Statement on the Roles and Responsibilities of Heads of Profession
Where an official body produces ‘National Statistics’; produces or makes extensive use of ‘official statistics’; or employs an appreciable number of official statisticians, that organisation should appoint a person deemed suitable by the National Statistician to the post of Head of Profession for Statistics (HoP). Heads of Profession should be appointed by the organisation’s Head of Department, after seeking the views of the National Statistician. Appointees remain in the formal line management of their own organisation. They also collaborate with the National Statistician/Head of the Government Statistical Service and are accountable to him/her for the professional integrity and quality of their work. Where there is no suitable candidate, or insufficient justification for such an appointment, the organisation should make arrangements to rely on the services of the Head of Profession in a neighbouring (e.g. sponsor) organisation.
Summary of Duties
Statistical Heads of Profession are held responsible for overseeing their own organisation’s statistical functions, and meeting their own organisation’s statistical needs, and for implementing the provisions set out in statistical legislation, both within their own organisation and more generally across the UK statistical system. Their primary duty is to safeguard the professional integrity of the ‘National Statistics’ and other ‘official statistics’ produced by their own organisation. They will ensure that their own organisations official statistics are relevant, of high quality and have benefited from user engagement. Those statistics ought also to be produced effectively and efficiently. Heads of Profession will also play a key role in statistical planning, both in their own organisation and across government, and in the formulation of statistical policy. They will also ensure the recruitment of appropriately qualified statisticians into their organisation, investing in their development for the future statistical capability of their organisation and the Government Statistical Service (GSS) more widely.
Heads of Profession will:
- Oversee the efficient and effective operation of own organisation’s statistical work.
- Improve and maintain public confidence in National Statistics and official statistics.
- Improve and maintain the quality and relevance of National Statistics and other official statistics.
- Play a key role in statistical planning and statistical coordination.
- Contribute to the formulation of statistical policy.
- Increase and support data sharing for statistical purposes.
- Maintain and improve the statistical competency of both the GSS and their organisation through recruitment, training and development.
- Report performance.
- Fulfil other responsibilities, as required by the National Statistician eg in relation to arm’s length bodies.
Further detail on each of the above functions can be found at Annex A.
HEADS OF PROFESSION – DETAILED DUTIES
1. Oversee the efficient and effective operation of own organisation’s statistical work
- Ensure that their organisation has the capability/capacity to meet the service needs and to deliver statistics and analysis that are fit for purpose.
- Deliver the outputs in their organisation’s statistical work programmes required to meet the needs of customers and policy colleagues, ensuring those outputs are relevant, fit for purpose and timely.
- Promote the use of their organisation’s administrative and management systems for statistical purposes, and pursue this objective within the context of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
- Estimate the compliance costs to businesses and local authorities of responding to statistical inquiries and seek to minimise the burdens on those who supply data to their organisation for statistical purposes.
- Lead their organisation’s professional statistical staff.
2. Improve and maintain public confidence in National Statistics and official statistics
- Keep a watching brief over all official statistics produced by their organisation and, working with their organisation’s Analytical Champion (where appointed) and others including policy colleagues, ensure that practical arrangements are in place to ensure that their organisation as a whole, as well as their organisation’s statistics, comply with the principles and practices set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
- Safeguard the integrity of the statistical work and all National Statistics produced by their organisation. Refer matters which threaten the professional integrity of those statistical outputs, and/or are possible breaches of compliance with the Code, to the National Statistician and work with the National Statistician to address these matters.
- Promote the professional independence of their organisation’s statistical work, the propriety and impartiality of its decisions, the quality of its outputs and the integrity and validity of its statistics and commentaries.
- Prepare for the UK Statistics Authority’s formal assessment of their National Statistics against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics, actively participate in those assessments and ensure the implementation of any follow-up actions which result from the assessment process.
- Protect the confidentiality of data, collected for statistical purposes, from unauthorised disclosure.
- Ensure that their organisation’s release practices are consistent with the requirements set out in the UK Government’s Pre-release Access to Official Statistics Order, and the equivalent Orders in each of the Devolved Administrations.
- Carry out the role assigned to them in that Order – for example: overseeing the arrangements for implementing and complying with the Order; minimising pre-release access; and maintaining and publishing full lists of all those who receive pre-release access to statistical outputs and the reasons for that access.
- Provide advice on the public use of management information and/or administrative data.
3. Improve and maintain the quality and relevance of National Statistics and other official statistics
- Be accountable to the National Statistician for the quality of statistical outputs within their organisation, including the methodologies used in their production.
- Be an advocate for the use of statistics and analysis within their organisation; offer advice on statistical issues and promote the use of statistical information in their organisation’s decision-making processes.
- Be responsible for coordinating their organisation’s statistical programme, and promoting within it the implementation of National Statistics policies.
- Actively support user consultation; maintain regular links with relevant user groups; and take account of users’ views when considering changes to statistical outputs.
- Monitor the quality and comprehensiveness of the statistics produced by their organisation and implement regular quality assurance processes, including thorough reviews of outputs where appropriate.
- Pro-actively test the National Statistics produced by their organisation to ensure they are compliant with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics
4. Play a key role in statistical planning and statistical coordination
- Work proactively with colleagues in other analytical disciplines, policy colleagues and stakeholders to define their organisation’s strategic analytical needs and to identify areas where improvements could be made.
- Prepare a statistical work programme in consultation with the National Statistician, which meets their own organisation’s analytical needs and also forms part of a wider coherent plan covering statistics in the UK as a whole.
- Work with other Heads of Profession and the Chief Statisticians in the Devolved Administrations to identify priority areas for improvement and participate in cross-GSS planning groups to determine what improvement actions should be taken.
- Work with the National Statistician, other Heads of Profession and Chief Statisticians to promote comparable statistics across the UK.
- Consult the user community in order to ensure that such plans take account of users’ needs and explain the extent to which they can be met.
5. Contribute to the formulation of statistical policy
- Provide input to the development of wider policy and strategy on National Statistics and official statistics by participating in interdepartmental committees and working groups, and by encouraging others in their organisation to do likewise.
- Actively participate in Heads of Profession meetings and in cross-GSS committees as appropriate
6. Increase and support data sharing for statistical purposes
- Encourage data sharing for statistical purposes, in order to improve the quality and coverage of official statistics and reduce the cost and burden of data collection
7. Maintain and improve the statistical competency of both the GSS and their organisation through recruitment, training and development
- Establish and promote a learning culture for all GSS staff within their organisation; champion the Continuous Professional Development Programme (CPD); and ensure access and opportunities for personal development are open to all.
- Ensure that the recruitment; training and development; posting; appraisal; promotion; and retention of statistical staff in their organisation is compliant with the GSS Recruitment and Promotion Guidance in order to develop a cadre of skilled staff.
- Serve on, or otherwise ensure appropriate representation on, all recruitment, promotion and other boards for statistical staff.
- Actively identify and nurture talent and ensure adequate succession planning
8. Report performance
- Actively contribute to the preparation of reports on performance by the National Statistician, as required.
- Maintain a list of all of their organisation’s official statistics, distinguishing those which are designated as National Statistics.
- Prepare any other reports required by the United Kingdom Statistics Authority or requested by the National Statistician, as appropriate
9. Fulfil other responsibilities, as required by the National Statistician
- For example, where a Head of Profession has responsibilities which extend to other parts of their organisation, or to other bodies (e.g. Crown Bodies or Non Crown Bodies sponsored by their organisation).