined in our Inclusion and Diversity Plan that extend over the Authority’s remit as an employer and leader within the statistics profession within government
  • identifying and overcoming perceived biases and disadvantages through the completion of an Equality Impact Assessment where required.

As an employer, our inclusion and diversity plan, recruitment practices, and wider employment policies all fully comply with the Human Rights Act. Inclusion is a strategic priority for the Authority, and further information on our policies and practice in this space can be found in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion section.

Sustainable development

It is the policy of the UK Statistics Authority (including the Office for National Statistics, its Executive Office) to conduct its operations in a manner that reflects a commitment to the protection of the environment, embeds the principles and priorities of the Government’s sustainable development strategy and complies with environmental laws and regulations.

Our Sustainable Development Policy states this will be met by

  • achieving continual improvement in environmental performance;
  • considering the environmental impact of our operations and prevent pollution and reduce carbon emissions;
  • aiming to meet the targets (KPIs) established by the Greening Government Commitments;
  • meeting all environmental legislative requirements; and
  • complying with sustainable reporting requirements

Environmental performance

The Government’s Greening Commitments (GGC) have challenged us to reduce the environmental impact of our estate and operations. This section and table below presents our progress against these KPIs and targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon and waste, on a yearly basis with the goal of net zero by 2050. Please note the current GGC period is 2021 to 2025, with our baseline period set from 2017/2018.

There was a change to flight data requirements in 2022-23, from number of flights to kilometres travelled on international flights. To ensure accurate comparison, we have converted the baseline figure into kilometres to allow tracking through the period.

Summary for 2022/2023

- 2022-23
Whole estate
GHG emissions
Direct building emissions
Total tonnes
% Sent to landfill% Waste recycledWater
Total m3
Paper purchased
Reams A4 equivalent
Domestic flights
International flights
km travelled

Reduce our emissions

The Authority has been tasked with reducing its overall emissions by 38% and direct emissions by 43%, as part of the GGC commitments. We can confirm that during the period 2022/23, our overall emissions reduced by 62% and our direct building emissions reduced by 63%.

The GGC also challenges the Authority to reduce domestic flights by 30% against the new baseline figures from 2017/2018. The Authority has a travel policy which mandates that the cheapest method of transport be employed for any journey, which could encourage domestic air travel between the South East, North East and Scotland and Northern Ireland. During the Covid-19 pandemic most flights were not operating, resulting in much lower figures. Since flights have recommenced in mid-2021 there has been a slow increase in domestic flights, however these remain well within target. In 2022/23 our domestic flights were down 68% against baseline. GGC reporting records the number of kilometres travelled for international flights, which does show some increase. It should be noted that a significant proportion of this increase relates to a change in the practice of accounting for international flight mileage between the ONS and other government departments.

Improve our waste management

All information communication technology (ICT) equipment is disposed of via an established contract which helps ensure that all redundant ICT equipment is re-used or recycled responsibly.

The Authority has successfully reduced its overall waste by 55% against the baseline figures which target a reduction of 15%. The Authority has also reduced paper use by 47% which is slightly over the target set by GGC, however the Authority is working closely with social surveys to manage this.

Water use

In 2022/2023, water consumption has been reduced by 11% against the baseline figures, exceeding the target of an 8% reduction.

Sustainable procurement

The Authority’s standard Terms and Conditions requires all suppliers to comply with our Sustainable Development Policy, which includes, but is not limited to, the conservation of energy, water, wood, paper and other resources, a reduction in waste, the phasing out of the use of ozone depleting substances and the minimisation of the release of greenhouse gases, volatile organic compounds and other substances damaging to health and the environment.

Building on changes to procurement policy, the Authority has been able to fully embrace social value within a tender, placing it as a significant, mandated element of any evaluation. Key to the success of the implementation of social value is the ongoing work with our supply base to develop specifications and requirements that have sustainability at their heart.

The Authority extensively uses Public Sector Framework arrangements collaboratively managed by government organisations such as the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and the Government Digital Services’ (GDS). The CCS and GDS frameworks aim to encourage small and medium sized enterprises and local businesses to bid for work with support available to them if required. The Authority continues to support the engagement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across our contract base.

The requirements of the Government Buying Standards (GBS) are issued to the Commercial Services team on a quarterly basis via the Commercial Update, which is a comprehensive review of all Procurement news and legislation. The quarterly updates also provide information from across the Commercial Team such as data from the Cabinet Office approved Commercial Pipeline as these assist the Team in reviewing opportunities that may be of interest to smaller or local business, ensuring appropriate timetables and market engagement are utilised.

Food and catering

All contractors are required to adhere to our Sustainable Development Policy, but Covid Secure arrangements have impacted this with the re-introduction of packaging that had previously been eradicated from the service. We have worked with the catering providers to eradicate single use plastics, where possible as the controls in place during the pandemic are removed from the Authority offices.

Sustainable construction

The Authority’s refurbishment and construction works are designed and built with the objective of improving the performance of the estate, and in so doing contribute to achievement of Greening Government Commitments target. For example, this includes the installation of LED sensor light fittings as standard, low flow taps and carpets with recycled backing. All contractors are required to complete a sustainability questionnaire used as part of the tender process and are required to source materials in line with the GBS.

Our Evolving the Workplace programme has reused existing furniture where possible, and any surplus has been given to community organisations and charities with any residual items planned for sustainable recycling through specialist vendors.


The Authority complies with The Environment (Wales) Act 2016, Section 6 on Biodiversity. It does not have any responsibility for Sites of Special Scientific Interest but takes such action as it can, to promote, conserve and enhance biodiversity for example by specification of environmentally friendly measures in its grounds maintenance contract.

Climate change adaptation

The Authority’s Sustainable Development Action Plan considers the long-term implications of its operations in relation to climate change. This Action Plan is updated yearly and assesses any risks of climate change, how the estate may require necessary adaption, is robust in the face of changing weather, extreme events and sea level rises from climate change. Business Continuity uses scenario-based exercises to plan for events including any potential effects of extreme weather on our estate.

Sustainable governance and decision making

Our Sustainable Development Policy and Action Plan are embedded within our overall governance and decision making. Since 2017/18, when our Environmental Champions’ Group was initiated, many improvement projects have been identified, elevated and presented to senior management for approval.

Rural proofing

Our estate is not positioned in rural areas, nor do the estate’s operational policies affect rural areas.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond
National Statistician
UK Statistics Authority
07 July 2023
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