Meet NSDEC

Ian Cope is Chair of the National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee by appointment of the National Statistician. Ian joined the Office for National Statistics in 1989 and has worked across all sites on Economic Statistics, Business Surveys and the Census. From June 2003, Ian led the early work on the 2011 Census, including investigations of alternative sources. From 2007 – 2012, Ian led the operational (public facing) aspects of the census, including data capture, online census and the large temporary field force. Ian has led development work on the ONS website (October 2011 – March 2012) and the European System of Accounts (the EU implementation of new international economic standards). He took up post as Director of Population and Demography in March 2013, with responsibility for the 2011 Census (including census results and census web dissemination via the ONS Data Explorer and ONS API), Life Events statistics, Population Statistics and the Beyond 2011 Programme (investigating future options for census-type data collection), which has recently led to the National Statistician’s recommendation for an online 2021 Census, plus greater use of administrative data. In January 2015 Ian became full time Census Director for the 2021 Census.


Robert Bumpstead is Deputy Director with responsibility for the UK Statistics Authority’s policy secretariat and Deputy Chair of the National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee. Rob has worked in official statistics for more than 15 years, including spells in social survey research, analysis and statistics. Topics he has worked on include statistics and research about mental health, ethnicity and identity, housing, labour market and population. Rob’s current role includes supporting the Authority Chair, the National Statistician and his three deputies and developing policy around access, use and sharing of data for statistics and research purposes.


Martin Severs is the Caldicott guardian and Lead Clinician at NHS Digital. He is a consultant geriatrician and Associate Dean (clinical practice) at the University of Portsmouth. He is also coordinator of the University of Portsmouth Ageing Network. Martin has been involved in health informatics and has held a number of national and international roles including Chairman of the Management Board of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation, Chairman of the Information Standards Board and the clinical lead for the Caldicott Information Governance review.


Osama Rahman Since December 2014, Osama has been the Director for Analytical Services and Chief Economist at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). He joined the Civil Service in 2003 as an Economic Adviser in the Department for Constitutional Affair’s (DCA), working on reforming the regulation of Legal Services. He then became Chief Economist and Head of Economics and Statistics Division at DCA. He has previously been Deputy Director for Constitution and Access to Justice Analytical Services and Deputy Director for Strategic Reform, Forecasting and Finance Analytical Services. Osama has overall responsibility for ensuring that advice to ministers is evidence based and – working with the MoJ’s Chief Statistician – he is responsible for ensuring that the MoJ’s statistical publications are of high quality and help to inform public debate by providing transparency.


Stephen Balchin is currently interim Head of Profession for Statistics at Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) where he’s responsible for a range of statistical outputs including Family Resources Survey based Households Below Average Incomes, estimates of Fraud and Error in the benefit system and the wide range of statistics based on DWP’s benefit system. He’s had a range of posts in DWP including leading a team providing analytical support to Finance and Human Resources, Lead Analyst for Social Justice looking at most disadvantaged in the Labour Market and developing analysis on older workers. Before working in DWP he worked in No 10, HM Treasury providing distributional analysis on taxes and benefits and in ONS.


Marion Oswald has been appointed for the duration of three years. Marion is a Senior Fellow in Law at the University of Winchester. With previous experience in legal roles within private practice, international companies and UK central government, she has worked extensively in the fields of data protection, freedom of information and information technology, advising on a number of information technology implementations, data sharing projects and statutory reforms. Since joining the University of Winchester, Marion has presented, published and advised on the subjects of privacy, data sharing, information technology and information law and is the founder and head of the department’s research and consultancy centre; the Centre for Information Rights. She organises the Centre’s annual conference on Trust, Risk, Information & the Law. Marion is a member of the Information Commissioner’s Office’s Research Network. She is an executive member of the British & Irish Law, Education & Technology Association.


Isabel Nisbet has been appointed for the duration of two years. Isabel has had a career in senior roles in government and regulation, particularly of medicine and education. She was the first CEO of Ofqual, the regulator of examinations and qualifications in England. She is an affiliated lecturer at the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education and serves on a number of boards, including that of Qualifications Wales and the Board of Governors of the University of Hertfordshire. Her academic background is in philosophy and she has engaged throughout her career in ethical issues, particularly medical ethics. She also holds a ministerial appointment to the Home Office’s National DNA Database Ethics Advisory Group.


