Members Present

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

Other Attendees

  • Elise Baseley (for items 6 and 7)
  • Mary Gregory
  • Maeve McMahon (for item 2)
  • Mark Pont
  • Isabel Ralphs
  • Gail Rankin
  • Iain Russell (for item 8)
  • Sean Whellams (for item 2)


  • Lauren Bradley
  • Sally-Ann Jones


  • None

Declarations of Interest

  • None

1. Apologies, minutes and matters arising

  1. Members were welcomed to the meeting. The minutes of the meeting on 11 February 2021 were agreed, and all actions were complete. The Committee heard that it was Professor David Hand’s final meeting. The Chair noted thanks on behalf of the Committee for Professor Hand’s significant and extensive contributions during his membership of the Committee.

2. Presentation: HM Revenue and Customs

  1. The Committee received a presentation from Sean Whellams and Maeve McMahon from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) following a quality review of HMRC’s official statistics in 2020, which was initiated by the department and undertaken by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR). Members heard about the positive outcome of the collaborative work on Real Time Information statistics with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the appetite to improve the quality of HMRC data and better understand the flow of data.
  2. Members discussed the importance of capturing key learnings from the experience and commended the collaborative and professional attitude across different statistical teams. The Committee also discussed the importance of departments working together to achieve a common goal. Members noted thanks for an excellent presentation.

3. Overview from the Director General for Regulation

  1. Ed Humpherson introduced his update, which focused in particular on Vaccination statistics; a review of release times; and the National Statistics (NS) Designation Review. Members also discussed user engagement.
  2. The Committee discussed potential ways for producers to improve vaccination data, with a focus on socio-economic backgrounds and ethnic minorities.

4. Interventions Policy

  1. Mary Gregory presented an update on the draft Interventions Policy. Members approved the Interventions Policy ahead of submission to the Authority Board for final endorsement in April, ahead of publication.

5. 2021/22 Business Plan and Work Programme

  1. Mary Gregory presented an update on the five-year strategy for 2020 to 2025, using the Maturity Model framework, and near final drafts of the OSR Annual Business Plan and Rolling Regulatory Work Programme for the financial year 2021/2022.
  2. The Committee discussed the Maturity Model’s positioning on public trust and the importance of maintaining a user-friendly portal with ease of access for users to contact the relevant team or producer. It was agreed that radical would be mentioned, with a link to statistical tools.
  3. The Committee approved the Business Plan and Work Programme proposals.

6. Review of Population Projections

  1. Elise Baseley presented a draft letter and report covering the findings of the review of population estimates and projections produced by the ONS. Members discussed the ways in which the Census taking place during a pandemic would affect population numbers for students and those with second homes.
  2. Members agreed minor changes to the report ahead of publication and discussed potential future housing implications.
  3. The Committee were content that the publication of the report would be after the election period, with clear communication around changes to the publication date.

7. Systemic Review: Poverty

  1. Elise Baseley presented a paper outlining a draft report of the systemic review of Income-based Poverty Statistics. Members were invited to comment on the draft report; the transparency findings; and the strategic recommendations.
  2. Members were supportive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Social Metrics Commission’s peer review of the report ahead of publication.
  3. Members suggested that the Low Pay Commission should be contacted in relation to poverty data.

8. Assessment: Productivity

  1. Mark Pont and Iain Russell introduced the final report for the ongoing assessment of ONS Productivity statistics. Members agreed the report would be published in early May.
  2. Members discussed that there was some confusion around ONS Productivity data and agreed that the report would be reviewed to ensure there was further clarity.

9. Any Other Business

  1. Three papers had been issued for comment by correspondence. Members had submitted written remarks in advance of the meeting and had no further comments on these papers.
  2. Members confirmed the National Statistics Designation for Prescription Costs Analysis.
  3. There was no further business. The Committee would meet next on Thursday 15 July at 13:00.