The UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) has today set out its vision for official statistics over the next five years in a strategy document which pledges to increase its impact with more ambitious, innovative and collaborative ways of using data for the public good.
The past five years has seen the Authority make key changes to its structure, including the development of the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) and the launch of its Data Science Campus. It’s also sought to build public trust by ending pre-release access to official statistics and re-developing the Code of Practice for Statistics.
More recently, the current pandemic has caused the Authority to quickly adopt different ways of working, such as launching a national Covid-19 prevalence study and providing real-time information about people and businesses.
In the new strategy, the Authority pledges ‘to keep up the momentum, to make greater data sharing and innovation and a much wider reach of our information across society permanent features our statistical system.’
It also acknowledges that along with more data sharing comes a greater need to maintain public trust, stating: ‘We must not be afraid to call out publicly where evidence and data are used unscrupulously, or where the integrity of official evidence is undermined.’
RSS President Deborah Ashby has responded to the announcement on behalf of the RSS: ‘This new strategy comes at a crucial time for statistics,’ she says. ‘As we have been gripped by a global pandemic, the work of statisticians has never been so important in helping to inform the public and government so that decisions can be made based on the best evidence.
‘The UK Statistics Authority has made some great strides over the last five years, from increasing public trust by removing much pre-release access, to the creation and development of the Office for Statistics Regulation. Going forward we would like to see greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion and on user engagement. Heads of Profession [who manage statistical activities within government departments] also need to be better supported and their role strengthened to ensure statistical integrity in all government departments.
‘I am delighted that UKSA described our contribution to its new strategy as “invaluable” and would like to thank the members of our National Statistics Advisory Group, in particular, for their input. I'm looking forward to seeing this strategy - which I broadly welcome - put into practice.’
Read the UKSA Strategy, 'Statistics for the Public Good' in full.