The UK Statistics Authority was established under the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. The Authority is an independent statutory body. It operates at arm’s length from government as a non-ministerial department and reports directly to the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly. The work of the Authority is further defined under secondary legislation made under the Act by the UK Parliament or the devolved legislatures.
The Authority has a statutory objective of promoting and safeguarding the production and publication of official statistics that ‘serve the public good’. The public good includes:
- informing the public about social and economic matters;
- assisting in the development and evaluation of public policy; and
- regulating quality and publicly challenging the misuse of statistics.
Official statistics are for the benefit of society and the economy as a whole; not only in government policy-making and the evaluation of government performance, but also informing the direction of economic and commercial activities. Statistics provide valuable data and evidence for analysts, researchers, public and voluntary bodies, enabling the public to hold to account all organisations that spend public money, and informing wider public debate. The Authority wants to see official statistics enabling sound policy decisions, and providing a firm evidence base for decision-making both inside and outside of government.