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 (2008-04-01)
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 NorgroveChairMarch 2017[6]
Sian JonesDeputy Chair1 July 2016[7]
Prof. Sir Adrian Smith FRSNon-executive member1 September 2012[8]
Prof. David Hand OBE FBANon-executive member1 April 2013[9]
Prof. Jonathan HaskelNon-executive member1 February 2016[10]
Nora NanayakkaraNon-executive member1 July 2016[7]
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond FBA FRSE FAcSSNon-executive member1 June 2018[11]
Prof. Anne Trefethen FBCS FREngNon-executive member1 June 2018[11]
Helen BoadenNon-executive member1 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 LevyNon Executive Director1 August 201230 May 2019
Dame Colette Bowe DBENon-Executive Director1 April 200831 March 2018
Dame Moira Gibb DBE Non-Executive Director1 February 200831 January 2018
Sir Andrew Dilnot CBEChair1 April 201231 March 2017
Ms Carolyn Fairbairn Non-Executive Director 1 April 201330 September 2015
Professor David RhindDeputy Chair (Statistics System) 1 July 201230 June 2015
Mr Partha DasguptaNon-Executive Director1 April 200830 June 2014
Sir Jon ShortridgeNon-Executive Director 1 February 201030 October 2012
Lord David Rowe-Beddoe Deputy Chair (ONS) 1 April 200831 August 2012
Sir Michael Scholar KCBChair1 April 200831 March 2012
Professor Sir Roger Jowell CBEDeputy Chair (Statistics System)11 November 200826 December 2011
Professor Stephen Nickell CBE FBANon-Executive Director1 April 200831 October 2010
Sir Alan Langlands FRSENon-Executive Director1 April 200812 April 2009


  1. UK Statistics Authority. UK Statistics Authority Annual Report and Accounts 2017/18. London. ISBN 9781528605892. OCLC 1053733779.
  2. "Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007",, The National Archives, 2007 c. 18
  3. "Timeline". Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  4. "The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 (Commencement No. 2 and Transitional Provision) Order 2008",, The National Archives, SI 1948/839
  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. "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. "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".
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