How we align with the UKSA Strategy

UKSA Mission

The UKSA’s mission:

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

Strategic Drivers

The core drivers that will support the ONS’s contribution to this mission are:


We will be radical in our drive for cross-cutting analysis that support Government, civil society and the public understand the key questions of the day*. To do so we will exploit radical approaches to data analysis, utilising leading-edge data science and methodological techniques, real-time data streams and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to generate powerful insights.

We will form inclusive partnerships across Government, academia and
civil society to ensure ongoing relevance to all our stakeholders, to harness the best expertise, and maintain our ability to pivot our response rapidly to new and
emerging priorities.

* analytical priorities set out in Annex C and may change over the planning period



We will deliver relevant and timely statistics at pace with a relentless drive for quality and inclusion that reflect the population, society, economy and environment we live in today*. We will drive forward improvements to data sharing across government (both legislative and policy), reducing friction and expediting access whilst ensuring our data principles are upheld.

We will deploy industry leading technology and tools to enhance our productivity and collaborative working, building a working environment that retains and attracts the best talent.

We will not be afraid to fail fast and pivot our approach.

* statistical priorities set out in Annex C and may change over the planning period



We will embed inclusivity in all our policies, practices, and outputs to ensure our statistics and analysis reflect the diversity of the economy and society in which we live. This means ensuring that:

  • The data we collect represents all sectors and groups of the economy;
  • Every member of society is reflected in our statistics, and the analysis and outputs we produce;
  • Our workforce and partnerships fully represent the society we live in;
  • Our outputs are fully accessible.



We will consider the sustainability of all our activities in relation to finance, people, technology, and environmental factors, and develop an efficient business model that “builds back better”, integrating lessons from the C-19 pandemic, and supporting the wellbeing of our workforce.

We will pursue a continuous improvement approach that will identify and deliver efficiencies that deliver more for less by simplifying, modernising and automating processes wherever possible.

We will align our resources to activities and programmes where we are uniquely placed to deliver, and that have the highest impact on our strategic priorities.


Through the activities described in this plan, the ONS will work with the statistical and analytical community to provide the evidence the UK needs to understand its evolving economic and social context and analyse key policy areas; and enhance the UK’s reputation for high quality, independent official statistics, which is critical for the credibility of the country.

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Strategic Objectives

A set of Strategic Objectives were developed during the FY20/21 business planning round to support delivery of the UKSA Strategy and focus ONS activities on priority areas. The Strategic Objectives were developed by a working group comprising members from across ONS and were reviewed ahead of the 2021/22 Planning Round. As a result, the 12 original Strategic Objectives have been consolidated to eight (see table below).

The Strategic Objectives each align and contribute to all four Strategic Drivers, with the strongest association shown in the table below.

New ref Owner Detail  Main Strategic Contribution
Deputy National Statistician for Population and Public PolicyWorking with existing and new partnerships to deliver an inclusive, engaging and timely analytical narrative on priority economic, social and environmental topics, focussing on the issues, needs and concerns of those that are disadvantaged in society, and including via the Covid-19 Infection Surveillance Programme.  Radical
Alison Pritchard In collaboration with the GSS, Government Analysis Function and wider government, deliver a ground breaking, safe, secure and trusted service for the Integrated Data Programme (IDP) that drives the integration of Government data; enables ONS to drive the provision of priority cross-cutting analysis for the public good; and facilitates the evaluation of policy effectiveness. Radical
Alison Pritchard To develop and future-proof the ONS's statistical, analytical and data management tools, technology, skills, capability, data governance and policy to meet the changing requirements of the GSS and Government Analysis Function, at pace and with innovation to the fore. Sustainable
4Jonathan Athow To improve the quality, coherence, accessibility and timeliness of our priority statistics and outputs, and set best practice for the development of UK statistical frameworks. Ambitious
Deputy National Statistician for Population and Public PolicyTo deliver a successful Census in March 2021, disseminate Census outputs from 2022, make a robust recommendation on the future of the Census in 2023 and develop a revised system of population and migration statistics. Ambitious
Nick Bateson To utilise resources (people, funding & infrastructure) effectively, efficiently and innovatively to help ONS deliver optimum contribution against UKSA strategy, including developing the ONS's corporate services systems and capability to support the organisation into the future. Sustainable
Owen Brace 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 drives continual improvement. Inclusive
Philippa Bonay To support ONS creating 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.Inclusive
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Strategic Programmes

To facilitate the delivery of the Strategy and the Strategic Business Plan, the ONS will deliver the five ‘Tier 1’ main change programmes below alongside its ongoing activities:

  • The Integrated Data Programme (subject to full business case approval) will deliver the capability, processes and technology to support the integration of Government data and deliver and disseminate analysis that cuts across organisational and societal boundaries.
  • The COVID-19 Response including the COVID-19 Infection Survey, and associated pandemic-related surveillance activities will continue to generate insight into the C-19 infection incidence, antibody prevalence and vaccine effectiveness in communities across the UK to inform government policy related to the pandemic. The programme will also incorporate the transition to a longer term strategic solution for UK public health monitoring.
  • The Census and Data Collection Transformation Programme will complete the collection and processing of census data, delivering high-quality outputs, provide a revised system of population and migration statistics, and transformation of the ONS’s data collection activities.
  • The Ambitious, Radical and Inclusive Economic Statistics Programme will deliver increased analysis, insight and data to inform the UK’s economic recovery and ambitious government agenda through provision of more granular, more timely data produced in an inclusive and sustainable way. Key areas of focus will include the Covid-19 pandemic, exit from the EU, Levelling Up, Inflation and the Labour Market.
  • The Corporate Systems Improvement Programme will modernise and streamline back-office processes, drive efficiencies, and enable staff to deliver quality work effectively.
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Accountability Framework Objectives

The 2021/22 Business Planning Round has resulted in circa 140 top level objectives, termed Accountability Framework Objectives (AFO), being identified, across all business areas. The AFOs have been developed by a cross organisational group, through a series of collaborative workshops.

Each AFO has been:

  • Assessed for strategic alignment and their contribution to one or more of the Strategic Objectives, with Strategic Objective owner approval;
  • Assessed for complexity and achievability; and
  • Prioritised in line with the ONS Priority Themes.
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How the plan fits together

The table below shows how the Strategic Drivers, the Strategic Objectives and Enablers, the ONS Accountability Framework, and associated and interlinked plans (i.e. technology) align and fit together.

The Strategic Objectives align to the Strategic Drivers set out in the UKSA Strategy and are owned by a nominated member of the ONS Senior Leadership Team. They are reviewed each year and are used to inform Directorate Accountability Framework Objectives (AFOs).

Each Directorate has a set of annual AFOs – supported by detailed Level 1 and 2 milestones – that deliver against the Strategic Objectives.

Delivery of the Strategic Business Plan will be either through business area activity or through the Strategic Enablers (Programmes).

Delivery across the business is supported by associated and interlinked plans for People, Technology, Data and Finances.

ONS Business Plan Diagrams