UK Statistics Authority

The UK Statistics Authority (UKSA, Welsh: Awdurdod Ystadegau'r DU) is a non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for oversight of the Office for National Statistics, maintaining a national code of practice for official statistics, and accrediting statistics that comply with the Code as National Statistics. UKSA was established on 1 April 2008 by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, and is directly accountable to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

UK Statistics Authority
Scottish Gaelic: Am Bòrd an Staitistig
Welsh: Y Bwrdd Ystadegau
Agency overview
Formed1 April 2008
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom
Annual budget£256m (2018)[1]
Minister responsible
Agency executives
Parent departmentCabinet Office
Child agency


Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on 28 November 2005, that the government intended to publish plans in early 2006 to legislate to render the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the statistics it generates independent of government on a model based on the independence of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England. This was originally a 1997 Labour Party manifesto commitment and was also the policy of the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties. Such independence was also sought by the Royal Statistical Society and the Statistics Commission. The National Statistician, who is the chief executive of the ONS, would be directly accountable to Parliament through a widely constituted independent governing Statistics Board. The ONS would be a non-ministerial government department so that the staff, including the Director, would remain as civil servants but without being under direct ministerial control. The National Statistician at the time, Karen Dunnell, stated that the legislation would help improve public trust in official statistics although the ONS already acts independently according to its own published guidelines, the National Statistics Code of Practice, which sets out the key principles and standards that official statisticians, including those in other parts of the Government Statistical Service, are expected to follow and uphold.

The details of the plans for independence were considered in Parliament during the 2006/2007 session and resulted in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. In July 2007, Sir Michael Scholar was nominated by the government to be the three-day-a-week non-executive chairman of the Statistics Board which, to re-establish faith in the integrity of government statistics, will take on statutory responsibility for oversight of UK statistics and will oversee the Office for National Statistics. It will also have a duty to assess all UK government statistics. Following Gordon Brown's later announcement on his 2007 appointment as Prime Minister of new constitutional arrangements for public appointments, Sir Michael also became, on 18 July, the first such nominee to appear before the House of Commons Treasury Committee and to have his nomination subject to confirmation by the House. On 7 February 2008, following the first meeting of the shadow board, it was announced that it will thereafter be known as the UK Statistics Authority.

UKSA was established on 1 April 2008 by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, and is directly accountable to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[2][3][4] It reports to Parliament through the Minister for the Cabinet Office.


Formally, the UK Statistics Authority has two main functions: oversight of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), replacing the oversight role previously performed by HM Treasury ministers; and independent monitoring and assessment of official statistics, maintaining a Code of Practice for Official Statistics and accrediting Code-compliant statistics as 'National Statistics'.[5] However, the chair can also act to comment on perceived misuse of official statistics by persons responsible or accountable for them. The assessment function has an operational role of producing reports on code compliance of specific sets of national statistics, and also a role making more strategic recommendations for the improvement of statistical outputs, in terms of both the presentation and coverage of official statistics as well as monitoring public trust in government statistics. Indeed, the original provisions had three roles listed: governance of ONS; assessment against and enforcement of a code of practice; and to report on the quality and comprehensiveness of Official statistics across government and non-departmental government bodies.

The UKSA has reported on the need to improve commentary supporting the release of official statistics, and the procedures and extent of pre-release access to official statistics by government ministers. The authority has also produced reports on the impact of cuts to specific statistical activity, such as the citizenship survey, especially where these changes affect users in other bodies. Other reports focus on statistics relating to a particular sector such as health and charities both of which have relevant data collected by more than one government body. A specific stream of work has been on user engagement, identifying the uses of official statistics and the extent to which the needs of users are taken into account by producers.

