|Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings
Declarations of interest
|Meeting of 30 June 2022
|Report from the Authority Chair
Sir Robert Chote
|Report from the Chief Executive
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond
|Report from the Director-General for Regulation
|Report from Committee Chairs
• Regulation Committee
Prof. Anne Trefethen
|Post Census Recommendation
|Digital COVID-19 Infection Survey and Population Health Surveillance
|Field Data Collection
|Integrated Data Service
13.40 to 13.55
|Board Effectiveness Review
|Any Other Business
UK Statistics Authority
- Sir Robert Chote (Chair)
- Professor Sir John Aston
- Helen Boaden
- Professor Sir Ian Diamond
- Richard Dobbs
- Professor Jonathan Haskel
- Ed Humpherson
- Nora Nanayakkara
- Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter
- Professor Anne Trefethen
Also in attendance
- Nick Bateson
- Owen Brace
- Robert Bumpstead
- Fiona James (for item 11)
- Sally-Ann Jones (Secretariat)
- Dr Alex Lambert (for item 10)
- Alison Pritchard
- Emma Rourke (for items 8 and 9)
- Tina Thomas (for item 10)
- Becky Tinsley (for item 8)
- Sam Beckett
- Sian Jones (Deputy Chair)
- Apologies were received from Sam Beckett and Sian Jones.
2. Declarations of Interest
- There were no new declarations of interest.
3. Minutes and matters arising from previous meeting
- The minutes of the previous meeting held on 30 June 2022 were agreed.
4. Report from the Authority Chair
- Non-Executives had met prior to the Board meeting. They had discussed topics including the Non-executive Director recruitment process, the post Census recommendation paper scheduled for discussion at this meeting, and the Chair’s meeting on 26 July with Alex Chisolm, Chief Operating Officer for the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office.
- The Chair reported on his recent activities since the Board last met:
- Sir Robert had attended Regulation Committee on 7 July;
- on 15 July Sir Robert had met Sir Bernard Silverman to discuss the Methodological Assurance Review Panel;
- Sir Robert had spoken at the launch of the Office for Statistics Regulation third annual review of the State of the Statistics System on 18 July alongside Ed Humpherson;
- to mark the second anniversary of the launch of the strategy, Statistics for the Public Good, Sir Robert alongside Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Sam Beckett and Ed Humpherson had joined a remote all staff ‘Your Call’ session; and
- Sir Robert had visited Ofsted and met Amanda Spielman (Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Alex Jones (Director. Insights and Research) and Jason Bradbury (Chief Statistician).
- Sir Robert, Sir Ian and all members of the Authority Board noted thanks to Nick Bateson for all of his work as Director of Finance, Planning and Performance and wished him well in his new role as Chief Operating Office at The Health Foundation.
5. Report from the Chief Executive [SA(22)38]
- Sir Ian provided the Board with an overview of activity and issues since the last meeting, highlighting the following:
- the launch of the Integrated Data Service Initial Public Beta on 15 July;
- Civil Service 2025;
- the first release of the Census 2021 statistical outputs on 28 June had generated positive engagement with Local Authorities and users;
- the continued support by ONS and the International Steering Group, formed in May 2022 with Sir Ian as a member, for colleagues at National Records of Scotland on the Scotland Census 2022; and
- the Civil Service Commission had named the ONS as ‘highly commended’ for the inclusion initiatives built into ONS recruitment process on improving accessibility to the Civil Service for underrepresented communities as part of the Mark of Excellence Award.
6. Report from the Director General for Regulation [SA(22)39]
- Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity highlighting the publication and launch event of OSR’s third annual State of Statistics System report. The report commended the strong performance by the statistical system over the last year: continuing to delivery more timely and real time data; innovation and collaboration to share and link data; and greater use of automation. The report also highlighted areas for improvement.
- The Board heard that Mary Gregory had left the OSR team, having been appointed as Deputy Director of the ONS Data Science Campus following a secondment.
- Board members discussed the temporary suspension of the National Statistics status for the crime estimates produced from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, as requested by ONS and supported by OSR. It was noted that ONS had plans in place for the National Statistics badge to be reinstated for the year ending March 2023 release, following 12 months of consistent data collection. The temporary suspension of National Statistics status was a result of the suspension of in person interviews during the pandemic.
