Time Item Details
1
11.15-11.20
5 mins
Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings
Declarations of interest
Meeting of 30 November 2024
2
11.20-11.30
10 mins
Report from the Authority Chair SA(24)01
Sir Robert Chote
3
11:30-12.00
30 mins
Report from the Chief Executive SA(24)02
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond
4
12.00-12:10
10 mins
Report from Committee Chair
• Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
• Regulation Committee
Oral update
Dr Jacob Abboud
Penny Young
5
12.10-12:20
10 mins
Report from the Director General for Regulation SA(24)03
Ed Humpherson
12.20-12:25
5 mins
Break
6
12:25-13:55
90 mins
Census 2023 – the future of population and migration statistics SA(24)04
Emma Rourke
Ruth Studley
7
13.55-14.00
5 mins
Any Other Business

Next meeting: Thursday 29 February 2024, London Boardroom

Members present

  • Sir Robert Chote (Chair)
  • Dr Jacob Abboud
  • Professor Sir John Aston
  • Professor Sir Ian Diamond
  • Ed Humpherson
  • Sian Jones
  • Nora Nanayakkara
  • Professor Dame Carol Propper
  • Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter
  • Penny Young

Also in attendance

  • Robert Bumpstead
  • Will Laffan (for item 9)
  • Emma Rourke (for item 9)
  • Ruth Studley (for item 9)
  • Tom Taylor
  • Jennet Woolford

Apologies

  • Alison Pritchard

1. Apologies

  1. Apologies were noted from Alison Pritchard.

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 30 November were agreed.

4. Report from the Authority Chair [SA(24)01]

  1. Non-Executive Directors had met prior to the Board meeting. They had discussed the review of the Authority by Professor Denise Lievesley.
  2. The Chair reported on his recent activities since the Board last met. Sir Robert had an introductory meeting on 16 January with Laura Gilbert and Steffan Jones, Joint Chief Analysts for No 10 and Cabinet Office respectively, who had recently been appointed as the Authority’s senior departmental sponsors. The relationship with senior sponsors would be underpinned by criteria for handling any potential issues of conflict.
  3. Correspondence by Sir Robert included a letter to Shaun Bailey MP about claims made by the Shadow Chancellor following the Autumn Statement; and a letter to Alistair Carmichael MP and Stephen Kinnock MP on the asylum backlog.

5. Report from the Chief Executive [SA(24)02]

  1. Sir Ian provided the Board with an overview of activity and issues since the last meeting, highlighting the following:
    1. the finance team continued to manage the year end position in line with the controls in place, with an improved financial position this month;
    2. HM Treasury (HMT) had approved the Supplementary Estimate confirming funding for the Future of Population and Migration Statistics Programme and the work on Public Sector Productivity. Due to delays within HMT the funding would not be received until late March. As such, and with the support of HMT, finance were applying for a Contingencies Fund Advance (temporary cash advance);
    3. progress of work on data sharing across the UK;
    4. ONS had published Crime statistics on 25 January, which had attracted some media attention highlighting that they did not include domestic abuse. ONS would be publishing separate statistics on domestic abuse in the coming weeks; and
    5. the approach to addressing the recent issue with the Labour Force Survey (LFS) had impacted positively. ONS had announced plans on 12 January about the next release of LFS data in February. The Transformed Labour Force Survey (TLFS) remained the strategic solution to the LFS. Given the challenges with the LFS the quality of social surveys was a key focus of attention for the organisation. Penny Young had met Alex Lambert and team on 11 January to discuss the strategic context for survey response rates, the LFS and dual running with the TLFS.
  2. The Board discussed the recent Post Office Horizon scandal in relation to the role of Boards more generally including the relationship between Executive and Non-Executive Directors; and the role of NEDs in providing oversight challenge and scrutiny. The Authority had a Whistleblowing policy in place, which was reported to the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee on an annual basis. Members noted the value of any Board linked directly to the diversity, knowledge and experience of its members. The potential for group think could be avoided by all members evaluating the issues and consequences. With regard to ONS systems it was noted that legacy transformation was a key area of focus as part of the ongoing business planning process.
  3. Members also discussed the communications underpinning the release of Crime Survey statistics earlier in the day, noting the need for clarity to avoid any misunderstanding.

6. Report from the Chair of the Audit Risk and Assurance Committee

  1. The Chair reported on the work of the Audit Risk and Assurance Committee which had last met on 18 January 2024.
  2. The Committee had considered:
    1. the financial position with assurance provided by the finance team on the controls in place to reach a balanced budget at year end;
    2. an update on the strategic risk profile with a focus on areas of challenge;
    3. delivery of the Internal Audit Plan 2023/24 with assurance from the Head of Internal Audit that the remainder of the plan would be delivered on time;
    4. Internal Reports on Statistical Quality, Errors and Corrections and Cloud Technology, which was scheduled for further discussion at the March meeting; and
    5. the External Audit Timetable for year-end financial statements.

6. Report from the Chair of the Regulation Committee

  1. The Chair reported on the work of the Regulation Committee which had last met on 14 December.
  2. The Committee had considered:
    1. the draft Assessment Report of Accident and Emergency Statistics in England and Wales;
    2. progress of the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) review of Police Recorded Crime;
    3. OSR’s draft business plan;
    4. planning for the general election including capability and resources;
      v. the transformation of population and migration statistics and OSR’s approach to accreditation;
    5. OSR’s Economic Statistics programme of work; and
    6. the timing of the accreditation of the Transformed Labour Force Survey.

8. Report from the Director General for Regulation [SA(24)03]

  1. Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity. OSR had published its assessment of Profitability of UK Companies and Gross Operating Surplus, which had found many strengths in the statistics, and identified areas for improvement.
  2. The Board heard that OSR had met with a group of philosophers as part of a round table on misinformation. The aims of the round table were to relate philosophical concepts to the work by OSR in the context of an upcoming election.
  3. The review of the Code of Practice for Statistics was ongoing. The call for evidence had received 50 contributions.

9. Census 2023 – the future of population and migration statistics [SA(24)04]

  1. As this area of work is policy in development, the minute from this item will be published upon completion.

10. Any other business

  1. The Board would next meet on 29 February.

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