Colin Godbold has been appointed for the duration of three years. Colin is an independent consultant specialising in delivery of large scale information technology and organisational change programmes. Formerly a partner in IBM’s consultancy and services practice, Colin has had a successful business career spanning over 30 years, during which he has led the delivery of many complex programmes in both public and private sectors. He has worked closely with a wide variety of UK government departments and currently holds a number of advisory appointments, including vice chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee and lay member of the Administrative Data Research Network Board. He was educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Durham and is a Chartered and European Engineer and a fellow of the British Computer Society. Colin has a particular interest in the security and privacy of personal data stored in digital systems.


Annie Hitchman has been appointed for the duration of two years. Annie has served on various committees of the Bar Standards Board and now sits on their Standards Committee. She also serves as Fitness to Practice Panellist for both the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Health and Care Professions Council. Her current public appointment is on the Skipton Fund Appeals Panel and she also sits on the North East Regional Advisory Committee for Clinical Excellence Awards. Annie has also held public appointments as a non-executive director on Health Trusts and as a member of two Consumer Councils. Her career was in the field of further and higher education, during which time she was Head of Strategic Planning for Durham County Council Local Education Authority.


Vanessa Cuthill has been appointed for the duration of three years. Vanessa has held senior roles in research councils and universities over the past seventeen years. Up until September 2016 she was a Deputy Director and immediately prior to that Strategic Lead for Business Critical projects at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). During this time she has commissioned and led projects establishing social sciences data resources including the Administrative Data Research Network and longitudinal surveys; advised on health and social data legislation developments and policy, working closely with a wide range of government departments and other research funders; and scoped and funded public dialogues exploring public acceptability of using administrative data. Prior to the ESRC she worked at the University of Bath, during which time she established their social sciences ethics committee. Vanessa is now the Director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Essex.


Keith Dugmore has been appointed for the duration of three years. Keith is an Honorary Professor in the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London. Starting his career in 1972 at the Greater London Council, and also having worked for the commercial companies CACI and MVA Systematica, in 1998 he founded the Demographics User Group (DUG) to represent to government the interest that large commercial companies (such as Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, and Whitbread) have in using public data. Before initiating DUG, Keith also set up the Demographic Decisions consultancy company, which has carried out many projects for both commercial and public service clients, and he is now working with UCL’s Consumer Data Research Centre. He is an active member and fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, and the Market Research Society. In 2014 Keith was awarded an MBE for Services to UK Business.


Dr. Brent Mittelstadt is a Research Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute and University College London, a Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute and a Former Fellow of St. Cross College, University of Oxford. His research focuses on the ethics of algorithms, machine learning, artificial intelligence and data analytics (‘Big Data’). Over the past five years his focus has broadly been on the ethics and governance of emerging information technologies, including a special interest in medical applications. His current work examines the feasibility of ethical auditing for decision-making algorithms, including the development of standards and methods to ensure fairness, accountability, transparency, interpretability and group privacy in complex algorithmic systems. His work addresses norms and methods for prevention and systematic identification of discriminatory and ethically problematic outcomes in decisions made by algorithmic and artificially intelligent systems.


Dr. Emma Uprichard is Reader at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick. She is co-editor of the International Journal of Social Research Methodology and board member of the journal Complexity, Governance and Networks. Her work is driven by the methodological challenge of studying complex social systems across time and space and developing methods suitable for policy planning. She led the University of Warwick’s Nuffield/ESRC/HEFCE Q-Step bid (£1.3m) and subsequently set up what is now the Warwick Q-Step Centre, part of a trail-blazing initiative designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training in the UK. She is recipient of the IBM Faculty Award for a project on ‘Big Data and Real Time Analytics: Ethics and Data Linkage’ and a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute in which she is exploring the use of data science for government policy planning and practice. She is also co-investigator of CECAN: the ‘Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus’ (led by Prof. Nigel Gilbert), a £3m national research centre funded and supported by the ESRC, Defra, BEIS, NERC, EA, and FSA which is tasked with, among other things, developing a range of cutting-edge methods for complex evaluation. She is currently writing a monograph on Time and Method (Routledge), which reflects on the methodological im/possibilities of capturing social change empirically.