Time Item Details
30 mins
The use of data in policy making Georgina Sturge
5 mins
Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings
Declarations of interest
Meeting of 21 November 2022
10 mins
Report from the Authority Chair SA(22)65
Sir Robert Chote
25 mins
Report from the Chief Executive SA(22)66
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond
10 mins
Report from the Director-General for Regulation SA(22)67
Ed Humpherson
10 mins
Report from Committee Chairs
• Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
• Regulation Committee
Oral Updates
Nora Nanayakkara
Prof. Anne Trefethen
15 mins
Strategy update SA(22)68
Will Marks
Megan Cooper
20 mins
Integrated Data Service SA(22)69
Alison Pritchard
20 mins
ARIES SA(22)70
Jason Zawadzki
5 mins
Any Other Business

Next meeting: Thursday 26 January 2023, Remote Teams Meeting


UK Statistics Authority

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

Also in attendance

  • Owen Brace
  • Robert Bumpstead
  • Megan Cooper
  • Sally-Ann Jones (Secretariat)
  • Alison Pritchard
  • Rhys Thomas
  • Jason Zawadzki (for item 12)


  • Professor Sir John Aston

1. Presentation by Georgina Sturge: The use of data in policy making

  1. Sir Robert Chote welcomed Georgina Sturge for this item ahead of the main Board meeting. Georgina Sturge is a statistician at the House of Commons Library, author of Bad Data: How Governments, Politicians and the Rest of Us Get Misled by Numbers and Chair of the ONS Migration Statistics User Forum.
  2. The discussion focussed on the use of data in policy making, transparency around the uncertainty of statistics to build trust amongst users and data gaps. The Board discussed areas including migration, police recorded crime, coherence of data and interventions by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR).
  3. The Board noted their thanks for an excellent presentation.

2. Apologies

  1. Apologies were received from Professor Sir John Aston.

3. Declarations of Interest

  1. There were no new declarations of interest.

4. Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings

  1. The minutes of the previous meeting held on 21 November 2022 were agreed.

5. Report from the Authority Chair [SA(22)64]

  1. Non-Executives had met prior to the Board meeting. They had discussed topics including the recruitment processes for Non-Executive Directors and the National Statistician; and performance reporting of key objectives.
  2. The Chair reported on his recent activities since the Board last met. On 13 December Sir Robert alongside Professor Sir Ian Diamond had delivered the opening speech at the Government Statistical Conference (GSS), with a theme of Changing statistics for a changing world.
  3. Sir Robert had written to Dr Sandesh Gulhane, Member of the Scottish Parliament, about statistics on accident and emergency waiting times in Scotland.

6. Report from the Chief Executive [SA(22)65]

  1. Sir Ian provided the Board with an overview of activity and issues since the last meeting, highlighting the following:
    1. the GSS Conference held on 13 and 14 December in Manchester, which had provided the opportunity to bring over 400 GSS colleagues together in person for the first time since the pandemic. Sir Ian commended the organising team who had overcome a number of challenges and delivered a successful event;
    2. the visit by Baroness Neville-Rolfe on 16 November to the Newport office, which had included presentations on the labour market, health surveillance, business survey transformation and plans for the future of population and migration statistics;
    3. progress and future of the COVID-19 Infection Survey with discussions ongoing with the UK Health Security Agency;
    4. the work across the organisation on efficiencies and prioritisation being led by Sir Ian with Rhys Thomas and Megan Cooper; and
    5. the high level results of the People Survey 2022, a positive set of results showing that high scores had been maintained consistently achieving above the Civil Service benchmarks.
  2. The Board heard about the response by ONS to the error in Producer Prices Indices (PPI). Sir Ian provided assurance on the quality of Consumer Prices Indices noting that he would be chairing a small group, commencing on 4 January, to consider the quality framework underpinning economic statistics.
  3. Board members discussed the update. It was agreed that going forward the performance report would include a time series of delivery against strategic objectives and strategic risks.

