The RSS warmly welcomes the appointment of Sir David Norgrove as new chair of the UK Statistics Authority. He will replace Sir Andrew Dilnot who steps down from the role at the end of March, it was confirmed in parliament on Tuesday.
Sir David is a former private secretary (1985-1988) to the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and spent 16 years with Marks & Spencer until 2004. He then became the inaugural chair of the Pensions Regulator (in 2005), chaired the Low Pay Commission from 2009 to 2016 and led a review of the family justice system in 2010-11 (leading to his knighthood in 2016 for services to the low paid and family justice). He currently chairs Pensions First, the Family Justice Board and the Amnesty International Charitable Trust.
He was named as the government's preferred candidate by the Cabinet Office in a letter to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee (PACAC) on 11 January. After a pre-appointment PACAC hearing was conducted on 24 January, a report (PDF) confirmed that the committee was 'satisfied that Sir David Norgrove has both the professional competences and personal independence necessary to fulfil this role'. The House of Commons endorsed the decision in a debate on Tuesday 7 March 2017.
The RSS has engaged with the work of the UKSA since its creation in 2007 and takes a keen interest in the development of good quality official statistics in the UK, as set out in our Data Manifesto. In a recent press release (PDF) we published a series of key points that we consider a priority for the incoming chair - including economic statistics, the 2021 census, the misuse of statistics in public debate, and the potential impact of Brexit on official statistics.
Mike Hughes, Chair of the RSS National Statistics Advisory Group said: ‘We are looking forward to working with Sir David to continue to improve the relevance and quality of official statistics in the UK, and wish him well in the new role.’