|Minutes and actions
|Meeting of 27 April 2023
|Report from the Authority Chair
Sir Robert Chote
|Report from the Chief Executive
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond
|Report from the Director-General for Regulation
|Report from Committee Chair
• Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
|ONS Business Plan
|Integrated Data Service
|National Statistics Designation Review
|Census 2023 Consultation
|Any Other Business
Next meeting: 29 June 2023, Darlington Economic Campus
UK Statistics Authority
- Sir Robert Chote (Chair)
- Sian Jones
- Professor Sir John Aston
- Sam Beckett
- Professor Sir Ian Diamond
- Richard Dobbs
- Ed Humpherson
- Nora Nanayakkara
- Professor Dame Carol Propper
- Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter
- Penny Young
Also in attendance
- Penny Babb (for item 10)
- Owen Brace
- Robert Bumpstead
- Megan Cooper (for item 8)
- Kate Davies (for item 11)
- Sally-Ann Jones (Secretariat)
- Will Laffan (for item 11)
- Alison Pritchard
- Ruth Studley (for item 11)
- Becky Tinsley (for item 11)
- Jason Yaxley (for item 9)
- Dr Jacob Abboud
- Tom Taylor
- Apologies were received from Tom Taylor and Dr Jacob Abboud.
2. Declarations of Interest
- There were no new declarations of interest.
3. Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings
- The minutes of the previous meeting held on 27 April 2023 were agreed.
4. Report from the Authority Chair [SA(23)30]
- Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) had met prior to the Board meeting. They had discussed topics included the census consultation and the organisation’s pre-audit financial position at year end.
- The Chair reported on his recent activities since the Board last met. On 23 May Sir Robert alongside Professor Sir Ian Diamond and Ed Humpherson had given evidence to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the work of the Authority. The session had covered a range of topics including Sir Robert’s reflections since in post; delivery of the strategy, Statistics for the Public Good; the Integrated Data Service; Census 2021 for England and Wales; Scotland’s Census 2022; economic statistics; and user engagement and statistical literacy.
- On behalf of the Board Sir Robert paid warm tribute to Richard Dobbs as this was his last meeting; and also to Sam Beckett, Second Permanent Secretary and Deputy Chief Executive, who was leaving ONS to take up her role as Chief Economic Advisor to HM Treasury (HMT) at the end of May. Professor Sir Ian Diamond also paid tribute to Sam Beckett and Richard Dobbs.
5. Report from the Chief Executive [SA(23)31]
- Professor Sir Ian Diamond provided the Board with an overview of activity and issues since the last meeting, highlighting the following:
- the publication of long-term international migration statistics that morning (25 May), which estimated net migration at 606,000. The methodology had been improved with the inclusion of asylum seekers. Further work was planned to continue to improve the granularity of these statistics with the next publication scheduled in November 2023;
- Consumer Prices Index inflation statistics published on 24 May, which had received a range of media coverage;
- Sir Ian had met Baroness Neville-Rolfe and had discussed a number of topics including the work by ONS on public sector productivity and progress of work on the harmonisation of health data across the Union, specifically health indicators; and
- ONS engagement with HMT and other government departments regarding public sector productivity;
- Board members discussed the update, commended ONS on the work on migration statistics, and highlighted the importance of proactive media coverage by in this area.
- The Board heard that Sir Ian would be delivering a lecture at the University of Leicester on 30 May, as part of the Chancellor’s Lecture Series, on The Role of a National Statistical Institute in responding to a National Crisis.
- With regard to the independent COVID-19 Inquiry, given ONS’ role in producing data and analysis as part of the pandemic response, the Authority Covid-19 Inquiry Team had been established to prepare for engagement with the Inquiry.
6. Report from the Director General for Regulation [SA(23)32]
- Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity.
- The Board heard that OSR had undertaken a pilot assessment of ONS’ Producer Price Inflation statistics. Emerging themes had been discussed by the Regulation Committee in April with the aim of publishing the final report in June. OSR’s review of data sharing across the public sector was also scheduled for publication in June, following a further discussion by Regulation Committee on 25 May. The annual review by OSR on the State of the Statistical System was scheduled for publication in June.
