Members Present

  • Professor Anne Trefethen (Chair)
  • Helen Boaden
  • Sir Robert Chote
  • Richard Dobbs
  • Professor Jonathan Haskel
  • Ed Humpherson
  • Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter

Other Attendees

  • Emily Barrington (items 7 & 8, remote)
  • Emily Carless (item 6, remote)
  • Chris Davies (item 3, remote)
  • Hannah Jeffery (shadowing, remote)
  • Marie McGhee (item 4, remote)
  • Mark Pont
  • Siobhan Tuohy-Smith (remote)


  • Lauren Bradley
  • Sally-Ann Jones


  • Helen Miller-Bakewell
  • Gail Rankin

Declarations of Interest

  • None

1. Apologies, minutes and matters arising

  1. Members were welcomed to the meeting and apologies were received from Gail Rankin. The minutes of the meeting on 7 April were agreed, and actions were reviewed.

2. Update from the Director General for Regulation

  1. Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity since the last meeting, and updated members on the National Statistics Designation Review. An update on the review had been published outlining plans for the implementation of changes. It was agreed that an update would be provided to the Committee in correspondence, setting out the timeline and plan for implementation, ahead of the next meeting. Members noted need to build on user understanding and the pillars of the Code of Practice for Statistics (Code), Trustworthiness, Quality and Value (TQV).
  2. Members discussed ways in which the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) could be pre-emptive to identify areas of future focus, such as work around fuel costs and the use of statistics in the UK COVID-19 Inquiry
  3. Ed Humpherson informed members that Mary Gregory had taken up a permanent role as Deputy Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Data Science Campus following her secondment. The Chair, on behalf of the Committee, commended Mary Gregory for her excellent contributions to this Committee during her time in OSR, and wished her well in her new role.

3. Scrutiny of ONS Economic Classification Decisions and National Accounts

  1. Chris Davies introduced a paper which outlined a proposal for establishing a new OSR National Accounts scrutiny function, to replace the role previously filled by Eurostat and to support the work of the National Statistician’s Committee for Advice on Standards for Economic Statistics.
  2. Members discussed the proposal and the ways OSR could provide external assurance, which could include increased coverage on economic statistics in line with the Code. The challenge around the need for scarce resources in this area was acknowledged.
  3. The Committee agreed that OSR could progress discussions with the ONS. It was agreed that OSR would provide an update to the Committee based on members’ comments ahead of further discussions with the ONS.

4. Update on Regulatory Work Concerning Population and Migration Statistics

  1. Siobhan Tuohy-Smith and Marie McGhee introduced a paper which provided an update on the ONS’ current work streams for measuring the population. It was noted that a key focus was on the progress of the Scotland Census 2022 and the population statistics.
  2. It was noted that the Census 2021 results were different to the ONS’s earlier population projection for Coventry, which highlighted the challenges in estimating the population as reflected in OSR’s published findings.
  3. Members discussed the need to build on transparency and to speak to users.
  4. The Committee noted the paper and agreed that an update on progress would be provided to members in October.

5. Annual Review of Authority Casework 2021/22

  1. Ed Humpherson presented an overview of the initial findings of the Annual Review of Casework 2021/22. Members heard that casework volumes had remained steady, with focus shifting toward a wider range of issues than the pandemic.
  2. Members discussed the issue of unpublished statistics relating to public statements by Government, and supported OSR’s intelligent transparency campaign.
  3. The Committee agreed that the full draft report would be shared by correspondence in September, ahead of publication.

6. State of the Statistical System 2021/22 Report

  1. Emily Carless introduced the near final draft of OSR’s State of the Statistical System 2021/22 report. It was noted that while the team were celebrating well performing areas, there was a focus on areas requiring improvement, with case studies due for publication in August.
  2. During discussion members considered ways to build on impact and trustworthiness and noted the challenge of an increase in incorrect statistics being shared with users. Members also discussed ways to undertake further masterclasses and upskilling and noted that an infographic visualisation of the State of the Statistical System would be useful.
  3. Members agreed that the report would be published on 18 July.

7. Guidance for Models: Trustworthiness, Quality and Value

  1. Emily Barrington introduced a paper which provided an update on OSR’s guidance for models, outlining how applying the principles of the Code supported good practice in designing, developing, and using statistical models. Emily noted key developments to the guidance since an alpha version was published in October 2021.
  2. Members heard that the guidance had moved away from Code wording, and had incorporated TQV, and Lessons Learned from key workstreams. During discussion members noted the need to incorporate ethics and fairness into the guidance.
  3. Members commended the improvements made since October 2021.

8. Data Sharing and Linkage Update Report

  1. Emily Barrington updated members on OSR’s work on reviewing the extent and impact of data sharing and linkage happening in the UK Government, since OSR’s report in 2019. It was noted that the work enabled OSR to use its voice and connections more effectively to support data sharing and linkage, and to champion its wider value beyond Government, for the public good.
  2. Members noted the need to address what success looked like and to incorporate the voice of users. It was also noted that the Integrated Data Service was a key area of focus.
  3. Members endorsed the paper and were interested in the ongoing development of an in-house data fact checking tool.

9. Annual Review of Effectiveness

  1. Lauren Bradley presented the results of the Committee’s annual Self-Review of Effectiveness. Members were content with the feedback presented and highlighted the need to consider facilitating additional Committee meetings.

10. Horizon Scanning

  1. Ed Humpherson facilitated a discussion on Horizon Scanning. It was noted that OSR were undertaking compliance work on fuel poverty measures, and that relevant areas of interest would continue feeding into the Regulatory Dashboard.
  2. Members discussed key pieces of work that should report to the Committee, including an update on the work around COVID-19 and the Sex and Gender Systemic Review. Members were also interested in a discussion around productivity.
  3. Members agreed that the ways in which the system responded to new demands would feed into the State of the Statistical System report.

11. Any Other Business

  1. A paper below the line outlining three draft assessment reports, sought the Committee’s permission to publish assessment reports on Key Stage 4 Statistics for England, Police Officer Uplift Statistics, and Statistics on Funded Occupational Pension Schemes. The Committee agreed to publish.
  2. The Committee would meet next on Thursday 13 October at 13:00.