|Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings
Declarations of interest
|Meeting of 24 February 2022
|Report from the Authority Chair
Sir David Norgrove
|Report from the Chief Executive
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond
|Report from the Director-General for Regulation
| Report from Committee Chairs
• Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
|ONS Business Plan
|OSR Business Plan
|Integrated Data Service
|COVID-19 Infection Survey and Surveillance Studies
|Any Other Business
UK Statistics Authority
- Sir David Norgrove (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
- Nick Bateson
- Owen Brace
- Robert Bumpstead
- Mary Gregory (for item 9)
- Fiona James (for item 10)
- Alison Pritchard
- Ruth Studley (for item 11)
- Apologies were received from Owen Brace and Alison Pritchard.
2. Declarations of Interest
- There were no new declarations of interest
3. Minutes and matters arising from previous meeting
- The minutes of the meeting on 24 February 2022 were agreed.
4. Report from the Authority Chair
- Non-Executives had met prior to the Board meeting. They had discussed the recruitment process of the Authority Chair. The pre appointment hearing for the preferred candidate had been held by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) on 29 March.
- The Chair reported on his recent activities since the Board last met:
- Sir David had spoken at the launch of the Office for Statistics Regulation’s Systemic Review of the importance of including children and young people in official statistics, on 3 March;
- Sir David had been interviewed at that Institute for Government on 7 March;
- the discussion by Regulation Committee on 7 March regarding the Authority Intervention policy;
- on 9 March and 30 March respectively Sir David had presented a farewell question and answer session to ONS staff and to OSR staff; and
- Sir David and Ed Humpherson had spoken to a meeting of the Civil Service Board about transparency in government on 23 March.
- Sir David informed the meeting that the terms of appointment for Non-Executive Directors, Professor Anne Trefethen and Helen Boaden, had been extended by the Cabinet Office to the end of 2022. The Deputy Chair, Sian Jones, would be interim Chair of the UK Statistics Authority until the appointment process for the next Authority Chair was complete.
5. Report from the Chief Executive [SA(22)15]
- Professor Sir Ian Diamond provided the Board with an overview of activity and issues since the last meeting, highlighting the following:
- Sir Ian had delivered a data masterclass to members of PACAC and Ministers in early March;
- progress of the statistical processing of census data with work ongoing with Local Authorities as part of the quality assurance process;
- Sir Ian had attended a cross government meeting regarding the production and coherence of data across the UK, which linked to the work by ONS on sub-national data;
- the publication of three articles on the results of the Over 50s Lifestyle Survey;
- Sir Ian had attended a cross government meeting regarding efficiencies across all departments underpinned by clear monitoring and evaluation strategies; and
- approval had been received from the Cabinet Office on the ONS approach to the recruitment of digital and data capability resources.
- Hugh Stickland joined the meeting to update the Board alongside Sir Ian on the work across the organisation to coordinate and deliver data and analysis following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including a bespoke survey: UK Humanitarian Response Insight Survey.
6. Report from the Director General for regulation [SA(22)16]
- Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity highlighting OSR’s Systemic Review: Visibility, Vulnerability and Voice: the importance of including children and young people in official statistics, which had been published on 3 March. The aim of the review was to add to the evidence base of the strengths and weaknesses of the current official statistics on children and young people and provide a framework for statistics producers to make improvements.
- Ed Humpherson had attended: the Science and Technology Committee on 2 March regarding the importance of statistical information throughout the coronavirus pandemic; and the Authority Audit and Risk Assurance Committee on 17 March reporting on OSR activities over the last year.
- The Board heard that the consultation paper on OSR’s release times review had been published on 24 March with changes to the Code of Practice scheduled on 5 May 2022. A team had been set up to prepare for emerging issues in relation to the Ukraine invasion and the need for data.
7. Report from the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
- Nora Nanayakkara reported on the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee which had met on 17 March 2022.
- The Committee had considered:
- the financial position of the organisation, expenditure at year end and the pace of delivery of the transformation programmes;
- progress implementing the risk and assurance framework, commending the work of the Risk and Assurance Team; and
- progress made in addressing legacy transformation and the planned work to bring together key areas of focus including statistical production and quality and transformation.
- The Committee had endorsed the revised approach to security risk appetite with clear controls and governance in place.
8. ONS Business Plan [SA(22)17]
- Nick Bateson introduced a paper which provided the draft refreshed ONS Strategic Business Plan (SBP). The business plan was scheduled for publication in the next few months.
- The Board heard that the work on delivery of the business plan was already in progress. The draft plan would include a summary narrative at the start to clearly reflect the high level of ambition of the organisation in the continued delivery of the strategy, Statistics for the Public Good.
- Board members discussed the draft plan and highlighted the need to ensure it reflected the focus on delivery for the public good for all users. It was noted that the value of the Integrated Data Service could be further highlighted in the text.
9. OSR Business Plan [SA(22)18]
- Ed Humpherson and Mary Gregory introduced a paper which provided a draft of the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) Business Plan for 202/23. The draft plan focused on three high-level activities; projects which improve public understanding of matters of greatest public interest; promoting data sharing and linkage; and widening OSR’s reach and influence.
- Board members endorsed the areas of focus and priorities. It was noted that OSR could also focus on horizon scanning to further identify medium to long term issues.
10. Integrated Data Service [SA(22)19]
- Alison Pritchard and Fiona James introduced a paper which provided an update on key elements of the Integrated Data Service (IDS).
- The Board heard that the IDS would build on ONS expertise of handling data and managing trusted research environments. The service would enable data to be shared and linked; and it would provide evidence to inform policy decisions. The programme was on target for delivery of the initial Public Beta in Summer 2022. The IDS team continued to work collaboratively across government on data sourcing.
- Board members discussed progress and highlighted the need for ONS to continue demonstrate the value of the IDS for all users. The Board would remain engaged in the delivery of the IDS as work progressed.
11. COVID-19 Infection Survey and Surveillance Studies [SA(22)20]
- Ruth Studley introduced a paper which provided an update on the COVID-19 Infection Survey (CIS) programme. The commissioning of the CIS to March 2023 had been secured with a budget in place. Efficiencies had been agreed, including reductions to the sample size in order to remain within budget.
- The Board heard that the CIS team were focussed on the stabilisation of the CIS transition with robust plans in place. Board members welcomed the update and commended the CIS team on their delivery.
12. Media Strategy [SA(22)21]
- Owen Brace introduced a paper which set out how the ONS engaged the media to promote awareness and understanding of statistics and the work by ONS, and how it communicated directly to the public.
- The Board heard about the objectives for media engagement including the promotion of statistics and analysis. The central media team was responsible for all media activity across the organisation, including working with statisticians to act as spokespeople. A network of statisticians were trained on social media engagement to engage in dialogue on particular issues, and deal with misinformation. It was noted that the pandemic and the Census had brought a much wider user base to ONS outputs and had raised the profile of the organisation significantly.
- The Board noted the update.
13. Any other business
- Sian Jones, Sir Ian and all members of the Authority Board paid warm tribute to Sir David Norgrove at the conclusion of his term of office as Chair of the UK Statistics Authority. Sir David noted thanks to Sir Ian and the Executive Team for the quality of their open and honest papers for consideration by the Board. Sir David said his time as Chair had been a real pleasure.
- The next meeting would take place on Thursday 28 April 2022.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org