Current Board members

Member Current rôle Started
Sir David Norgrove Chair March 2017[6]
Sian Jones Deputy Chair 1 July 2016[7]
Prof. Sir Adrian Smith FRS Non-executive member 1 September 2012[8]
Prof. David Hand OBE FBA Non-executive member 1 April 2013[9]
Prof. Jonathan Haskel Non-executive member 1 February 2016[10]
Nora Nanayakkara Non-executive member 1 July 2016[7]
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond FBA FRSE FAcSS Non-executive member 1 June 2018[11]
Prof. Anne Trefethen FBCS FREng Non-executive member 1 June 2018[11]
Helen Boaden Non-executive member 1 June 2019[12]

Ex officio executive members

As well as the nine non-executive members of the Board, there are three civil servants who serve as executive members as a part of their jobs. They are:

  • John Pullinger, the National Statistician and head of the Government Statistical Service
  • Ed Humpherson, the Authority's Head of Assessment, responsible for the independent assessment of official statistics
  • One of the three Office for National Statistics (ONS) Directors General on a rotational basis:[13]
    • Jonathan Athow, ONS Director General and Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics
    • Heather Savory, ONS Director General and Deputy National Statistician for Data Capability
    • Iain Bell, ONS Director General and Deputy National Statistician for Population and Public Policy

Former members

Member Rôle Started End
Dr David Levy Non Executive Director 1 August 2012 30 May 2019
Dame Colette Bowe DBE Non-Executive Director 1 April 2008 31 March 2018
Dame Moira Gibb DBE  Non-Executive Director 1 February 2008 31 January 2018
Sir Andrew Dilnot CBE Chair 1 April 2012 31 March 2017
Ms Carolyn Fairbairn  Non-Executive Director  1 April 2013 30 September 2015
Professor David Rhind Deputy Chair (Statistics System)  1 July 2012 30 June 2015
Mr Partha Dasgupta Non-Executive Director 1 April 2008 30 June 2014
Sir Jon Shortridge Non-Executive Director  1 February 2010 30 October 2012
Lord David Rowe-Beddoe Deputy Chair (ONS)  1 April 2008 31 August 2012
Sir Michael Scholar KCB Chair 1 April 2008 31 March 2012
Professor Sir Roger Jowell CBE Deputy Chair (Statistics System) 11 November 2008 26 December 2011
Professor Stephen Nickell CBE FBA Non-Executive Director 1 April 2008 31 October 2010
Sir Alan Langlands FRSE Non-Executive Director 1 April 2008 12 April 2009


  1. ^ a b UK Statistics Authority. UK Statistics Authority Annual Report and Accounts 2017/18. London. ISBN 9781528605892. OCLC 1053733779.
  2. ^ UK Parliament. Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 as amended (see also enacted form), from
  3. ^ "Timeline". Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  4. ^ UK Parliament. The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 (Commencement No. 2 and Transitional Provision) Order 2008 as made, from
  5. ^ "What we do". UK Statistics Authority. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Sir David Norgrove appointed as Chair of the UK Statistics Authority". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b "UK Statistics Authority: board appointments". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Professor Sir Adrian Smith FRS". UK Statistics Authority. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  9. ^ London, Main campus address: Imperial College; Campus, South Kensington; SW7 2AZ, London; maps, tel: +4420 7589 5111 Campus; in, information | About this site | This site uses cookies | Report incorrect content | Log. "Appointments to the Board of the UK Statistics Authority | Imperial News | Imperial College London". Imperial News. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Professor Haskel appointed to UK Statistics Authority Board". Imperial College Business School Intelligence Hub. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  11. ^ a b "UK Statistics Authority non-executive board member appointments". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  12. ^ "UK Statistics Authority non-executive board member appointment: Helen Boaden". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  13. ^ "The Board".

External links

Andrew Dilnot

Sir Andrew William Dilnot, (born 19 June 1960) is a British economist and broadcaster. He was formerly the Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies from 1991 to 2002, and was Principal of St Hugh's College, Oxford between 2002 and 2012. As of September 2012 he is Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford. He took up post as Chair of the UK Statistics Authority in April 2012.

Ball v Johnson

Ball v Johnson was an attempted private prosecution application by Marcus Ball and his company Brexit Justice Limited, on 29 May 2019, against Boris Johnson for three counts of alleged misconduct in public office. The applicants alleged that Johnson "in his position as a Member of Parliament and Mayor of London, abused the public's trust during the 2016 Brexit referendum by lying about the United Kingdom's spending on European Union membership".

Johnson repeatedly claimed that "we will take back control of roughly £350m per week" and subsequently said that the "gross figure by 2022, were we to stay in towards the end of this Parliament, would be £438 million a week." The head of the UK Statistics Authority Sir David Norgrove called the claim "a clear misuse of official statistics". Ball alleges that Johnson knew that these claims were false and made them anyway.