7. Report from the Director General for Regulation [SA(22)66]

  1. Ed Humpherson provided an update on regulation activity. As part of the business planning process the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) had published their priorities for 2023/24 for comment.
  2. The Board heard that on 21 November OSR had written to Matthew Rycroft, Home Office Permanent Secretary, about the transparency of Home Office statistics. A positive response had been received from the Permanent Secretary. With regard to external economic scrutiny OSR would be undertaking a pilot assessment of ONS Producer Price Indices (PPI). The Deputy Director recruitment process was ongoing with interviews scheduled in January 2023.

8. 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 10 November.
  2. The Committee had considered:
    1. the financial position of the organisation;
    2. delivery of the Internal Audit Programme 2022/23 and an Internal Audit Report on Reproducible Analytical Pipelines;
    3. the implementation of the Risk and Assurance Strategy including an update on the strategic risk profile and risk appetite statements;
    4. an update on the programme of work, which had resulted in the statistical quality risk being brought within risk appetite; and
    5. the mid-year fraud report.
  3. The Committee had also heard about changes to the Internal Audit team. The Committee would be meeting on 21 December to consider the proposed changes to the Internal Audit Programme 2022/23. There would be a change of external auditors as the current NAO representatives had come to the end of their term.

9. Report from the Chair of the Regulation Committee

  1. Professor Trefethen reported on the work of the Regulation Committee which had last met on 19 December.
  2. The Committee had considered:
    1. two draft assessment reports: Statistics for the People and Nature Survey; and Statistics on the Scottish Prison Population;
    2. OSR’s draft priorities for 2023/24;
    3. the pilot assessment by OSR’s economy domain of ONS’s PPI statistics;
    4. the proposed approach to research and publish a think piece of police recorded crime;
    5. OSR’s regulatory role on the recording and reporting of demographic data; and
    6. the UK Standard Industrial Classification Review.

10. Strategy Update [SA(22)68]

  1. Will Marks and Megan Cooper introduced a paper which provided the seventh quarterly update on progress against the delivery of the strategy, Statistics for the Public Good.
  2. Since the last update, a number of Census 2021 topic summaries had been published in areas including demography, veterans, ethnicity, language and religion, travel to work and the labour market. In response to recommendations from the Inclusive Data
    Taskforce in 2021 a comprehensive report on the lived experiences of Gypsies and Travellers in England and Wales had been published. The response to the digital COVID-19 Infection Survey had exceeded 1 million online questionnaires and had received over 1.4 million completed blood and swab samples. The move to 2 Marsham Street and co-location with other departments had provided the opportunity for greater collaboration.
  3. The Board heard that in the coming months a mid-term review of the strategy would be undertaken alongside the development of the refreshed business plans for ONS and OSR.

11. Integrated Data Service [SA(22)69]

  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 the IDS initial Public Beta was being used to grant access to a proportion of Census 2021 data for the user group of super early adopters. Programme development of the full Public Beta and Digital Economy Act accreditation was scheduled for March 2023. Securing cross government support would be a key area of focus going forward, and a review would be undertaken of programme key performance indicators reported to the Board.
  3. Board members welcomed the update and noted the value of an external champion to showcase the potential of the IDS.

12. ARIES [SA(22)70]

  1. Jason Zawadzki introduced a paper which provided an overview of progress and look ahead for the coming months of the Ambitious Radical Inclusive Sustainable (ARIES) transformation programme.
  2. The Board heard that since the last update in September the programme had delivered in a number of areas including: the publication of baselined Research and Development statistics, publication of ONS’s response to the public consultation on the future of the Crime Survey for England and Wales, and completion of a review of risks to core statistics due to legacy technology. The transformation of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) was dual running both the LFS and the Transformed Labour Force Survey, an on-line first, multi-mode survey until June 2023.
  3. The Board would continue to remain engaged in the delivery of the ARIES programme.

13. Any Other Business

  1. The next meeting would take place on 26 January.
  2. Sir Robert paid warm tribute to the Non-Executive Directors who were coming to the end of their appointments, Professor Anne Trefethen and Helen Boaden, on 31 December, and Professor Jonathan Haskel ending on 1 February. (Professor Haskel had noted apologies for the January Board meeting).

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