UK Statistics Authority

UK Statistics Authority

The UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) is the name for the non-ministerial department created by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. It took on its powers on 1 April, 2008.

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 initial members are: "Non-executive members", appointed in open competition: Lord Rowe-Beddoe of Kilgetty, deputy chairman for governance of the Office for National Statistics, Professor Adrian Smith FRS, 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 defunct Statistics Commission, Partha Dasgupta, Sir Alan Langlands, Moira Gibb & Professor Steve Nickell.

The Authority will also include "executive members" from the Office for National Statistics, including its chief executive, Karen Dunnell, who is the National Statistician and head of the Government Statistical Service, along with two other senior officials, one of whom is responsible for finance and another to be appointed to be responsible for the assessment of non-ONS statistics.

External links

* [ UK Statistics Authority website]

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