Corporate responsibility

Anti-corruption and anti-bribery measures

The Authority takes financial propriety very seriously. All senior leaders in the organisation – interpreted here as members of the Senior Civil Service – are required to sign a declaration of interests and confirm a statement on related parties. In addition, all members of the procurement profession who hold contractual delegation are also required to sign the declaration. The Commercial Assurance Group which makes recommendations on commercial agreements convenes once a month as part of the Authority’s internal governance model.

Part of the standard agenda is a requirement of all members present to declare any specific interests in relation to any of the items for discussion at that meeting.

An ongoing register is maintained of all hospitality and gifts offered to Authority staff. All staff are aware of the civil service rules and the internal policy around acceptance of hospitality or gifts including the requirement to declare any offer. This register is periodically reviewed by the Authority Audit and Risk Assurance Committee to ensure adherence to policy. The last review took place in June 2021.

The Authority Counter Fraud Team maintains a Fraud, Bribery and Corruption policy which is made available to all staff via the internal intranet. The counter-fraud team has not identified any material fraud for the period.

Other information in the public interest

There have been zero complaints in 2020/21 (2019/20 zero) that have been escalated to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen. All complaints have been resolved internally.

Making sure the Authority’s staff feel able to come forward with concerns is important in ensuring effective governance and management across the Authority.

The Authority’s Whistleblowing and Raising a Concern Policy encourages employees to raise concerns about wrongdoing, advises on the protection afforded to whistle blowers, and provides reassurance that concerns will be investigated responsibly and professionally. The Authority has also trained Nominated Officers in place who can be approached in relation to concerns. The policy and supporting guidance are accessible on the Authority’s intranet.

The Authority fully complies with the Human Rights Act 1998.

The realisation of human rights correlates with the availability of sound official statistics. Statisticians play a critical role in supporting evidence- based policy and measuring civil, economic, political and social rights. In accordance with internationally accepted standards, starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the dissemination of relevant information is essential to meet peoples’ right to information and delivering on related entitlements to trustworthy statistics. Upholding rights, such as the rights to privacy and to be registered as well as the rights of statisticians themselves is vital to ensure robustness and independence in official statistical systems.

The Authority recognises these challenges and has established a clear Statement of Principles to ensure that we:

  • exercise our statutory responsibilities in a fair, proportionate and accountable way, with due regard for principles of privacy and appropriate degrees of internal and external scrutiny
  • work in a collaborative, transparent and fair manner with data suppliers, civil society and the general public, responding to any concerns or opportunities as they arise
  • reinforce our full accountability to the UK Parliament and the devolved legislatures in exercising our statutory responsibilities

It is the policy of the UK Statistics Authority (including the Office for National Statistics, its Executive Office) to conduct its operations in a manner that reflects a commitment to the protection of the environment, embeds the principles and priorities of the Government’s sustainable development strategy and complies with environmental laws and regulations.

Our Sustainable Development Policy states this will be met by:

  • achieving continual improvement in environmental performance
  • considering the environmental impact of our operations and prevent pollution and reduce carbon emissions
  • aiming to meet the targets (KPIs) established by the Greening Government Commitments
  • meeting all environmental legislative requirements
  • complying with sustainable reporting requirements

The Government’s Greening Commitments (GGC) have challenged us to reduce the environmental impact of our estate and operations. This section presents progress against KPIs and targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon and waste, on a yearly basis. It is acknowledged the ONS estate has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in many areas, but in terms of carbon reduction it has resulted in an additional performance of 31% compared to last year’s figures. Comparing figures against the 2009/2010 baseline, the overall result is a 87% reduction in carbon for the year.


Table 4

Carbon (tonnes carbon dioxide)9,9524,97650%4,878*4,3614,0721,250
Domestic business flights (km flown ,000)57339030%*708*71886813
Waste (tonnes)657*43813%359*306319101
Waste going to landfill sites (%)19%10%53%4%3.3%2.2%1.6%
Paper A4 reams equivalent57,10928,55450%34,860*28,93027,11522,425
Water consumption (cubic metres)18,52612,92330%15,03716,72417,6149,022
Energy expenditure (£’000)897889875621
Water expenditure (£’000)77.6857439

*Figures have been revised from those previously published. This is due to numbers being estimated in the 2017/18 Annual Report and the methodology used in estimating those figures undergoing improvements.

Reduce our emissions

The Authority has been tasked with reducing the total carbon production by 50% from the 2009/10 baseline position. Overall, the Authority had reduced Carbon emissions by 59% during 2019/20 and reduced it 87% by 2020/21, mindful that a proportion of this figure was due to the impact of COVID-19 on estate operations.

The Greening Government Commitments (GGC) also challenges the Authority to reduce domestic flights by 30% by 2020/21. The Authority has a travel policy which mandates that the cheapest method of transport be employed for any journey, which could encourage domestic air travel between the South East, North East and Scotland and Northern Ireland.During 2019/20 an intervention project has been put in place to mitigate domestic flight use, however during 2020/21 the effect of COVID-19 meant most flights were not operating, resulting in an overall figure of 13,000 km by year end. It is noted that during 2021/22 a travel and subsistence policy review will be undertaken in light of the GGC targets.

