5 mins
Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings
Declarations of interest
Meeting of 29 April 2021
10 mins
Report from the Authority ChairOral report
Sir David Norgrove
20 mins
Report from the Chief ExecutiveSA(21)28
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond
10 mins
Report from the Director-General for RegulationSA(21)29
Ed Humpherson
5 mins
Report from the Audit and Risk Assurance CommitteeOral report
Sian Jones
30 mins
Presentation: Levelling upSA(21)30
Hugh Stickland
Richard Prothero
10 mins
25 mins
Presentation: Truck and Shipping MovementsTom Smith
Arthur Turrell
5 mins
Integrated Data ProgrammeSA(21)31
Alison Pritchard
15 mins
User EngagementSA(21)32
Owen Brace
15 mins
COVID-19 Infection Survey and Surveillance StudiesSA(21)33
Iain Bell
Emma Rourke
15 mins
Business PlanSA(21)34
Nick Bateson
10 mins
Census and Data Collection Transformation ProgrammeSA(21)35
Iain Bell
Nicola Tyson-Payne
5 mins
Any Other Business


UK Statistics Authority

  • Sir David Norgrove (Chair)
  • Sian Jones (Deputy Chair)
  • Sam Beckett
  • Helen Boaden
  • Professor Sir Ian Diamond
  • Richard Dobbs
  • Professor David Hand
  • Professor Jonathan Haskel
  • Ed Humpherson
  • Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter
  • Professor Anne Trefethen

Also in attendance

  • Jonathan Athow
  • Nick Bateson
  • Iain Bell
  • Owen Brace
  • Lauren Bradley (Secretariat)
  • Sally-Ann Jones (Secretariat)
  • Alison Pritchard
  • Emma Rourke (for item 12)
  • Tom Smith (for item 9)
  • Arthur Turrell (for item 9)
  • Nicola Tyson-Payne (for item 14)


  • Nora Nanayakkara
  • Robert Bumpstead

1. Apologies

  1. Apologies were received from Nora Nanayakkara and Robert Bumpstead.

2. Declarations of interest

  1. There were no new declarations of interest.

3. Minutes and matters arising from previous meeting

  1. The minutes of the previous meeting held on 29 April were agreed.

4. Report from the Authority Chair

  1. Non-executive directors had met prior to the Board meeting. They had discussed the format of hybrid Board meetings.
  2. The Chair reported on his recent activity since the Board last met highlighting:
    1. Sir David and Ed Humpherson had met Sir Simon Stevens on 6 May regarding vaccination statistics, following the rapid review by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) of NHS England and Improvement statistics on COVID-19 vaccinations;
    2. Sir David had written to a number of West Midlands Members of Parliament, following the publication of the review by OSR of ONS population estimates and projections; and
    3. on 17 May Sir David had written to Sir Keir Starmer regarding his reference to crime statistics at Prime Minister’s Questions on 28 April and during the Commons debate on the Queen’s Speech on 11 May;
  3. Sir David noted thanks on behalf of the Board to Iain Bell, who was leaving the organisation at the end of June to take up the role of National Director of Knowledge and Research at Public Health Wales. As Director General for Population and Public Policy Iain Bell had led on the delivery of the Census 2021 and the COVID-19 Infection Survey.
  4. In the coming month Sir David would be attending a meeting of the Chairs of Independent Organisations, chaired by Lord Jonathan Evans, and a meeting with William Wragg (Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee). It was noted that the remote Programme of Activities for non-executive directors was ongoing, including sessions on the Integrated Data Programme, Sustainable Development Goals, the Data Science Campus and the Census.

5. Report from the Chief Executive [SA(21)28]

  1. Sir Ian provided the Board with an overview of activity and issues since the last meeting, highlighting the following:
    1. the findings of the review of enabling functions had been presented to staff on 12 May. The recommendations would focus on overall management and alignment of the organisation as part of the One ONS approach to the delivery of the strategy.
    2. the finance team were in discussion with HM Treasury on the Integrated Data Programme Full Business Case;
    3. the Census and Data Collection Transformation Programme included the preparation for the 2023 recommendation to Parliament, with a paper scheduled for the next Board meeting;
    4. the announcement by the Prime Minister of the independent, public inquiry into the government’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic starting in Spring 2022;
    5. Sir Ian had presented a keynote speech at the analysis in government launch event on 4 May;
    6. the ONS had received an award from the Royal Geographical Society for the 2021 Geography in Government awards; and the Florence Nightingale Award from the Royal Statistical Society for ONS’s work with Oxford University and health organisations on work relating to the pandemic.
  2. Board members discussed the review of enabling functions and noted the need to provide a high level of support for line managers and staff in taking forward the recommendations promptly.

