Next chair of the UK Statistics Authority – statement sets out Society’s views

Written by Web News Editor on . Posted in News

The next Chair of the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) need not be a professional statistician, but must have a profound grasp of the system of delivering accurate and reliable statistical information, courage, a willingness to put the needs of all users at the heart of the official statistics system, and imaginative understanding of how best to get numbers over to the public, according to a statement issued by the Royal Statistical Society’s National Statistics Working Party.
 
The statement identifies six priorities facing the new Chair:
 
  • Ensuring that the collection and dissemination of official statistics meet the needs of all users – not just those in central government.
  • Attempting, together with the National Statistician, to ensure that the official statistics produced by the UK’s decentralised and devolved system are coherent.
  • Supporting the National Statistician in forming a more coherent Government Statistical Service, developing a stronger “esprit decorps”, and maintaining high professional standards.
  • Acting as an advocate for official statistics and speaking out against misuse of them by politicians (inside or outside government), public bodies or other major entities, or any plans or practices which devalue them.
  • Maintaining and, where necessary, strengthening the UKSA’s function of scrutinising the output of official statistics.
  • Coping with the different, and sometimes conflicting, responsibilities of the Authority.
 
The statement adds that “The promise of the 2007 Statistics and Registration Service Act has yet to be fully realised and the choice of a Chair for the UKSA – a post of national significance – could make a big difference” concluding that “While the Chair does not need to be a statistician, the postholder must be capable of understanding detailed issues that arise and the interaction between statistical technicalities and policy or other issues.”
 

UK Statistics Authority

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