Time Item Details
5 mins
Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings
Declarations of interest
Meeting of 20 December 2022
10 mins
Report from the Authority Chair SA(23)01
Sir Robert Chote
30 mins
Report from the Chief Executive SA(23)02
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond
10 mins
Report from the Director-General for Regulation SA(23)03
Ed Humpherson
10 mins
Report from Committee Chairs
• Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
Nora Nanayakkara
20 mins
Excess Deaths SA(23)05
Emma Rourke
Ruth Studley
10 mins
30 mins
ONS Local and Sub National Statistics SA(23)06
Liz McKeown
Libby Richards
Emma Hickman
25 mins
Labour Market SA(23)07
Darren Morgan
Hugh Stickland
20 mins
Integrated Data Service SA(23)08
Alison Pritchard
10 mins
Any Other Business

Next meeting: Thursday 23 February 2023, Remote Teams Meeting


UK Statistics Authority

  • Sir Robert Chote (Chair)
  • Sian Jones (Deputy Chair)
  • Professor Sir John Aston
  • Sam Beckett
  • Professor Sir Ian Diamond
  • Richard Dobbs
  • Ed Humpherson
  • Nora Nanayakkara
  • Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter

Also in attendance

  • Owen Brace
  • Robert Bumpstead
  • Greg Ceely (for item 8)
  • Megan Cooper
  • Emma Hickman (for item 9)
  • Sally-Ann Jones (Secretariat)
  • Liz McKeown (for item 9)
  • Darren Morgan (for item 10)
  • Alison Pritchard
  • Libby Richards (for item 9)
  • Emma Rourke (for item 8)
  • Hugh Stickland (for item 10)
  • Ruth Studley (for item 8)
  • Rhys Thomas


  • Professor Jonathan Haskel

1. Apologies

  1. Apologies were received from Professor Jonathan Haskel.

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 20 December 2022 were agreed.

4. Report from the Authority Chair [SA(23)01]

  1. Non-Executives had met prior to the Board meeting. They had discussed topics including the recruitment process for Non-Executive Directors, and the ongoing campaign for the National Statistician.
  2. The Chair reported on his recent activities since the Board last met. On 11 January Sir Robert Chote, Professor Sir Ian Diamond and Sam Beckett had attended a meeting with Simon Case, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, to discuss the breadth and delivery of work by ONS.
  3. Sir Robert alongside Sir Ian had visited a number Government Statistical Service Departments: the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on 10 January; the Ministry of Defence on 16 January; and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs on 19 January, to hear about their work and discuss how the Authority could support them.
  4. Sir Robert had attended a meeting of the Committee on Standards in Public Life on 19 January.

5. Report from the Chief Executive [SA(23)02]

  1. Sir Ian provided the Board with an overview of activity and issues since the last meeting, highlighting the following:
    1. Sir Ian had hosted a series for workshops with colleagues at Grade 6 and 7 across the organisation, focusing on leadership and creating a shared one ONS culture;
    2. ONS was among the winners of the Glassdoor Employees Choice Awards;
    3. Sir Ian had represented ONS on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions on Friday 13 January, which had covered topics including the economy and the National Health Service;
    4. The new Manchester location had been opened on 23 January, with a recruitment focus on critical skills;
    5. progress of work across the organisation on efficiencies and prioritisation being led by Sir Ian with Rhys Thomas and Megan Cooper ahead of the submission to HM Treasury in early February;
    6. progress towards developing the evidence base to underpin the recommendation on the future of population statistics with a substantive paper to be taken at the next meeting; and
    7. the continued support by ONS for colleagues at the National Records of Scotland on the Scotland Census 2022.
  2. The Board heard about the response by ONS to the error in the international Comparisons of Productivity (ICP) National Statistics release that had been published on 11 January. A correction had subsequently been published on the ONS website on 23 January and quality assurance processes had been reviewed. Sir Ian had convened a group, to consider the quality framework underpinning economic statistics. Statistical quality was a focus for Mike Keoghan, Deputy National Statistician for Economic, Social and Environmental Statistics, as Chair of the ONS Quality Committee.
  3. Sir Ian was scheduled to visit the Darlington site on 30 January for staff talks and attendance at HMT’s Executive Committee meeting.