On 23 February the prosecution laid an information of the case at Westminster Magistrates' Court and filed an application for a summons against Johnson. Subsequently a district judge issued a summons against Johnson and set the first hearing for 14 May.The case was thrown out by the High Court in June 2019.On 3 July 2019 in Johnson v Westminster Magistrates' Court, the Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court) of the High Court of England and Wales granted permission and allowed an application for judicial review brought by Boris Johnson against the original decision of the District Judge in Westminster Magistrates' Court, quashing the original decision, finding that the District Judge had acted unlawfully in accepting the private prosecution application and allowing the private prosecution to proceed, and quashing the summons issued for (requiring) Johnson to appear (in court) as being unlawfully issued; the court also found that the original private prosecution application vexatious in nature.

Beyond 2011

Beyond 2011 also known as The Beyond 2011 Programme is a project initiated by the UK Statistics Authority to look at the alternatives to running a Census in 2021. In 2008 UK Government Treasury Select Committee had expressed concerns about the increasing cost of running the census and inaccuracies in data gathered only every ten years. In 2010 the newly elected coalition government reiterated such concerns responding to a report by the UK Statistics Authority.

The Beyond 2011 Programme was established in 2011 to look at alternatives to the traditional census approach. The UK Statistics Authority will coordinate activity with its counterparts in the devolved administrations of Scotland and Northern Ireland which have also set up reviews of the future approach to population data provision. In 2012 six options were identified by the Beyond 2011 Programme for further consideration, ranging from a full 10-year census to rolling or smaller scale annual surveys, some supplemented by administrative data capture.

In 2014 the UK Statistics Authority announced its recommendation for the 2021 census in England and Wales. It proposed that in 2021 there should be a decennial census for England and Wales which would be conducted predominantly through online returns, supplemented by the further use of administrative and survey data. A parallel announcement for Scotland's 2021 census was made by the National Records for Scotland.Following agreement to the recommendations in January 2015 the UK Statistics Authority formally closed the Beyond 2011 Programme. It has been replaced by the Census Transformation Programme which has the purpose of taking forward and implementing the vision and recommended approaches.

Cabinet Office

The Cabinet Office is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for supporting the Prime Minister and Cabinet of the United Kingdom. It is composed of various units that support Cabinet committees and which co-ordinate the delivery of government objectives via other departments. It currently has just over 2,000 staff, most of whom work in Whitehall. Staff working in the Prime Minister's Office are part of the Cabinet Office.

Carolyn Fairbairn

Dame Carolyn Julie Fairbairn DBE (born 13 December 1960) is a British businesswoman, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry and former non-executive director of the Competition and Markets Authority, Lloyds Banking Group and the UK Statistics Authority.

David Norgrove

Sir David Ronald Norgrove (born 23 January 1948) is an English businessman and government official. He was the first chair of The Pensions Regulator, and is the current chair of PensionsFirst, the Family Justice Board and the Low Pay Commission. In January 2017, the Cabinet Office announced that it intended to appoint Sir David as Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, replacing Sir Andrew Dilnot at the end of March 2017.

Debt Management Office

The UK Debt Management Office (DMO) is the executive agency responsible for carrying out UK Government's debt management.

FTSE Fledgling Index

The FTSE Fledgling Index comprises companies listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) which qualify as eligible for inclusion in the FTSE UK series but are too small to be included in the FTSE All-Share Index. There is no liquidity requirement for constituents of the FTSE Fledgling Index.

This Index is calculated on an end-of-day basis.

Fishing industry in England

The fishing industry in England covers the fish processing industry and fishing trawler companies that fish around England.

John Pullinger

John James Pullinger (born 1 June 1959) was the National Statistician for the United Kingdom, serving in this role from 1 July 2014 until retiring on 30 June 2019. He was succeeded on an interim basis by his deputy Jonathan Athow, and will be succeeded permanently by Sir Ian Diamond from October 2019.

National Statistician

The National Statistician is the Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, and the Head of the UK Government Statistical Service.

The office was created by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. The UK Statistics Authority announced that Professor Sir Ian Diamond would take over as National Statistician in October 2019, following the retirement of John Pullinger in June 2019.

