Time Item Details
11:00 -11:10
10 mins
Welcome, previous minutes and actions Meeting of 07.12.2023
Prof. David Hand
11:10 -11:45
35 mins
Business Planning NSEUAC(24)01
Director Finance, Planning and Performance
11:45 -12:10
25 mins
Public Statistics NSEUAC(24)02
Paul Allin
12:10 -12:35
25 mins
Strength in Numbers - Delivering a Vision for
the Government Statistical Service: Progress Update
Emma Rourke
Jane Naylor
12:35 -12:55
20 mins
Artificial Intelligence in statistical production NSEUAC(24)04
Fiona James
12:55 -13:00
5 mins
Any other business Prof. David Hand

Next Meeting: Monday 3 June 2024, Remote Meeting

Members Present

  • Professor David Hand (Chair)
  • Eva Aizpurua
  • Professor Paul Allin
  • Dame Kate Barker
  • James Brooks
  • Robert Bumpstead
  • Dr Sarah Cumbers
  • Sir Ian Diamond
  • Edward Humpherson
  • Sarah Moore
  • Phyllis MacFarlane
  • Guy Nason

Additional Attendees

  • Andrew Banks (for item 5)
  • Fiona James (for item 3)
  • Jane Naylor (for item 4)
  • Emma Rourke (for item 4)
  • Director Finance, Planning and Performance (for item 2)


  • Laura Evans
  • Tom Marsh


  • Professor Paul Boyle
  • Helen Boaden

1. Minutes and matters arising

  1. Members were welcomed to the meeting. Apologies were received from Helen Boaden and Professor Paul Boyle. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
  2. Regarding action 17, the Chair requested that each member share one key priority with him via correspondence. Actions 16 and 18 were closed.

2. Business Planning [NSEUAC(24)01]

  1. The Director of Finance, Planning and Performance at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), detailed the organisation’s business planning approach for 2024/25 in the context of ONS’s budget decreasing by one per cent. ONS would continue to prioritise and protect the quality of outputs, guided by five priority outcomes which had been identified, underpinned by six priority output areas.
  2. Members provided the following steer:
    1. it would be helpful to detail which outputs listed in the paper were interlinked, being discontinued, reducing in frequency or the most resource intensive;
    2. ONS priorities would need to be aligned to wider Government Statistical
      Service (GSS) planning; and
    3. ONS should be strategic and systematic about the criteria used and explore items such as environmental accounts and national wellbeing as these were items that were increasingly gaining public interest.
  3. Guy Nason agreed to share a recent paper on time series modelling.
  4. Members were thanked for their feedback which would inform decisions and further stakeholder engagement.

3. Public Statistics [NSEUAC(24)02]

  1. Paul Allin and Sarah Cumbers introduced a paper which recommended that that UK Statistics Authority pivot towards more public statistics in updating and implementing the current strategy.
  2. Members supported the concept of public statistics and that official statistics would be a driver of public good, but not the only one. Members discussed the provision of data for multiple users and the need to identify and provide citizens with quality assurance on data.
  3. A refreshed Code of Practice was being produced which would be brought to the committee at a future date.
  4. Members were supportive of a pilot exercise to test the process.

4. Strength in Numbers – Delivery a Vision for the GSS [NSEUAC(24)03]

  1. Jane Naylor, Chief Statistician at the Department of Business and Trade and Emma Rourke, Deputy National Statistician at ONS, provided an update on the progress that had been made on a GSS vision and strategic delivery plan. The vision consisted of three pillars: capability, standards and transformation. Members were asked for their views on further engagement ahead of the planned sign off at the National Statistics Executive Group in June.
  2. Members were pleased to see the horizontal approach across government that would reduce duplication. The challenges within the current statistician model due to the decentralised nature of statisticians across government and the need for better management information to inform leadership was discussed.
  3. Members provided their comments and suggested a focus on new and emerging topics, utilising artificial intelligence (AI) and further thought was given to outward engagement.

5. AI in Statistical Production [NSEUAC(24)04]

  1. Fiona James, Director of Data, Growth and Operations and Andrew Banks, Data Science Campus at ONS provided an update on the development of ONS’ AI adoption plan and requested members’ views on best practice and how to engage users.
  2. ONS had established an Analysis Function AI Steering Group, chaired by Sir Ian Diamond and Dame Angela McLean. The group was set up to challenge, scrutinise and steer the development of cross cutting evidence and take a cohesive analytical approach.
  3. ONS had identified 20 high level opportunities to use AI and members were supportive of separating the use cases into three areas of activity: statistics production, internal processes and external communication. ONS was encouraged to spend time mapping out each stage of the production process to establish any hidden costs in quality assuring the data.
  4. Members advised a cautious approach when validating the trustworthiness of AI systems and that as AI tools could only discover visible data, often upfront work was required on data architecture.
  5. Members spoke about trust and ensuring the organisation was in control of its own data, while utilising existing languages rather than developing its own. It was important to explain to users how the tools were being used to maintain their trust and this was another area for further stakeholder and user engagement.
  6. Members encouraged ONS to engage with the Alan Turing Institute and Imperial College who would be able to provide assistance when testing the six planned pilot projects.

6. Any other business

  1. The next meeting was due to take place via MS Teams in June 2024.