Members Present

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

Other Attendees

  • Elise Baseley (for item 4)
  • Caroline Jones (Item 7)
  • Helen Langton (Shadowing)
  • Ewan Partington (Shadowing)
  • Mark Pont
  • Gail Rankin
  • Mairi Spowage (Item 3)
  • Siobhan Tuohy-Smith (for item 4)


  • Lauren Bradley
  • Sally-Ann Jones


  • Mary Gregory

Declarations of Interest

  • None

1. Apologies, minutes and matters arising

  1. Members were welcomed to the meeting and apologies were received from Mary Gregory. The minutes of the meeting on 9 December were agreed.
  2. Members thanked Sir David Norgrove for his dedication to the work of the Committee during his time as Chair of the UK Statistics Authority.

2. Overview from the Director General for Regulation

  1. Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity since the last meeting, noting that a key focus was on the proposals for release times, scheduled for discussion later in the meeting.
  2. It was noted that OSR had held a successful conference with over 200 attendees on “Why Analytical Leadership Matters” on 3 February, with guest speakers including Tamara Finkelstein of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Professor Sir Ian Diamond.
  3. The Committee agreed the proposal to close the Loneliness systemic review.

3. Economics Presentation

  1. Mairi Spowage of the Fraser of Allender Institute joined the meeting to deliver a presentation on economic statistics.
  2. Members heard about statistics on regional performance, which linked to the work around levelling up; progress around economic statistics following the review led by Professor Sir Charles Bean; inconsistencies in economic statistics; difficulties in measuring trade and export statistics; and the need to develop tools to better define areas.
  3. The Committee welcomed the presentation and discussed options around productivity measures and classifications; the need for regional statistics; and the need to get the foundations right.

4. Population and Migration Statistics Update

  1. Elise Baseley and Siobhan Tuohy-Smith introduced a paper which provided an update on OSR’s regulatory work regarding the ONS’s ability to measure the population. It was noted that there had been good progress by the ONS since the last meeting, with a number of outputs published by the ONS in January.
  2. It was noted that there was a focus on ensuring the right approach was in place on migration for users and experts. Members discussed the need to consolidate migration data in a timely manner; and the need for wider data estimates on population and migration.
  3. The Committee agreed the publication of OSR’s Review of Migration Statistics in March. It was noted that Pete Benton had been invited to attend the April meeting to provide a presentation on the work by ONS on population statistics.

5. Annual Business Plan and Regulatory Program Proposals

  1. Ed Humpherson presented the draft annual business plan and the proposed regulatory work program priorities. It was noted that there had been a shift in perspective, with greater focus on impact and the public good; data linkage; and achieving wider influence for OSR’s work and principles
  2. During discussion members noted the need for a focus on multi-source statistics; and the need to anticipate the issues that might become contentious in the coming year.
  3. Members approved the draft annual business plan and regulatory program proposals. It was noted that the final draft would be presented to the Committee in April.

6. Review of Release Times in the Code of Practice for Statistics

  1. Ed Humpherson introduced a paper which provided an update on the review of release times following a public consultation. It was noted that the consultation had received a range of responses.
  2. Members discussed the proposals and noted the need for flexibility around market sensitive release times, with a focus on the public good. It was also noted that staff wellbeing would also be considered.
  3. The Committee agreed the recommended approach by OSR, which would be considered by the Authority Board at its meeting on 24 February.

7. Official Information about the impact of the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

  1. Caroline Jones introduced a paper outlining a case study on ways statistical producers could do more to help the public find and understand official statistics, with an aim to minimise misinformation. It was noted that there had been issues around granularity and processes; and the public had found some datasets difficult to locate and understand.
  2. Members discussed the need to explore lessons learned in other nations; the need to build on producer skills; and members suggested looking at vaccination data as a broader programme.
  3. Members endorsed the paper and agreed that the ONS had been suitably responsive around the misuse of data related to death certificates.

8. Any Other Business

  1. Members agreed the timing for the publication of the Children and Young People systemic review in March 2022, following the resolution of stakeholder comments. Members also agreed that the Draft Assessment Report on Land Transaction Tax and Landfill Disposals Tax in Wales would be published in late February.
  2. The Committee would meet next on Thursday 07 April at 13:00.