Note: For 2021/22 onwards the GGC criteria and targets will be re-defined, and subsequently re-baselined against the 2017/18 period. This means that the information in the table above will not be comparable from 2021/22 onwards.

Improve our waste management

All information communication technology (ICT) equipment is disposed of via an established contract which helps ensure that all redundant ICT equipment is re-used or recycled responsibly.

The Authority has successfully reduced waste by 84% from the 2009/10 levels and tasked with reducing the amount of waste going to landfill to less than 10%, which currently stands at 1.6%.

The Authority has also reduced paper use by 61% compared to the 2009/10 baseline.

Water use

In 2020/21, water consumption has been reduced by 51% based on 2009/10 baseline and as much as 49% between 2019/20 and 2020/21.

Sustainable procurement

The Authority’s standard Terms and Conditions requires all suppliers to comply with our Sustainable Development Policy, which includes, but is not limited to, the conservation of energy, water, wood, paper and other resources, a reduction in waste, the phasing out of the use of ozone depleting substances and the minimisation of the release of greenhouse gases, volatile organic compounds and other substances damaging to health and the environment.

The Authority works with our supplier base to support this policy and to develop specifications and requirements that have sustainability at their heart. This includes, in the past year, the safe removal and disposal of IT equipment and the re-use of a number of the Authority’s mobile devices with a supplier to support the capture of survey information.

The Authority extensively uses Public Sector Framework arrangements collaboratively managed by Government Organisations such as the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and the Government Digital Services’ (GDS). The CCS and GDS Frameworks aim to encourage small and medium sized enterprises and local businesses to bid for work with support available to them if required. The Authority continues to support the engagement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across our contract base.

The requirements of the Government Buying Standards are issued to the Commercial Services team on a quarterly basis via the Commercial Update, which is a comprehensive review of all Procurement news and legislation. The quarterly updates also provide information from across the Commercial Team such as data from the Cabinet Office approved Commercial Pipeline as these assist the Team in reviewing opportunities that may be of interest to smaller or local business ensuring appropriate timetables and market engagement are utilised.

Food and catering

The provision of food and catering to colleagues and occupiers of the Authority’s estate has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

All catering services were stopped at the same time as all colleagues were asked to work from home. All catering providers staff were furloughed when the option became available and other employment opportunities sought to minimise the number of staff on full or partial furlough.

Our catering supplier has had to make five members of staff redundant as a result of the pandemic situation, but this was on a voluntary basis. The Authority was liable for all costs associated with this exercise.

At year end, a café providing basic refreshments to colleagues working at the Authority’s offices is operational at both Titchfield and Newport. The Authority is now paying a subsidy to the catering supplier to provide this service and this is under regular review.

All contractors are required to adhere to our Sustainable Development Policy. During 2020/21 the Authority has continued to work with our supplier and their supply chain to remove consumer single use plastics (SUP), committing to a staged project with complete removal by 2021. Items removed include single use cups, plastic cutlery, single use sachets, containers and bottles across the estate’s outlets. The pandemic has significantly reduced the catering provision across the Authority’s Estate, but where additional safety measures are required in the café’s that are operational, some SUP has filtered back into the service, but in very low quantities. The Authority will work with the catering providers to eradicate SUPs where possible during 2021/22, or when the pandemic is over and colleagues return to the offices.

Sustainable construction

The Authority’s refurbishment and construction works are designed and built with the objective of improving the performance of the estate, and in so doing contribute to achievement of Greening Government Commitments target. For example, the installation of LED light fittings as standard, low flow taps and grey water harvesting. All contractors are required to complete a sustainability questionnaire used as part of the tender process and are required to source materials in line with the GBS.


The Authority complies with The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 Section 6 on Biodiversity. It does not have any responsibility for Sites of Special Scientific Interest but takes such action as it can to promote, conserve and enhance biodiversity for example by specification of environmentally friendly measures of control in its Grounds Maintenance contract. Project work is currently underway to increase our biodiversity credentials through the installation of beehives at both Newport and Titchfield offices, along with a wildflower rooftop garden at Newport to increase local pollination opportunity.

Climate change adaptation

The Authority’s Sustainable Development Action Plan considers the long-term implications of its operations in relation to Climate Change. This Action Plan is updated yearly and assesses any risks of climate change, how the estate may require necessary adaption, is robust in the face of changing weather, extreme events and sea level rises from climate change.

Sustainable governance and decision making

Our Sustainable Development Policy and Action Plan are embedded within our overall governance and decision making. Since 2017/18, when our Environmental Champions’ Group was initiated, many improvement projects been identified, elevated and presented to senior management for approval. An example of these projects are:

  • Removal of single use plastics across the estate, with a 98% success rate as at 31 Jan 20.
  • A staff engagement project for World Environment Day (5 June), to improve recycling and plastic reduction.
  • Installed and piloting electric vehicle charging points at Newport during 18/19, and Titchfield late 2019/20, now with 6 stations at our Newport site.
  • Operating against ISO14001 Environmental Management System, as an organisation.

Rural Proofing

Our estate is not positioned in rural areas, nor does the estate’s operational policies affect rural areas.

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