Methodological Assurance Review Panel


The Methodological Assurance Review Panel (MARP) has been formed by the National Statistician to review and provide advice and assurance on methods used to produce official statistics, in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics’ guidelines on quality assurance through peer review.

In particular, the panel will focus on some of the significant change programmes where new or revised statistical methods are being introduced or changed, such as:

  • the 2023 Recommendation on the future of Population Statistics,
  • the transformation of Household finances,
  • the transformed labour force survey.

The focus of the reviews undertaken each year will change dependent on the various programme phases.

Occasionally, ONS carries out deep dive quality reviews as a way of focusing on one area and identifying the risks to quality. The National Statistician may ask the panel to oversee the assurance of these.

The review panel was originally set up in 2018 to undertake a review of methods and research associated with the 2021 Census and the National Statistician’s 2023 Recommendation about the future of population statistics. In 2023, the remit of the panel was widened to include change programmes across the Office for National Statistics.

 Purpose of the Panel

The purpose of the review panel is to:

  • Provide external, independent assurance and guidance on the statistical methodology underpinning ONS statistical production and research,
  • Identify significant gaps and risks in methods and make suggestions for mitigation,
  • Review the methods being developed for major ONS programmes and contribute to their continuous improvement,
  • Provide oversight of methodological deep dives which ONS may undertake across its portfolio.

Panel membership

Bernard Silverman’s statistical research has ranged widely across theoretical, computational and applied aspects of statistics, with collaborations in many areas of science, industry and government.  After an academic career, he was Chief Scientific Adviser to the Home Office from 2010 to 2017.  His current portfolio encompasses research, consultancy, and expert advice, in areas such as modern slavery, security, official statistics, and science and technology for policy, business and government.

Visit Sir Bernard’s personal site.

Dr Oliver Duke-Williams

Oliver Duke-Williams is an Associate Professor in Digital Information Studies at University College London. His research focuses include statistical disclosure control and demographic information capture in the UK. He is currently Acting Service Director for Census at the UK Data Service, and is also a Senior Adviser to the Centre for Longitudinal Study Information and User Support, which facilitates access to the ONS Longitudinal Study.

Read Dr Oliver Duke-Williams’ academic profile.

Nik Lomax is Professor of Population Geography at the University of Leeds and a fellow at the Alan Turing Institute for data science and artificial intelligence. His research includes the estimation and projection of ethnic group populations, small area projections, modelling of migration, and the use of consumer data in demographic research. Nik is co-director of the Consumer Data Research Centre.

Read Prof Nik Lomax’s academic profile.

David Martin is Professor of Geography at the University of Southampton. His research concerns many aspects of spatial population modelling and led to the current system of census output areas and workplace zones used by the Office for National Statistics.  He has previously served as a member of the Economic and Social Research Council and led its Census Programme, and is currently a deputy director of the UK Data Service.

Read Prof David Martin’s academic profile.

Natalie Shlomo is currently Professor of Social Statistics at The University of Manchester, leading research focused on survey statistics and survey methodology. She is the UK principal investigator for several collaborative grants from the 7th Framework Programme and H2020 of the European Union involving research in advancing survey statistics and dissemination. She was also principal investigator for the Leverhulme Trust International Network Grant on Bayesian Adaptive Survey Designs 2015-2018 and an ESRC Research Grant on Theoretical Sampling Design Options for a New UK Birth Cohort 2019.

Read Prof Natalie Shlomo’s academic profile.

Professor Ana Basiri holds a chair position in Geospatial Data Science at the University of Glasgow. She works on developing theoretical and applied solutions that consider missingness, under-representation and biases in data as a useful source of data itself to make inferences about the underlying reasons that caused missingness or bias in the first place. For this, she leads an interdisciplinary team working on “new forms of” data, such as social media and crowdsourced data. Ana is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, and the director of the Centre for Data Science and AI.

Read Prof Ana Basiri’s academic profile.

Carl Emmerson is Deputy Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and an editor of the annual IFS Green Budget. He is also a member of the Social Security Advisory Committee and the advisory panel of the Office for Budget Responsibility. His recent research has included analysis of the impact of the financial crisis and associated recession, and the Government’s response, on the UK’s public finances. He has examined the effect of UK pension reforms – both state and private – on the public finances, retirement behaviour, labour market mobility, incentives to save and inequality, and has evaluated the large scale pilots of the Education Maintenance Allowance, the Pathways-to-Work reforms to incapacity benefits and the Saving Gateway matched savings vehicle. He previously served as a specialist advisor to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee.

Read Carl Emmerson’s expert profile.

Panel Links