5 mins
Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings
Declarations of interest
Meeting of 1 July 2021
10 mins
Report from the Authority Chair Oral report
Sir David Norgrove
20 mins
Report from the Chief Executive SA(21)42
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond
10 mins
Report from the Director-General for Regulation SA(21)43
Ed Humpherson
10 mins
Report from the Regulation Committee Chair Oral report
Prof. Anne Trefethen
15 mins
Integrated Data Programme SA(21)44
Alison Pritchard
10 mins
25 mins
Inclusive Data Taskforce SA(21)45
Jonathan Athow
Dawn Snape

15 mins
COVID-19 Infection Survey and Surveillance Studies SA(21)46
Emma Rourke
15 mins
Standards in the Government Statistical Service SA(21)47
Will Laffan
15 mins
Review of the 09.30 Release Times SA(21)48
Penny Babb
Ed Humpherson
15 mins
Spending Review 2021 SA(21)49
Nick Bateson
10 mins
Any Other Business


UK Statistics Authority

  • Sir David Norgrove (Chair)
  • Sian Jones (Deputy Chair)
  • Professor Sir John Aston
  • Sam Beckett
  • Helen Boaden
  • Robert Bumpstead
  • Professor Sir Ian Diamond
  • Richard Dobbs
  • Ed Humpherson
  • Nora Nanayakkara
  • Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter
  • Professor Anne Trefethen

Also in attendance

  • Jonathan Athow
  • Penny Babb (for item 12)
  • Nick Bateson
  • Owen Brace
  • Sally-Ann Jones (Secretariat)
  • Will Laffan (for item 11)
  • Debra Prestwood (for item 9)
  • Alison Pritchard
  • Emma Rourke (for item 10)
  • Dawn Snape (for item 9)


  • Professor Jonathan Haskel

1. Apologies

  1. Apologies were received from Professor Jonathan Haskel.

2. Declarations of interest

  1. Richard Dobbs had noted a conflict of interest regarding the COVID-19 Infection Survey agenda item in advance of the meeting.

3. Minutes and matters arising from previous meeting

  1. The minutes of the previous meeting held on 1 July were agreed

4. Report from the Authority Chair

  1. Non-executive directors had met prior to the Board meeting. They had discussed the terms of reference for the forthcoming review by the Cabinet Office of the Authority.
  2. The Chair reported on his recent activity since the Board last met highlighting the events that had taken place to celebrate the one year anniversary of the strategy, Statistics for the Public Good, which had included Sir Patrick Vallance (Government Chief Scientific Adviser).

5. Report from the Chief Executive [SA(21)42]

  1. Sir Ian provided the Board with an overview of activity and issues since the last meeting highlighting the following:
    1. Sir Ian had attended a number of meetings with senior officials across government regarding data sharing, which linked to the Integrated Data Service (IDS), scheduled for discussion later in the meeting;
    2. Sir Ian had chaired a meeting of UK Research and Innovation which had also focussed on data sharing;
    3. the work on Census processing was progressing well with the acquisition of administrative data a key focus for the team in the coming months;
    4. the progress towards the 2023 recommendation regarding the future of the census; and
    5. the revised Concordat on Statistics between the Devolved Administrations, the Authority and the UK Government was due to be finalised, which committed to coherence of data across the four administrations.
  2. The Board heard about the Royal Statistical Society 2021 Excellence Awards with ONS colleagues part of a cross organisation team to receive the Florence Nightingale Award for Excellence in Healthcare Data Analytics. The work by ONS on COVID-19 Deaths by Ethnicity won the Campion Award for Excellence in Official Statistics.
  3. Board members welcomed the update. It was noted that the rollout of the Data Masterclass for Senior Leaders had continued at pace with the Data Science Campus developing the programme. The Board heard that the principles for hybrid working had been agreed which would provide flexibility for ways of working for staff as social restrictions eased.