Nicky Morgan

Nicola Ann Morgan (née Griffith; born 1 October 1972), known as Nicky Morgan, is a British politician serving as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport since 2019. A member of the Conservative Party, she has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Loughborough since the 2010 United Kingdom general election. Morgan served as Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities from 2014 until 2016; the then-new Prime Minister Theresa May removed her from these positions.She previously served as Economic Secretary to the Treasury from October 2013 to April 2014 and as Financial Secretary to the Treasury from April to July 2014. In July 2017, Morgan was elected Chair of the Treasury Select Committee following the 2017 General Election.

Office for National Statistics

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to the UK Parliament.

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee is a select committee appointed by the British House of Commons to examine the reports of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, and to consider matters relating to the quality and standards of administration provided by civil service departments, and other matters relating to the civil service, mostly for England and Wales, and constitutional affairs.

It is the principal select committee to which Cabinet Office ministers are accountable and thus handles pre appointment and accountability hearings for independent officers, with an independent civil society or cross departmental role, such as the First Civil Service Commissioner, the chair of the UK Statistics Authority and the chair of the Charity Commission.

The committee chooses its own subjects of inquiry, within its overall terms of reference; however, it seeks evidence from a wide variety of individuals and groups with relevant interests and experience. The members of the committee are drawn from the three largest political parties, and the committee itself mainly publishes its results through reports and making its recommendations known to the government.Created on 3 June 2015, the committee replaced the longstanding Public Administration Select Committee and the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, first formed in June 2010.

Statistics Commission

The Statistics Commission was a non-departmental public body established in June 2000 by the UK Government to oversee the work of the Office for National Statistics. Its chairman was Professor David Rhind who succeeded the first chairman, Sir John Kingman, in May 2003. Although it was non-departmental, the Commission was funded by grant-in-aid from the Treasury. Following the implementation of the Statistics & Registration Services Act 2007, the commission was abolished. Its functions were to be taken over and considerably enhanced by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA), whose powers began on 1 April 2008 under the chairmanship of Sir Michael Scholar. Professor Rhind is among the non-executive members of the new authority, to which the ONS is accountable. This contrasts with the duties of the previous Commission which were limited to reporting, observing and criticizing ONS while it, until 2008, has been publicly accountable via a Treasury minister.

Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007

The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 (c 18) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which established the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA). It came into force in April 2008. Sir Michael Scholar was appointed as the first Chair of the UKSA.

The Act established the UK Statistics Authority as a non-ministerial department that employs the National Statistician. The National Statistician has an office to support them, the Office for National Statistics.

United Kingdom census, 2011

A census of the population of the United Kingdom is taken every ten years. The 2011 census was held in all countries of the UK on 27 March 2011. It was the first UK census which could be completed online via the Internet. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for the census in England and Wales, the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) is responsible for the census in Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) is responsible for the census in Northern Ireland.

The Office for National Statistics is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department formed in 2008 and which reports directly to Parliament. ONS is the UK Government's single largest statistical producer of independent statistics on the UK's economy and society, used to assist the planning and allocation of resources, policy-making and decision-making. ONS designs, manages and runs the census in England and Wales. In its capacity as the national statistics office for the United Kingdom, ONS also compiles and releases census tables for the United Kingdom when the data from England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are complete.

In the run-up to the census both the main UK political parties expressed concerns about the increasing cost and the value for money of the census, and it was suggested that the 2011 census might be the last decennial census to be taken.The first results from the 2011 census, age and sex, and occupied households estimates for England and Wales and Northern Ireland, were released on 16 July 2012. The first results for Scotland, and the first UK-wide results, were published on 17 December 2012. More detailed and specialised data were published from 2013.

United Kingdom census, 2021

The UK Statistics Authority announced on 27 March 2014 that it had recommended to the United Kingdom Government that the next census in England and Wales should take place in 2021, a decade after the previous census in March 2011. The National Records of Scotland (NRS) also reported on the same date that it was proposing to the Scottish Government that a census in Scotland should also take place in 2021. A further detailed plan was published by NRS on 27 September 2018. In October 2014 the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), which is responsible for the census in Northern Ireland, published its proposals to conduct a census in 2021. These announcements followed on from a series of co-ordinated research projects known collectively as the Beyond 2011 Programme.

The UK Statistics Authority, which coordinates the United Kingdom census, has proposed that the 2021 census should be conducted predominantly online and be supplemented by the use of administrative and survey data. Legislation will be required by the Westminster government and devolved administrations.

and labour
Trade and


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