The collection of official statistics in the UK has a long history; however the origins of our current statistical system can be dated to 1941, when the Central Statistical Office (CSO) was established to improve the coherence of statistics.

In 1960 the Business Statistics Office and the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS) were established, and in 1996 the CSO merged with the OPCS to form the Office for National Statistics.

By this time, a wider and decentralised UK statistical system was in operation. In 1968 Lord Moser had developed the concept of the Government Statistical System (GSS) – a community of professionals and other civil servants across government responsible for the production of statistics. The GSS is still in operation today.

Between 2000 and 2008, the UK statistical system was governed by the non-statutory Framework for National Statistics. The Framework established the non-statutory Statistics Commission and the role of National Statistician, and introduced concepts such as national statistics and the former National Statistics Code of Practice.

The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, which came into effect on 1 April 2008, retained some aspects of the previous statistical system but also notably provided for the creation of a new Statistics Board, responsible for promoting and safeguarding the production and publication of official statistics. For further information on the Act, please see Legislation.

Key historical documents

The key historical documents that have been part of the development of the UK statistical system: 'Inter Administration Working Agreement on Statistics' (2013) Following a review of the Concordat on…


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