7. Report from the Chair of the Regulation Committee
- Professor Anne Trefethen provided an update on the Regulation Committee held on 7 July.
- The Committee had considered:
- the near final draft State of the Statistics System 2021/22 report;
- progress of the ongoing project to refresh National Statistics Designation;
- the progress by ONS on the transformation of population and migration statistics;
- OSR’s updated guidance for models, setting out how applying the principles of the Code of Practice for Statistics could support good practice in designing statistical models;
- the annual review of casework; and
- the annual review of effectiveness of the Committee.
- The Committee had also received a presentation from Ed Humpherson on a number of OSR scenarios for growth.
8. Post Census Recommendation [SA(22)40]
- Becky Tinsley and Emma Rourke introduced a paper which provided an update on progress towards the 2023 Recommendation on the future of the Census and population statistics in England and Wales.
- The Board heard that the transformation of population statistics would produce more frequent, timely and inclusive statistics on the population. The approach to the post Census recommendation on the future of the census and population statistics was underpinned by three core principles: methods should meet user needs; a robust data infrastructure; and the proposal should be acceptable to users.
- Board members discussed progress and highlighted the importance of the evidence base and the need to keep users updated as the work progressed.
- The Board would remain engaged as the work progressed with regular updates on the evidence gathered.
9. Digital COVID-19 Infection Survey and Surveillance Studies [SA(22)41]
- Emma Rourke introduced a paper which provided an update on the COVID-19 Infection Survey (CIS) Programme.
- The Board heard that the transition to CIS-Digital was progressing as planned with the launch of the Public Beta on 7 July. A range of options for the future of CIS and longer term national health surveillance were being explored with stakeholders including the UK Health Security Agency.
10. Field Data Collection [SA(22)42]
- Dr Alex lambert introduced a paper which summarised the impact of rising fuel costs on ONS’s data collection operation. The need to reduce the environmental impact of data collection operations, as defined within the ONS Survey Strategy, was also highlighted.
- The Board heard about the comprehensive set of actions being collaboratively taken forward at pace to address the current issues and mitigate the risks to operational data collection and survey transformation. It was noted that the strategic re-design of the field force would provide a more sustainable solution in the near future.
11. Data Assets [SA(22)43]
- Alison Pritchard and Fiona James introduced a paper which provided an update on priority data assets including those needed for ONS Programmes. It was noted that Mission three of the Digital and Data Strategy, sponsored by Sir Ian, promotes Better Data to Power Decision Making. This would promote work to make all ‘critical’ data assets available and in use across government through trusted platforms, such as the Integrated Data Service.
- The Board heard about engagement with departments including the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs regarding the delivery of key datasets. The data acquisition team had worked with the business areas to agree a prioritised list of datasets that support the key deliverables across the office for the major transformation programmes. Improvements had been made to the data acquisition process through automation and improved management information.
- The Board welcomed the update noting that a time series for data acquisition metrics would be helpful for Board members.
12. Integrated Data Service [SA(22)44]
- Alison Pritchard introduced a paper which provided an update on key elements of the Integrated Data Programme (IDP).
- Duncan Elliott gave a demonstration of the IDS Initial Public Beta, which had been launched as planned on 15 July.
- The Board noted thanks for an excellent presentation.
13. Board Effectiveness Review [SA(22)45]
- Sally Jones introduced a paper which covered the results of the Authority Board’s self-review of effectiveness highlighting the key issues raised and proposed improvements.
- The Board is invited to review its effectiveness on an annual basis to identify where it is performing well and where improvement might be made. The analysis highlighted improvements over the last year. The Board had considered strategic issues with papers focussing on different aspects of the delivery of the strategy, Statistics for the Public Good. The Chair continued to provide an open and supportive culture to allow an inclusive environment for discussion. With regard to the format of meetings the current approach of alternating between remote and in person meetings was working well.
14. Any other business
- Due to a fire alarm and evacuation in Drummond Gate during the course of the meeting Nora Nanayakkara chaired part of the meeting, with Sir Robert’s agreement.
- The next meeting would take place on 29 September in Belfast.
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 email@example.com