|Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings|
Declarations of interest
|Meeting of 30 March 2023|
|Report from the Authority Chair||Oral update|
Sir Robert Chote
|Report from the Chief Executive||SA(23)24|
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond
|Report from the Director-General for Regulation||SA(23)25|
|Report from Committee Chairs|
• Regulation Committee
Sir Robert Chote
|ONS analytical work for health policy and NHS - presentation||SA(23)26|
|Scotland Census 2022||SA(23)27|
Dr Janet Edgell
|Integrated Data Service||SA(23)29|
|Any Other Business|
Next meeting: 25 May 2023, Remote Teams Meeting
UK Statistics Authority
- Sir Robert Chote (Chair)
- Sian Jones (Deputy Chair)
- Dr Jacob Abboud
- 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
- Owen Brace
- Robert Bumpstead
- Dr Janet Egdell (for item 9)
- Sally-Ann Jones (Secretariat)
- Vahe Nafilyan (for item 8)
- Alison Pritchard
- Emma Rourke (for items 8 and 10)
- Ruth Studley (for item 8)
- Tom Taylor
- Jennet Woolford (for item 10)
- Jon Wroth-Smith (for item 9)
- Jason Yaxley (for item 11)
- There were no apologies received.
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 30 March 2023 were agreed.
4. Report from the Authority Chair
- Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) had met prior to the Board meeting. They had discussed progress of work towards the census consultation.
- The Chair reported on his recent activities since the Board last met. As part of the NED programme of activities a follow up session had been held on the post census 2023 recommendation, ahead of a substantive discussion at May Board. It was noted the Methodological Assurance Review Panel, chaired by Sir Bernard Silverman, had been engaged throughout to provide independent assurance.
- Sir Robert had written to Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, regarding the use of a misleading graphic on Gross Domestic Product growth rates forecast.
- With regard to the ONS Whistleblowing Policy and Speaking up Framework the Board heard that the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee had received an update on these policies in January 2023, and overall had been assured on the effectiveness of processes in place.
- Sir Robert informed the meeting that Penny Young had taken on the role of Chair of Regulation Committee.
- The Board heard that the Institute for Government had published a report, The Treasury during Covid, which referenced the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as a centre of expertise that performed well during the pandemic.
5. Report from the Chief Executive [SA(23)24]
- Professor Sir Ian Diamond provided the Board with an overview of activity and issues since the last meeting, highlighting the following:
- Mike Keoghan, Deputy National Statistician for Economic Social and Environment Statistics, and Grant Fitzner, ONS Chief Economist, had given evidence to the Lords Economic Affairs Committee on international comparisons of public sector output within Gross Domestic Product estimates and the UK’s productivity performance;
- progress of business planning with the final ONS business plan scheduled for discussion at May Board;
- ongoing discussions with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) regarding funding of a future population health monitoring survey;
- the launch of a pilot into the potential use for the organisation of large language models such as ChatGPT, including consideration of ethical issues; and
- work on migration statistics with the next publication of long term international migration estimates scheduled in May 2023.
- The Board heard that the recruitment process for a substantive Deputy National Statistician for Health, Population and Methods was near completion.
6. Report from the Director General for Regulation [SA(23)25]
- Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity, highlighting the areas of casework including NHS doctors numbers, the teacher pay offer and the gender identity question in the England and Wales Census 2021.
- The OSR’s business plan had been updated following comments by both the Board and Regulation Committee. The Board approved the business plan, which was scheduled for publication in May.
7. Report from the Chair of the Regulation Committee
- The Chair reported on the work of the Regulation Committee which had last met on 20 April.
- The Committee had considered:
- the independent report by Professor Patrick Sturgis, which had endorsed OSR’s assessment of the COVID-19 Infection Survey;
- emerging findings of the assessment of ONS Producer Price Inflation statistics;
- plans for delivery of the State of the Statistical System 2022/23 annual report;
- the Data Sharing and Linkage draft report and plans for stakeholder engagement;
- progress of the National Statistics Designation review and initial consideration of proposed badge designs; and
- OSR’s role in developing their current guidance for statistical producers setting out the issues around data collection in relation to sex, gender and gender identity.
- The Committee had approved OSR’s business plan and regulatory programme of work 2023/24.
8. ONS analytical work for health policy and NHS – presentation [SA(23)26]
- Vahe Nafilyan and Ruth Studley introduced a paper which showcased the health analysis the ONS has been undertaking with colleagues in the NHS or using NHS data.
- The Board heard the Public Health Data Asset (PHDA) had been used throughout the pandemic to produce various analysis, and had been developed to include Census 2021 data. Health continued to be a priority analytical area with ONS collaborating across the health system to produce insights into the challenging issues facing health and care delivery.
- The Board noted their thanks for an excellent presentation.
9. Scotland Census 2022 [SA(23)27]
- Dr Janet Egdell and Jon Wroth-Smith introduced a paper which provided an update on delivery of statistics from Scotland’s Census 2022 with particular focus on publication of first outputs planned in Autumn 2023.
- The return rate for Scotland’s Census 2022 was 89.2 per cent, with 30 of 32 local authorities in Scotland above the target return rate of 85 per cent. In May 2022 National Records of Scotland (NRS) had established an International Steering Group (ISG) chaired by Professor James Brown from the University of Technology, Sydney, and membership, including amongst others Sir Ian, to provide external assurance and expert advice.
- The Board heard that the first results of the 2022 census were planned for publication in Autumn 2023 using an innovative revised methodology, which had been developed in partnership with the ISG. The NRS would continue to focus on stakeholder engagement to ensure users have confidence in the quality of the outputs.
- Board members welcomed the update.
10. Gender Identity [SA(23)28]
- Jennet Woolford introduced a paper which set out questions raised about the Census 2021 gender identity question and estimates, ONS’ response so far, and plans for further research.
- The Board heard that the question on gender identity had been tested thoroughly. Following publication of the gender identity Census data in January 2023 a small number of articles had been published relating to sex and gender identity. ONS had subsequently published a statement on the website summarising the testing and consultation that had informed the question design and plans for further research, which would be published in the coming months.
- Board members discussed the issue, welcomed the plans for further research in this area, and supported the approach by ONS more generally to publishing data in good time.
11. Integrated Data Service [SA(23)29]
- Alison Pritchard and Jason Yaxley presented 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).
- The Board heard that the IDS was on track for delivery against the overall plan with the exception of Digital Economy Act (DEA) accreditation, which was ongoing. Areas of focus for the programme going forwards included engagement across government to secure buy-in, DEA accreditation and development of Key Performance Indicators to include the number of active users to assess the growth of the service over time.
12. Any Other Business
- The next meeting would take place on 25 May.
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