|Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings|
Declarations of interest
|Meeting of 28 October 2021|
|Report from the Authority Chair||Oral report|
Sir David Norgrove
|Report from the Chief Executive||SA(21)66|
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond
|Report from the Director-General for Regulation||SA(21)67|
|Report from Committee Chair|
• Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
|Spending Review 2021||SA(21)68|
|Climate Change Statistics Portal Presentation||Ian Townsend|
|Integrated Data Service||SA(21)69|
|COVID-19 Infection Survey and Surveillance Studies||SA(21)70|
|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
- Helen Fox (for item 9)
- Alison Pritchard
- Emma Rourke (for item 11)
- Ian Townsend (for item 9)
- There were no apologies.
2. Declarations of Interest
- 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
- The minutes of the meeting on 28 October 2021 were agreed.
4. Report from the Authority Chair
- Non-Executives had met prior to the Board meeting. They had discussed the ongoing recruitment for the Authority Chair.
- The Chair reported on his recent activities since the Board last met. On 28 October Sir David had spoken at a public event at University College London on ‘Covid and the Use and Abuse of Statistics’. On 17 November Sir David had attended the launch event of Better Statistics Community Interest Company (CIC). Speakers had included amongst others Richard Heys and Owen Brace (Office for National Statistics).
- Board members discussed the disclosure of statistics on transgender prisoners by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) before their official publication on 25 November.
5. Report from the Chief Executive [SA(21)66]
- Sir Ian provided the Board with an overview of activity and issues since the last meeting.
- Sir Ian noted thanks to Non-Executive Directors, Nora Nanayakkara and Professor Jonathan Haskel for their support with the recruitment processes for the Director General vacant posts for Economic Social and Environment Statistics, and Health, Population and Methods. The recruitment was near completion.
- The senior leadership team had undertaken an annual cyber security exercise, which had provided an opportunity for lessons learned. Sir Ian highlighted the engagement across government on the Research Integrity Concordat.
6. Report from the Director General for regulation [SA(21)67]
- Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity highlighting that the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) had written to Emma Rourke (ONS) regarding the ONS statistical publication of 1 November: Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status. Ed Humpherson commended Emma Rourke for the open and constructive way she and ONS colleagues had responded to OSR’s concerns.
- Ed Humpherson had taken part in a panel alongside Professor Sir Ian Diamond on 1 November to mark the beginning of Evidence Week in the Scottish Parliament.
- With regard to pre-release access, it was noted that this formed part of OSR’s work with statistical producers on their compliance with the Code of Practice.
7. Report from the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
- Nora Nanayakkara reported on the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee which had met on 11 November.
- The Committee had considered:
- the financial position of the organisation;
- the implementation of the risk and assurance strategy including an update on the strategic risk profile;
- delivery of the Internal Audit work programme and an Internal Audit Report on the future of the census;
- a review of the security risk profile and risk appetite; and
- an update on the work across the organisation to address statistical quality issues.
- The Committee had also received an update on resources and ongoing recruitment for both the Risk and Assurance and Internal Audit teams.
8. Spending review 2021 [SA(21)68]
- Nick Bateson introduced a paper which provided an update on the implementation of the spending review settlement for a three year period. It was noted that the settlement represented a positive outcome for the delivery of the strategy, Statistics for the Public Good.
- Implementation of the settlement included three areas of focus: prioritisation of statistical outputs; redeployment, retraining and, as necessary a voluntary early severance scheme as part of the BASE review of enabling functions; and an efficiency framework. On completion of the implementation process consideration would be given to alternative funding options.
- The Board heard that discussions were ongoing with the Department for Health and Social Care regarding the long term strategic approach to health surveillance.
- The outcome of the implementation process would be a refreshed Business Plan for consideration by the Board at the March 2022 meeting.
9. Climate Change Statistics Portal Presentation
- Ian Townsend and Helen Fox gave a presentation on the Climate Change Statistics Portal. The portal was a cross government collaborative project to increase the coherence, accessibility and comparability of UK climate change-related data, statistics and analysis. Alison Pritchard confirmed that the Climate Change Portal would continue as part of the Integrated Data Service.
- The Board noted thanks for an excellent presentation.
10. Integrated Data Service [SA(21)69]
- Alison Pritchard and Owen Brace introduced a paper which provided an update on the Integrated Data Service (IDS) Programme with a focus on branding. The programme was working towards Public Beta in 2022, which would widen access to a broader base of users.
- The Board heard that the IDS would operate on similar lines to the Secure Research Service model. The IDS would ensure secure handling of data and research outputs would need to comply with the Code of Practice.
- The Board was asked to consider three approaches for branding the IDS: ONS branding; Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) branding; or tailored IDS branding. Board members discussed the options and agreed the recommended approach, HMG branding.
11. COVID-19 Infection Survey and Surveillance Studies [SA(21)70]
- Emma Rourke introduced a paper which provided an update on the COVID-19 Infection Survey programme. In October the survey had passed a milestone by completing over one million blood tests and more than six million swab tests, testing for antibody levels and infection rates respectively across the UK. A new schools infection 2021/22 survey had been launched and the schools infection survey 2020/21 had completed.
- The Board heard about the monitoring work on the effectiveness and efficacy of the vaccines and the long term strategic planning for health surveillance.
12. Strategic Risks [SA(21)71]
- Nick Bateson introduced a paper which provided an update on the Authority’s strategic risk profile, which had been updated in line with feedback provided by the Board at the September meeting.
13. Any other business
- The next meeting would take place on Thursday 27 January 2022.
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