6. Report from the Director General for Regulation [SA(21)43]

  1. Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity noting that the recent Regulation Committee had discussed the breadth of work being undertaken by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) ranging from assessments, systemic reviews and casework to wider system wide pieces such as the National Statistics designation work, publishing times and lessons learned from the pandemic.
  2. The Board heard that OSR had published a report on the State of the Statistical System, and a short statement on transparency and the role of the Head of Profession. It was noted that with the emphasis on evaluation to assess programme delivery OSR would have a role in supporting the use of data in evaluation where the Code principles could apply.

7. Report from the Regulation Committee

  1. Professor Anne Trefethen reported on the Regulation Committee which had met on 15 July. Committee members had considered:
    1. a report on Lessons learned for health and social care statistics during the pandemic;
    2. an update on the National Statistics Designation review;
    3. the review of the 09.30 release time with a recommendation to consult on changing the Code of Practice (CoP) around release times;
    4. the draft assessment report of statistics from the Annual Business Survey; and
    5. the ongoing review of the assessment of Census 2021; and
    6. the annual review of casework.
  2. The Committee had also discussed the annual review of effectiveness of the Committee.

8. Integrated Data Programme [SA(21)44]

  1. Alison Pritchard introduced a paper which provided an update on the key elements of the IDS. The Board heard about the collaboration with the Central Digital and Data Office to raise the profile of the programme; and the progress made towards the delivery of the Private Beta in September 2021. The infrastructure would provide the platform for data sharing for analysts across government and in the Devolved Administrations and externally accredited researchers.
  2. The Board welcomed the update and highlighted the importance of transparency and engagement with prospective users of the service. It was noted that the development of a Data Deal would improve the efficiency of data sharing with multiple departments based on a set of principles governing its use.
  3. The Board would remain engaged in the development of the IDS.

9. Presentation: Inclusive Data Taskforce [SA(21)45]

  1. Jonathan Athow and Dawn Snape gave a presentation on the work of the Inclusive Data Taskforce (IDTF). The National Statistician had requested the establishment of the independent taskforce to consider how to improve the inclusiveness of UK data and evidence. The report was scheduled for publication in September.
  2. The Board noted their thanks to Dame Moira Gibb as Chair of the IDTF and its members for their work.

10. COVID-19 Infection Survey and Surveillance Studies [SA(21)46]

  1. Emma Rourke introduced a paper which provided an update on the COVID-19 infection Survey (CIS) programme. The survey had maintained performance, with swab testing targets being met.
  2. The Board heard about the monitoring work on the effectiveness and efficacy of the vaccines, and preparations for the Spending Review 2021 (SR21) with the development of the outline strategic case.

11. Standards in the Government Statistical Service [SA(21)47]

  1. Will Laffan introduced a paper which covered the role and structure of the Government Statistical Service in relation to the National Statistician, with a focus on the support provided to uphold statistical standards and the CoP for Statistics.
  2. It was noted that the Head of Profession (HoP) is central to the statistical activity of their department. One principle of the CoP: Independent decision making and leadership is dedicated to the role of the HoP and notes that HoPs should have sole authority over a department’s releases of official statistics.
  3. Board members highlighted in discussion the importance of HoPs having the support and confidence to make independent judgements. It was noted that HoPs value their relationship with the National Statistician and the ability to call on the National Statistician’s support when needed.

12. Review of the 09.30 Release Time [SA(21)48]

  1. Penny Babb introduced a paper which provided an update on the progress of the review of the release of official statistics at 9.30am with a recommendation to go out to consultation on changing the C oP for Statistics. During the pandemic the Director General for Regulation had granted exemptions for release times other than 9.30am.
  2. The Board agreed that the OSR could consult on changing the CoP regarding the timing of the release of official statistics, subject to the Regulation Committee agreeing the draft Consultation document.

13. Spending Review [SA(21)49]

  1. Nick Bateson provided an update on planning for the forthcoming SR21, which at the time of the meeting had not been formally commissioned by HM Treasury (HMT). The Finance Team had been in discussion with HMT for a number of months in the approach to SR21, including engagement on the IDP Full Business Case.
  2. The Board noted the update and supported the approach to SR21.

14. Any other business

  1. The Authority Board would meet next on 30 September 2021.

The papers that informed this board meeting are attached as a PDF document for transparency. If you would like an accessible version of the attached papers, please contact us at authority.enquiries@statistics.gov.uk