6. Report from the Director General for Regulation [SA(21)29]

  1. Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity highlighting the publication of the Review of Income-based Poverty Statistics on 19 May. The review identified a number of strategic improvements including the need for more transparency and greater data linkage to enable the statistics to reach maximum potential.

7. Report from the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee

  1. Sian Jones reported on the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee which had met on 13 May.
  2. The Committee members had considered:
    1. the Authority’s current financial position;
    2. the progress of the External Audit;
    3. the delivery of the Internal Audit Programme 2020/21 with a number of Internal Audit Reviews with positive opinions; and
    4. the two areas of judgment for the year-end financial position;
  3. The Committee had noted the progress made in developing and embedding the risk enterprise framework.

8. Presentation: Levelling Up [SA(21)30]

  1. Hugh Stickland and Richard Protheroe gave a presentation on emerging thinking around levelling up, the process and governance around it, and the input by ONS.
  2. The Board heard about the work being led by ONS to join statistics and analysis across Public Policy Analysis, Economic Statistics, the Data Science Campus and Health and Pandemic Insights.
  3. The Board noted their thanks for an excellent presentation.

9. Presentation: Truck and Shipping Movements

  1. Tom Smith and Arthur Turrell gave a presentation on the work by the Data Science Campus on truck and shipping data as part of the work to produce faster indicators of economic activity, particularly for movement of goods.
  2. The Board noted their thanks for an excellent presentation.

10. Integrated Data Programme [SA(21)31]

  1. Alison Pritchard introduced a paper which provided an update on progress of the Integrated Data Programme (IDP) with regards to its commercial activity in relation to commercial cloud provision.
  2. The Board heard that the procurement of a cloud supplier was a key deliverable for the Integrated Data Programme platform workstream. Following discussions with Crown Commercial Services commercial activity had commenced with a cloud procurement team in place. It was noted that the procurement was a strategic procurement for Government.
  3. The Board noted the update and would remain engaged as the work progressed.

11. User Engagement [SA(21)32]

  1. Owen Brace introduced a paper which provided an update on the work to improve user engagement and build sustainable relationships. User engagement would be coordinated through a central hub to target engagement effectively, deliver an outreach programme and continuously monitor and measure impact.
  2. The Board heard about the successful user engagement models in the Census and Inclusive Data Taskforce, and plans to continually adapt the existing Statistics User Forum to represent a broader user base and provide best value to the statistics system.
  3. The Board noted the update and endorsed the approach with a further update scheduled in September.

12. COVID-19 Infection Survey and Surveillance Studies [SA(21)33]

  1. Iain Bell and Emma Rourke introduced a paper which an update on the COVID-19 Infection Survey (CIS) Programme.
  2. The survey continued to maintain good overall performance. The vaccine effectiveness monitoring was being scaled up to 150,000 per month. It was noted that the CIS team were preparing material to inform step four of the government’s roadmap in June.

13. Business Plan [SA(21)34]

  1. Nick Bateson introduced a paper which provided the final draft version of the 2021/22 Strategic Business Plan for review before finalisation and publication. The business plan was scheduled for publication early July.
  2. The Board heard that the development of the business plan was a refresh with no change in main strategic direction.
  3. Board members endorsed the refreshed business plan subject to comments to be provided in correspondence by Board members.

14. Census and Data Collection Transformation Programme [SA(21)35]

  1. Iain Bell and Nicola Tyson-Payne introduced a paper which provided a short update on progress as the Census journey moves from collection to processing and outputs and dissemination. It also provided an update on the wider transformation programme.
  2. Iain Bell reported that the Census field operation had finished on 17 May. All response targets had been exceeded. The Census Coverage Survey was complete. The response rate would be sufficient to support the estimation process. As planned, administrative data would be used to support the enumeration.
  3. The Board welcomed the update noting thanks to both Iain Bell and Nicola Tyson-Payne, (who was leaving the organisation at the end of July). The Chair noted that delivery of the Census 2021 had been a triumph for which the organisation owed them a debt of gratitude and huge thanks.

15. Any other business

  1. The Authority Board would meet next on 1 July 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