|Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings|
Declarations of interest
|Meeting of 28 April 2022|
|Report from the Authority Chair||Oral report|
Sir Robert Chote
|Report from the Chief Executive||SA(22)31|
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond
|Report from the Director-General for Regulation||SA(22)32|
|Report from Committee Chairs|
• Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
• Regulation Committee
Prof. Anne Trefethen
|Annual Report and Accounts 2021/22||SA(22)33|
|Policy Liaison Unit||SA(22)34|
|Integrated Data Service||SA(22)35|
|Public Confidence in Official Statistics||SA(22)37|
|Any Other Business|
UK Statistics Authority
- Sir Robert Chote (Chair)
- Sian Jones (Deputy Chair)
- Professor Sir John Aston
- Sam Beckett
- 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
- Esther Akleh-Amankwah (for item 11)
- Nick Bateson
- Owen Brace
- Robert Bumpstead
- Joe Moore (for item 11)
- Alison Pritchard
- Jacob Seamons (for item 11)
- There were no apologies received.
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 28 April 2022 were agreed.
4. Report from the Authority Chair
- Non-Executives had met prior to the Board meeting. They had discussed topics including planning for the Non-executive Director recruitment process, the 2025 Civil Service headcount exercise and the Integrated Data Service.
- The Chair reported on his activities since taking on the role as Authority Chair on 1 June:
- Sir Robert had visited ONS sites in Newport, Titchfield, London and Edinburgh;
- a range of introductory meetings had been held with colleagues across the organisation including teams from: Health, Population and Methods, Public Policy Analysis, Economic, Social and Environmental Statistics, People and Business Services, Data Governance, Legislation and Policy and the Office for Statistics Regulation;
- Sir Robert alongside Professor Sir Ian Diamond had attended the Government Statistical Service Heads of Profession meeting on 14 June: and
- Sir Robert had met Alistair McAlpine, Chief Statistician Scottish Government, Pete Whitehouse, National Records of Scotland (NRS) and Graeme Roy, Scottish Fiscal Commission.
- On behalf of the Board Sir Robert noted thanks to Sian Jones for her time as Interim Chair to the Authority from 1 April 2022 to 30 May 2022.
5. Report from the Chief Executive [SA(22)31]
- Sir Ian provided the Board with an overview of activity and issues since the last meeting, highlighting the following:
- the first release of the England and Wales Census 2021 had been published on 28 June providing population and household estimates for England and Wales at local authority level;
- publication of the ONS Business Plan following discussion by the Board;
- the support by ONS for colleagues at NRS on the Scotland Census 2022;
- the successful release of CIS-Digital Private Beta on 7 July as planned;
- publication of findings from the first wave of the Ukraine Humanitarian Response Insight Survey, and the launch of a second survey for those arriving since 20 April;
- progress on the programme of work on the cost of living including the publication of experimental statistics tracking the price of 30 lowest cost grocery items;
- the impact of the Over 50s Lifestyle Survey and the request by the Cabinet Office for ONS to run a second wave of the survey over the summer;
- the Civil Service 2025 submission regarding headcount, which would be submitted by close of play that day (30 June); and
- ONS had received a gold award from Mind for the second year in a row recognising the support provided to colleagues across the organisation to manage their mental health.
- Sir Ian informed the Board about changes to the Senior Leadership Team. Nick Bateson, Director of Finance, Planning and Performance would be leaving the organisation later in the year for a Chief Operating Officer role at The Health Foundation. Following a recruitment process for temporary cover for the role of Director General for Health Population and Methods Emma Rourke had been appointed.
6. Report from the Director General for Regulation [SA(22)32]
- Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity since the last meeting. He had attended: the Scottish Parliamentary Hearing COVID-19 Recovery Committee to discuss communication of COVID-19 public health information; and the European Conference on Quality in Official Statistics, with a presentation by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) team on the public good research programme.
- The Board heard that OSR, in accordance with the agreed policy, continued to receive requests from statistical producers for alternative release times, which were being assessed on a case by case basis.
7. Report from the Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
- Nora Nanayakkara provided an update on the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee which had met on 16 June.
- Committee members had considered the Annual Report and Accounts 2021/22 and recommended the National Statistician’s approval subject to resolution of a number of minor points by the Finance Team with external auditors.
