On 29 October 2014 the Authority published its strategy for the UK official statistics system for the five years 2015 to 2020. The collective mission of our official statistics system is: High quality statistics, analysis and advice to help Britain make better decisions.
The Authority’s strategy covers the three principal elements of the UK official statistics system for which the Authority has oversight. The Authority provides professional oversight of the Government Statistical Service (GSS), and has exclusive responsibility for the Office for National Statistics and the Office for Statistical Regulation.
Government Statistical Service (GSS)
The GSS is a cross-government network, spread across a range of public bodies, including components of the devolved administrations and UK government departments. Led by the National Statistician, it includes statisticians, researchers, economists, analysts, operational delivery staff, IT specialists and other supporting roles. The GSS community works together to provide the statistical evidence base required by decision-makers, publishing around 2,000 sets of statistics each year, and providing professional advice and analysis. ONS has an important role at the heart of the GSS, providing guidance, support, standards and training.
Office for National Statistics (ONS)
The ONS is the UK’s National Statistical Institute and largest producer of official statistics. ONS produces statistics on a range of key economic, social and demographic topics. Key services include measuring changes in the value of the UK economy (GDP), estimating the size, geographic distribution and characteristics of the population (including statistics from the Census), and providing indicators of price inflation, employment, earnings, crime and migration.
Office for Statistics Regulation
The Office for Statistics Regulation is the regulatory arm of the Authority. It ensures that statistics are produced and disseminated in the public interest, and meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value. It acts as guardian of the integrity of the statistical system, mitigating any threats to misuse, and advocating the highest standards. It does so by assessing official statistics for compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics, reporting publicly on system-wide issues and on the way statistics are being used, celebrating when the standards are upheld and challenging publicly when they are not.
The legislation requires strict separation of the functions of production and regulation, where those involved in the production of statistics are not involved in the assessment of statistics against the Code. The Office for Statistics Regulation is led by the Director General for Regulation, who reports directly to the Chair of the Authority, and who operates independently from the National Statistician and all statistical producers and has full decision-making autonomy from ONS. The key arrangements to manage the relationship between the Office for Statistics Regulation and other parts of the UK Statistics Authority, particularly ONS, can be found at ‘Relationship with the rest of the Authority‘.