Time Item Details
5 mins
Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings
Declarations of interest
Meeting of 27 October 2022
10 mins
Report from the Authority Chair SA(22)59
Sir Robert Chote
25 mins

Report from the Chief Executive SA(22)60
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond
10 mins

Report from the Director-General for Regulation SA(22)61
Ed Humpherson
25 mins
Post Census Recommendation SA(22)62
Emma Rourke
Ruth Studley
Jennet Woolford
15 mins

60 mins
People Update SA(22)63
Phillipa Bonay
25 mins
Strategic Risks SA(22)64
Natalie Tarr
5 mins
Any Other Business

Next meeting: Tuesday 20 December 2022, London Boardroom


UK Statistics Authority

  • Sir Robert Chote (Chair)
  • Sian Jones (Deputy Chair)
  • Professor Sir John Aston
  • Sam Beckett
  • Professor Sir Ian Diamond
  • Richard Dobbs
  • Professor Jonathan Haskel
  • Ed Humpherson
  • Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter
  • Professor Anne Trefethen

Also in attendance

  • Philippa Bonay (for item 8)
  • Owen Brace
  • Robert Bumpstead
  • Kirsty Campion (for item 9)
  • Megan Cooper
  • Sally-Ann Jones (Secretariat)
  • Alison Pritchard
  • Emma Rourke (for item 7)
  • Ruth Studley (for item 7)
  • Natalie Tarr (for item 9)
  • Becky Tinsley (for item 7)
  • Rhys Thomas
  • Jennet Woolford (for item 7)


  • Helen Boaden
  • Nora Nanayakkara

1. Introduction

  1. Apologies were received from Helen Boaden and Nora Nanayakkara.

2. Declarations of Interest

  1. There were no new declarations of interest.

3. Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings

  1. The minutes of the previous meeting held on 27 October 2022 were agreed.

4. Report from the Authority Chair

  1. Non-Executives had met prior to the Board meeting. They had discussed topics including the Non-Executive Director recruitment process, and the prospective independent review of the Authority by the Cabinet Office.
  2. The Chair reported on his activities since the Board last met. On 8 November Sir Robert Chote alongside Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Sam Beckett and the leadership team, had spoken at the first hybrid cross site ONS event since the pandemic, celebrating successful delivery across the organisation in 2022, followed by the ONS Excellence Awards 2022.
  3. Sir Robert had written to Health and Social Care Ministers and senior officials in the four nations of the UK regarding the updated report by the Office for Statistics Regulation Lessons learned for health and social care statistics from the COVID-19 pandemic. Other correspondence from Sir Robert included a letter to Jackie Baillie, Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), about statistics on waiting times for NHS treatment; and to Stephen Kerr MSP about claims by the First Minister of Scotland on renewable electricity general and demand in Scotland.
  4. Sir Robert was scheduled to meet William Wragg MP, Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee later that day (21 November). Georgina Sturge, House of Commons Assistant Librarian, had been invited as a speaker to the December Board meeting.

5. Report from the Chief Executive [SA(22)53]

  1. Sir Ian provided the Board with an overview of activity and issues since the last meeting, highlighting the following:
    1. i. the publication of two Census 2021 topic summaries, one on 2 November on demography and migration, and the other on 10 November on veterans;
    2. alongside the release of Census 2021 veteran data Sir Ian and Johnny Mercer, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, had launched the first Veterans’ Survey, which was being carried out by ONS in partnership with the Office for Veteran Affairs;
    3. as part of the HM Treasury approval process of the Integrated Data Service Full Business Case, a review had been undertaken by a team of technology experts from the Central Digital and Data Office and No 10, which had provided assurance on the deliverability of the programme; and
    4. an additional meeting of the Inter Administration Committee had been held on 26 October to consider the coherency of fuel poverty statistics.
  2. The Board heard that Baroness Neville Rolfe would be visiting the ONS Newport office on 25 November. Sir Ian would be meeting with Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations in the coming weeks.
  3. Board members discussed the update and highlighted the importance of explanatory notes regarding any revisions to statistics. The National Accounts Revisions Policy had been updated (November 2022) and covered all published quarterly and annual series within the UK National Accounts, including GDP monthly and first quarterly estimates.

