Governance

This guidance presents our approach to decision making across the UK statistical system. We lead the strategic direction of our work and manage the delivery of our goals. We do this through boards, committees, groups and forums.

We are a cross-government network spread across a whole range of public bodies. Parts of the devolved administrations and UK government departments are also included. The National Statistician leads the network. The network includes statisticians, researchers, economists, analysts and others. The statistics provide the statistical evidence base, analysis and advice needed by decision-makers. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has an important role within the GSS. The ONS provides guidance, support, standards and training.

Each government department that produces official statistics has a GSS Head of Profession (HoP). A HoP leads and manages the statistical activities within their own department. Some smaller departments and arm’s length bodies have a ‘lead official’ with accountability to a HoP from their sponsor department. They are accountable to their departmental management for day-to-day delivery. They also have a professional accountability to the National Statistician. The National Statistician is the Head of the GSS.

The National Statistics Executive Group (NSEG) is our main leadership forum. Membership includes two GSS Heads of Profession and colleagues from the devolved administrations. This reflects the Group’s remit across the statistical system.

Sub-committees of NSEG also have a GSS-wide remit of varying degrees. We invite all GSS Heads of Profession to attend quarterly meetings and regular group calls.
The National Statistician, Director General for Regulation and other senior colleagues from the Office for National Statistics also attend HoPs meetings.

We use these meetings to:

  • communicate and cascade best practice
  • discuss strategic and operational issues and help find solutions
  • build relationships and motivate collective leadership of the statistical system

Governance principles

We support the National Statistician in delivering the strategy ‘Statistics for the Public Good’. To do this, we have established the following principles to create governance that is:

  • coherent, where we make joined up decisions at the right level and we make them once
  • committed to the delivery of the strategy and associated business plans – we manage its strategic drivers, goals and risks
  • proactive and alert to emerging priorities – we work to predict problems from the users’ perspective and act to resolve them
  • collaborative, enabling us to share our plans early and often to achieve our goals
  • encouraging, enabling us to use the scale, influence and unique position to support success
  • inclusive, where we recognise and connect the unique and different parts of the GSS – we connect statisticians in devolved administrations, UK policy departments and arm’s length bodies
  • outward-looking, where we are open to working with others – we also work with the Government Analysis Function and other functions to achieve our goals

NSEG and sub-committees

Committees at this level are responsible for monitoring, organisational control and setting standards. They also provide assurance to NSEG.

We set up NSEG in October 2014. It is the most senior executive committee in the ONS. The National Statistician chairs this committee.
The NSEG supports the National Statistician. The Group aims to achieve the collective mission and strategic objectives of the official statistics system. The scope of the roles and responsibilities of NSEG extends across the statistical system. There are several sub-committees that report to NSEG. Each sub-committee covers different areas of expertise.

The Analysis and Evaluation Committee provides strategic direction to cross-cutting areas of analysis. The areas cover social, environmental and economic statistics. The committee links the analysis to wider government priorities and horizon scanning. Based on this, the committee determines future analytical needs. The committee supports the development of impactful analysis.

The members work with relevant analytical producers across government. The committee also supports and promotes policies across the statistical system. Specific responsibilities include:

  • horizon scanning for future analysis needs
  • ensuring coherence across the government’s statistical and analysis system
  • improving systemic inclusivity
  • identifying statistical policy and standards
  • advising the Outputs Group and Analytical Hub
  • evaluating the impact of the Analysis Hub’s activities

The GSSIC is a sub-committee of NSEG. The sub-committee supports direction setting of GSS international engagement. The GSSIC identifies priorities and guides delivery of the UKSA Strategy in GSS international relations. GSSIC ensures UK statistical system coordination and coherency for international statistical conferences. The sub-committee also leads and sets best practice for the development of international statistical and regulatory frameworks for the global good.

The GSSIC guides and steers the GSS international strategy (PDF 245KB). The committee handles the development, adoption and oversight of the delivery of the international strategy’s goals and actions. The GSSIC acts on behalf of the National Statistician.

The Communications Committee connects various aspects of communication across the statistical system. The committee has responsibility for the efficient, accessible and flexible publication model. This model gives information that important stakeholders and the wider UK public need. The committee also provides feedback on ONS and GSS outputs.

There are also a few ONS-specific committees that report to NSEG:

  • Portfolio and Investment Committee
  • ONS People Committee
  • Data Governance Committee
  • Quality Committee

Other forums, committees and cross-cutting groups

We have set up several forums, working groups and other committees. They support the work of the formal standing committees and boards.

All GSS Heads of Profession attend a quarterly meeting. The members cascade information, communicate and engage. They also discuss issues and motivate collective leadership of the statistical system.

The People Committee leads on GSS and Government Statistician Group (GSG) people issues. The committee provides:

  • advice on the development of people policies and practice
  • advice to HoPs on people issues for decision making
  • the development and ongoing review of important reference documents, including the GSG Competency Framework and Continuing Professional Development policy
  • oversight of main statistical training programmes
  • GSS recruitment