|Welcome, previous minutes and actions
|Meeting of 07.09.2023
Prof. David Hand
|Discussion with User –
Morgan Wild, Citizens Advice
|Public Understanding of Economic Statistics:
Communication and Engagement with the
|UK Statistics Authority’s Strategy and ONS
|Futureproofing the Code of Practice for
|Annual Review of Self Effectiveness and Impact
of the Committee
12:55 - 13:00
|Any Other Business
|Prof. David Hand
Next Meeting: Thursday 7 March 2024, Remote Meeting
- Professor David Hand (Chair)
- Professor Paul Allin
- Helen Boaden
- Robert Bumpstead
- Dame Diane Coyle
- Dr Sarah Cumbers
- Sir Ian Diamond
- Professor Jane Falkingham
- Edward Humpherson
- Sarah Moore
- Sir Bernard Silverman
- Laura Evans
- Tom Marsh
- Dame Kate Barker
- Professor Paul Boyle
- Professor Ann Phoenix
1. Minutes and matters arising
- Members were welcomed to the meeting. Apologies were received from Dame Kate Barker, Professor Paul Boyle and Professor Ann Phoenix.
- The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
- Professor Paul Allin requested an update on the Integrated Data Service (IDS). The National Statistician confirmed that the IDS programme was operating with an Amber status following Digital Economy Act accreditation. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) had extended the operation of the Secure Research Service (SRS) to ensure certain software packages remained available for researchers until they would be available via the IDS.
2. Discussion with User
- Morgan Wild, Head of Policy, Citizens Advice reflected on his experience as a user of official statistics. The following key points were made:
- Morgan Wild described the impact the cost of living crisis was having on those receiving assistance from Citizens Advice and members discussed whether the ONS was able to improve its household statistics to better reflect the reality of those poorest; for example, prioritising the production of the Household Cost Indices (HCI);
- the ONS had worked closely with its networks during the cost of living crisis to improve current, and build alternative, inflation statistics;
- members discussed the global decline in response rates and the consequential challenge this brings to producing more granular statistics. The benefits and associated challenges of mandating responses was discussed to improve response rates but the rising costs of surveys in a constrained financial environment was noted as the most significant challenge when the ONS was trying to balance a portfolio of surveys; and
- Sarah Moore and Morgan agreed to meet to further discuss collaboration between ONS and Citizens Advice.
3. Public Understanding of Economic Statistics [NSEUAC(23)08]
- Johnny Runge from King’s College London attended to discuss Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence’s (ESCoE) series of published research reports exploring public understanding of economic statistics.
- Members discussed the difficulties associated with communicating, often complex, statistical messages and concepts with the public which is multifaceted as a group, in itself. It was suggested that statistical producers utilise universities and journalism schools to help educate both communicators and the public. Optimising search engines would also be a key tool to improve accessibility and public understanding. Sarah Moore confirmed that ONS was already exploring this and Sarah Cumbers offered the RSS’ assistance.
- Ed Humpherson added that OSR was fully supportive of ESCoE’s work and was mainstreaming it into the communication and dissemination of statistics.
4. UK Statistic Authority Strategy and ONS Strategic Priorities [NSEUAC(23)09]
- Will Marks discussed the work underway to support the delivery of the UKSA strategy, Statistics for the Public Good and highlighted that the organisation would soon begin to consider the next strategy period.
- Members agreed that the United Nations (UN) Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics would need to guide any new UKSA strategic priorities.
- Members were invited to share their top three recommended priorities for the new UKSA strategy by correspondence which the Chair would collate.
- The Chair asked that a representative of the Analytical Priorities Board was invited to a future meeting to share how it monitors the progress and delivery of the plan and Secretariat agreed to take this forward.
5. Future Proofing the Code of Practice for Statistics [NSEUAC(23)10]
- Ed Humpherson introduced a paper that explained the background of the Code of Practice for Statistics. The call for evidence was due to close on 11 December 2023 and members were asked to provide their views on ways to ensure the Code remained relevant.
- Members discussed the three pillars (Trustworthiness, Quality and Value) and whether there was merit in updating these. Members also discussed the badging of official statistics and agreed that this should be more transparent and clearly indicate where statistics are not accredited.
6. Self-Effectiveness Review and Impact of the Committee [NSEUAC(23)11]
- Laura Evans provided a summary of the findings of the self-effectiveness review which assessed the Committee’s performance over the last year.
- Members discussed the findings and felt there was still work to be done to ensure stakeholders understood the role of the committee and its place in the organisation’s model for user engagement. A critical part of the Committee’s role was to utilise their networks to ensure stakeholders were informed and able to access and benefit from the Committee’s expertise.
- Members discussed the extent to which the UKSA promotes official statistics. Ian Diamond confirmed that the organisation regularly engages with media to share information in an accessible format but was always striving for continual improvement.
- Secretariat had taken on board comments to allow members a longer period to review papers and more face-to-face meetings were also planned for the upcoming year.
7. Any other business
- The next meeting was due to take place on 7 March 2024 and members welcomed a hybrid approach to this meeting, meeting in person in London where possible.
- Members were informed that the advert for new membership would go live within the next week and members were encouraged to reapply if they wished.