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About the National Statistician

The National Statistician’s role is to safeguard the production and publication of high quality official statistics by all departments, agencies and institutions within the UK. The current National Statistician is John Pullinger who took up post in July 2014. For a biography of John click here.

The National Statistician is the Statistics Authority’s and the Government’s principal adviser on official statistics. The National Statistician is the Head of the Government Statistical Service (GSS) and, as the Authority’s Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary, is a member of the Board of the UK Statistics Authority.

As the Head of the Government Statistical Service (GSS), the National Statistician provides professional leadership to all statisticians within the UK government and the devolved administrations, as well as other producers of official statistics.

The National Statistician also provides strategic oversight of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the executive body of the UK Statistics Authority, along with the ONS Board and its chair. From 1 September 2009, responsibility for the leadership of the Office for National Statistics was delegated to a new post, the Director-General, Office for National Statistics, who reports to the National Statistician.

The principal responsibilities of the National Statistician are to:

  • lead the planning of the development of statistics across government

  • draw up and promote guidance to help statisticians and other officials operate the Authority’s Code of Practice, and to promote Code-compliance

  • provide advice to ministers, the Cabinet Secretary and other senior officials on the production, dissemination and use of statistics across government

  • as Head of the Government Statistical Service, provide professional leadership to all statisticians within government, and to other producers of official statistics including the devolved administrations

  • maintain strategic oversight of the ONS

  • steer through an inter-departmental programme to improve migration and population statistics

  • maintain strong relationships with devolved administrations; respecting their specific needs for devolved and other statistics which serve their administration while ensuring as far as possible harmonisation, coherence and consistency in UK-wide statistics

  • act as head of the UK’s National Statistical Institute in European and other international fora, promoting UK interests as well as contributing to higher standards in statistics across the world