- Nora Nanayakkara reported that based on the work of the Committee during the year and assurance work carried out by external and internal auditors, it was her opinion that the Authority’s governance and control framework was generally effective. The Committee had welcomed the Moderate audit opinion by the Head of Internal Audit for a second consecutive year. The Committee had highlighted the improvements in risk and governance, and the commitment by Sir Ian and the Senior Leadership Team to sustaining improvements in cross organisational delivery and risk management that had been made in the previous year.
- The Board noted thanks to the Chair and the Committee for their work during 2021/22 and endorsed the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee Annual Report 2021/22.
8. Report from the Chair of the Regulation Committee
- Professor Anne Trefethen provided an update on the Regulation Committee held on 7 April 2022.
- The Committee had considered:
- a presentation by ONS colleagues on the transformation of population statistics including the delivery timeline; and
- OSR’s assessment of the 2021 Censuses in England and Wales and Northern Ireland; and
- the impact of the Authority’s Intervention policy.
- The Committee had approved OSR’s Business Plan and programme of work 2022/23.
9. Annual Report and Accounts [SA(22)33]
- Nick Bateson introduced a paper which presented the final draft version of the Annual Report and Accounts 2021/22, and provided an overview of the Authority’s Annual Report and key audited financial results for the year.
- The Board had earlier heard that the Annual Report and Accounts had been approved by the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee at its meeting on 16 June, subject to the resolution of a small number of points. The National Statistician was scheduled to sign the report on 4 July.
- Board members discussed the Annual Report. It was noted that the change in the cost of intangible assets related to the transformation of legacy systems. The change in average working days lost related to the impact of the pandemic. The use of contingent labour across the organisation was underpinned by a rigorous process, which required approval by Sir Ian.
- The Board approved the Annual Report and Accounts 2021/22 ahead of laying before Parliament on 14 July.
10. Policy Liaison Unit [SA(22)34]
- Joe Moore, Esther Akleh-Amankwah and Jacob Seamons introduced a paper which provided an overview of the work of the ONS’s Policy Liaison Unit (PLU). The PLU had been established in 2020 to help support the response to COVID-19 with ONS data and analysis, and had since been expanded to a team of four.
- The Board heard how the PLU operated as the link between the ONS and central government to cover policy areas beyond COVID-19 and maximise the opportunities for ONS data and analysis. The PLU work with strategic teams across the Cabinet Office, No 10, and other departments such as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities. Over the last twelve months the PLU had helped mobilise ONS data and insights across a range of areas including most recently the UK Humanitarian Response Insight Survey and the Over 50s Lifestyle Survey.
- The Board welcomed the update and commended the team on their delivery. It was noted that the team was separate from policy conversations, its role was to understand the needs of policy makers and ensure decisions were informed by the latest and most relevant ONS evidence and analysis.
11. Integrated Data Service Programme [SA(22)35]
- Alison Pritchard introduced a paper which provided an update on key elements of the Integrated Data Programme.
- The Board heard about the 0 Gateway Review, which had been undertaken by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority between 20 and 23 June, had received an amber rating. Work was already underway to respond to the recommendations. It was noted that the recently launched Government’s Digital and Data Strategy identified the Integrated Data Service (IDS) as a core component of data sharing for better decision making and evaluation under Mission 3: to make all critical data assets available across government through trusted platforms such as the IDS, with Sir Ian as sponsor.
- Board members discussed the process of Digital Economy Act accreditation for the IDS, which would allow use of data for the public good.
- The Board would continue to remain engaged in the delivery of the IDS as the work progressed with the launch of the Initial Public Beta scheduled for 15 July.
12. Strategic Risks [SA(22)36]
- Nick Bateson introduced a paper which provided an update on the Authority Strategic Risk profile following discussions at the National Statistics Executive Committee (NSEG) on 17 May 2022 and the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee on 19 May 2022.
- The Board noted the update on the strategic risk profile and the proposed risk appetite for the overarching strategic risk on ‘Independence and Trustworthiness’.
13. Public Confidence in Official Statistics [SA(22)37]
- Robert Bumpstead and Romy Overton-Edwards introduced a paper which summarised the latest report on Public Confidence on Official Statistics (PCOS), commissioned by the Authority and published by NatCen in April.
- The Board heard the highlights of the survey. 89 per cent of respondents who gave a view trusted the Office for National Statistics and 96 per cent agreed that it was important for there to be a body such as the Authority to speak out against the misuse of statistics. Awareness of the ONS had significantly increased, as had the number of respondents who reported that they used ONS data.
14. Any other business
- The next meeting would take place on 28 July.
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