- Ed Humpherson had completed a number of speaking engagements including an open lecture at Southampton University on data abundance; a talk on misleadingness at the University of Dundee; and had taken part in the Northern Ireland Administrative Data Research deep dive in Belfast.
7. Report from the Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
- The Chair reported on the work of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee which had last met on 18 May.
- The Committee had considered:
- the Authority’s pre audit financial position for the financial year 2022/23 in line with HM Treasury control totals;
- delivery of Internal Audit programme of assurance 2022/23 in full;
- an Internal Audit Report on Legacy technology; and
- the annual Fraud Report.
- The Committee had also considered and agreed the Internal Audit Plan 2023/24. The draft Authority Annual Report and Accounts 2022/23 was circulated in correspondence to members following the meeting.
8. ONS Business Plan [SA(23)33]
- Megan Cooper provided the Board with the final version of the draft 2023/24 ONS Strategic Business Plan, following consideration by the Portfolio and Investment Committee, the National Statistics Executive Group; and feedback from the Board from the March meeting.
- The Board heard that the business planning process had been informed by an updated prioritisation framework and delivery of efficiencies, with the organisation continuing to innovate and deliver the strategy, Statistics for the Public Good. It was noted that prioritisation process would not impact on quality of statistics.
- Board members endorsed the refreshed business plan.
9. Integrated Data Service [SA(23)34]
- Alison Pritchard and Jason Yaxley updated members with progress on the Integrated Data Programme (IDP), responsible for the delivery of the Integrated Data Service (IDS).
- The Board heard that delivery of the IDS programme remained on track against the overall plan with the exception of Digital Economy Act accreditation, which was ongoing, and scheduled for consideration by the Research and Accreditation Panel on 15 June. Cross government engagement continued to be an area of focus for the programme including a presentation to Chief Data Information Officers at the Digital, Data and Technology Functional Leaders Group on 13 June; and Permanent Secretaries at the Digital and Data Board on 22 June. The programme was on track to achieve a target of 1500 active users of the IDS by March 2024.
- The Board noted the update and would continue to remain engaged as the work progressed.
10. National Statistics Designation Review [SA(23)35]
- Penny Babb updated members of the Board on the OSR’s project to refresh the National Statistics (NS) Designation with the potential introduction of new badges for official statistics.
- Board members discussed progress of the review and provided a range of views on the potential to introduce badging for official statistics.
- The Board noted the update.
11. Census 2023 Consultation [SA(23)36]
- Ruth Studley and Kate Davies provided an update on progress towards the National Statistician’s recommendation on the future of population and migration statistics.
- It was noted that feedback from the February Board meeting and the follow up session in April, as part of the NED Programme of Activities, had informed changes to the consultation document ensuring it better reflected the long-term nature of the proposals. An additional section had been included articulating the long term strategic risks; the consultation questionnaire had been developed focussing on how the proposals meet users’ needs; and a summary of the economic case had also been included. The consultation was scheduled to launch on 29 June and would close at the end of October 2023. Pre-consultation engagement with a range of users was ongoing, including a series of round tables and stakeholder engagement events.
- Board members welcomed the progress made and highlighted that the consultation presented ONS’s vision. It was acknowledged that the consultation was a response to the White paper, ‘Help Shape our Future’ of 2018, on how the ONS should produce statistics about the population in future. Consideration would be given to including the historical context and to ensure respondents were able to access the questionnaire alongside a shorter outline of the proposals, based on the executive summary.
- The Board noted the near final consultation document. It was agreed that further updates would be provided to the Board in September setting out a summary of responses mid-way through the consultation. Following the consultation closure at the end of October an update would be provided to the Board with early key findings as soon as possible after the consultation closure.
12. Any Other Business
- The Board noted the intention to endorse the Official Statistics Order 2023, scheduled to be laid before Parliament on 19 June. The Order specified the statistics produced, or to be produced, by certain bodies as ‘official statistics’, as set out in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.
- The next meeting of the UK Statistics Authority Board would be on 29 June 2023 at the Darlington Economic Campus.
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