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Coordinates: 51°33′58″N 3°01′37″W / 51.566°N 3.027°W / 51.566; -3.027 The UK Statistics Authority is a non-ministerial department created by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. The Authority took on its powers on 1 April 2008 and is based in Newport, Wales.

Contents

Functions

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'.[1]

Background

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, Karen Dunnell, stated at the time that 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.

Board Members of the UK Statistics Authority

In addition to Sir Michael Scholar, the chairman, its other members are: Non-executive members, appointed in open competition: Lord Rowe-Beddoe of Kilgetty, deputy chairman responsible for governance of the Office for National Statistics, Professor Sir Roger Jowell, deputy chairman with responsibility for promoting and safeguarding the production and publication of all official statistics across the UK, Professor David Rhind, previously chairman of the Statistics Commission, Partha Dasgupta, Sir Alan Langlands, Moira Gibb & Professor Stephen Nickell.[2]

The Authority's membership also includes three executive members including the National Statistician, Karen Dunnell, who is also head of the Government Statistical Service, and the Authority's Head of Assessment, Richard Alldritt, who is responsible for the independent assessment of official statistics.

Notes

External links

[[Category::Government agencies established in 2008]]

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