It was noted that all revision releases were accompanied by explanatory notes and media briefing by the Communications Director where appropriate.

6. Report from the Director General for Regulation [SA(22)61]

  1. Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity. OSR were dealing with a high volume of casework including a number of issues in relation to claims based on internal management information that was not publicly available.
  2. The Board heard that the recruitment for the Deputy Director and Economist roles had been launched.

7. Post Census Recommendation [SA(22)62]

  1. Emma Rourke, Ruth Studley and Jennet Woolford introduced a paper which provided an update on progress towards developing the evidence to underpin the 2023 recommendation on the future of the Census and population statistics in England and Wales; and readiness for a spring public consultation.
  2. The Board heard that the public consultation would provide the opportunity to raise awareness and to set the scene for a recommendation later in 2023. Three core evaluation criteria had been developed and previously agreed by the Board: meeting core user needs; a flexible and resilient system; and assured, ethical and publicly acceptable. It was noted that the purpose of the consultation was not to seek opinions on modes of data collection. Mid-year population estimates for 2022 had been produced for 14 pilot Local Authorities from the ONS Dynamic Population Model and were scheduled for publication on 23 November.
  3. Board members discussed the progress made and the importance of an evidence based decision. Throughout the programme of work ONS had continued to ensure that innovative statistical methods were independently assured through a number of routes including the Methodological Assurance Review Panel, Chaired by Sir Bernard Silverman. Assurance was provided on the areas of focus going forward: value for money, which formed part of programme benefits; the retention of specialist skills; public acceptability and engagement, including engagement with privacy groups; and flexibility and resilience of systems including building resilience to interruptions in data flows.
  4. The Board noted progress and would continue to remain engaged as the work progressed with the next update scheduled for February 2023.

8. People Update [SA(22)63]

  1. Philippa Bonay introduced a paper which provided a people update with a focus on the work taking place to mitigate the Authority’s Strategic People Risk supporting delivery of the Authority strategy – Statistics for the Public Good.
  2. The Board heard that progress had been made against the delivery of the People Plan priorities. The ONS had received for a second consecutive year, Glassdoor’s Best Employer for Work Life Balance award. Through the Evolving the Workplace Programme collaborative, inclusive and engaging workplaces had been created across all sites. The move of the London office to Marsham Street had improved the opportunities for collaboration along with the addition of an office presence in Manchester. The strategic resourcing model underpinned the approach across the organisation to securing resources in the context of a challenging labour market across the UK. Good progress had been made against organisation wide inclusion targets.
  3. Board members discussed the update. It was noted that work would continue to implement the strategic resourcing model including succession planning for high prolife and specialist roles, inclusion and diversity, and talent management.

9. Strategic Risks [SA(22)64]

  1. Natalie Tarr introduced a paper which provided an updated Strategic Risk profile following discussions with Strategic Risk owners, the National Statistician, Second Permanent Secretary, the Directors General, the Authority Chair and Deputy Chair, the Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee and senior leaders.
  2. The Audit and Risk Assurance Committee had supported the proposed changes to the strategic risk profile. Board members discussed the risk appetite ranges specifically the overarching risk on independence and trustworthiness. The need for contingency planning in the event of risks materialising into issues was noted. The ability to identify trends early linked to the frequency of risk updates.
  3. The Board commended the progress made by the Risk and Assurance Team. The strategic risk profile and risk appetite statements and appetite ranges provided the clarity to inform discussions.

10. Any Other Business

  1. Sir Ian acknowledged the sad death of former National Statistician Tim Holt, and had shared a message to all colleagues across the organisation, which had been published on the Authority website.
  2. The next meeting would take place on 20 December.

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