6. Report from the Director General for Regulation [SA(23)03]

  1. Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity. The analysis of casework showed that in 2022 the volume of casework was higher than the last pre pandemic period.
  2. The Board heard that Ed Humpherson had met Mathew Rycfroft, Home Office (HO) Permanent Secretary regarding the issues previously raised by OSR. The HO Permanent Secretary had confirmed his support for the principles of intelligent transparency across the department.
  3. With regard to recruitment, Rob Kent-Smith had been appointed as Deputy Director. Recruitment more generally continued to be a short term risk within OSR, with work ongoing with recruitment colleagues to address the issue. It was noted that challenges related to the recruitment market, not recruitment processes.
  4. On 19 January Ed Humpherson had presented at the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence conference: Public Understanding of Economics: How we can communicate economic statistics better to the wider public.
  5. Board members discussed OSR’s proposal to research and publish a think piece on police recorded crime statistics that had been considered by the Regulation Committee in December 2022. Members welcomed the clarification that this was part of a wider plan by OSR to address a long standing issue, following the de-designation of ONS crime statistics for England and Wales in 2014. It was agreed that further details on the broader action plan would be brought to the next meeting.

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

  1. Nora Nanayakkara reported on the work of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee which had last met on 19 January.
  2. The Committee had considered:
    1. the financial position of the organisation;
    2. delivery of the Internal Audit Programme 2022/23;
    3. the implementation of the Risk and Assurance Strategy;
    4. the Census Data Collection Transformation Programme with a focus on the risk profile for the delivery of the future of population statistics programme;
    5. the COVID-19 Digital Survey; and
    6. the External Audit planning report for the 2022/23 financial statement audit for the Authority
  3. The Committee had also discussed a report on Shared Drives Security and Data Protection, which had highlighted areas to strengthen in the organisation’s control framework. The Board heard that an action plan had been put in place and progress would be reported to the March Audit and Risk Assurance Committee meeting.

8. Excess Deaths [SA(23)04]

  1. Ruth Studley and Greg Ceely introduced a paper which considered excess mortality reported across England and Wales.
  2. ONS produce excess mortality analysis based on deaths registered and baselined to a five-year average excluding 2020 but including 2021. A number of organisations produce estimates of excess deaths in England including the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and EuroMOMO. ONS had published a blog on 12 January 2022 explaining the methodology underpinning its analysis of excess deaths.
  3. The Board discussed the methodology being used by ONS and by other producers. A technical working group would be established to consider excess death calculation methods.
  4. The Board would remain engaged as the work progressed with a report back in three months on the outcome of the technical working group.

9. ONS Local and Sub National Statistics [SA(23)05]

  1. Liz McKeown, Libby Richards, Emma Hickman and Samantha Toon introduced a paper which provided an update on ONS’s progress in delivering the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Subnational Data Strategy.
  2. The Board heard that ONS had provided leadership to the improvement of subnational data, statistics and analysis across government through the creation of a Senior Subnational Data Group led by Sir Ian.
  3. ONS Local was the new analytical advisory service for local decision makers with dedicated analysts based across the United Kingdom. ONS Local would support users to navigate sub national data and analysis; make links between national and ONS data with local data; and join up geographically disparate areas with similar challenges.
  4. The Board commended the ONS on the developments, including its innovative research and expansion of the use of data sources, data science and methodology delivering UK wide and local insights. The Board noted the importance of the independence of ONS data.

10. Labour Market [SA(23)06]

  1. Darren Morgan and Hugh Stickland introduced a paper which looked at recent trends affecting the UK labour market, particularly economic inactivity, and the key role ONS is playing in developing the evidence base to inform policy.
  2. The Board heard that ONS had quickly stood up a survey to better understand the motivations of those aged 50 and over who had left the labour market. The survey had so far been conducted twice. How demographic changes contributed to the change in economic inactivity was also considered.
  3. The Board noted their thanks for an excellent presentation.

11. Integrated Data Service [SA(23)07]

  1. Alison Pritchard introduced a paper which provided an update on the progress of the Integrated Data Programme (IDP) responsible for the delivery of the Integrated Data Service (IDS).
  2. The Board heard that HMT had approved the IDS Full Business Case. Digital Economy Act accreditation was scheduled for discussion by the Research Accreditation Panel on 17 March. The dashboard of Key Performance Indicators would help inform the Board on progress against the programme’s key deliverables. The Infrastructure and Projects Authority would commence the Gate Review 4 on 20 February.

12. Any Other Business

  1. The next meeting would take place on 23 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