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
UK Statistics Authority logo.svg
Agency overview
Formed1 April 2008; 13 years ago (2008-04-01)
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom
Headquarters1 Drummond Gate
SW1V 2QQ[1]
Annual budget£256m (2018)[2]
Minister responsible
Agency executives
Parent departmentCabinet Office
Child agency Edit this at Wikidata


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.[3][4][5] 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'.[6] 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

Current Board membersEdit

Member Current rôle Started
Sir David Norgrove Chair April 2017[7]
Sian Jones Deputy Chair 1 July 2016[8]
Helen Boaden Non-executive member 1 June 2019[9]
Richard Dobbs Non-executive member 27 May 2020[10]
Prof. David Hand OBE FBA Non-executive member 1 April 2013[11]
Prof. Jonathan Haskel Non-executive member 1 February 2016[12]
Nora Nanayakkara Non-executive member 1 July 2016[8]
Prof. Sir David Spiegelhalter Non-executive member 27 May 2020[10]
Prof. Anne Trefethen FBCS FREng Non-executive member 1 June 2018

Ex officio executive membersEdit

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:

  • Prof. Sir Ian Diamond FBA FRSE FAcSS, the National Statistician and head of the Government Statistical Service took up post 22 October 2019.[13]
  • 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:[14]
    • Jonathan Athow, ONS Director General and Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics
    • Frankie Kay, 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 Board Members[14]Edit

Member Role Started End
Prof. Sir Adrian Smith FRS Non-executive member 1 September 2012 31 March 2020
1 April 2008 1 September 2008
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond Non-executive member 1 June 2018 5 August 2019
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. ^ "Contact Us". UK Statistics Authority. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b UK Statistics Authority. (2018). UK Statistics Authority Annual Report and Accounts 2017/18. London. ISBN 9781528605892. OCLC 1053733779.
  3. ^ "Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007",, The National Archives, 2007 c. 18
  4. ^ "Timeline". Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  5. ^ "The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 (Commencement No. 2 and Transitional Provision) Order 2008",, The National Archives, SI 1948/839
  6. ^ "What we do". UK Statistics Authority. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Sir David Norgrove appointed as Chair of the UK Statistics Authority". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  8. ^ a b "UK Statistics Authority: board appointments". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  9. ^ "UK Statistics Authority non-executive board member appointment: Helen Boaden". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Appointment of two new Non-Executive Directors to the UK Statistics Authority Board". Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "Professor Haskel appointed to UK Statistics Authority Board". Imperial College Business School Intelligence Hub. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b "The Board".

External linksEdit