In October 2014, we published ‘Better Statistics, Better Decisions‘, a document that brings together the three strategies previously published by the UK Statistics Authority, ONS and the Government Statistical Service (GSS) into a single strategy designed to make it clearer how everyone can make their own special contribution to better UK statistics and better decision-making over the next five years.
The document sets out our collective mission: to provide high quality statistics, analysis and advice to help Britain make better decisions. It describes a vision for what we will be doing in five years’ time, when data will be available real-time, we will be digital by default, and the quality of our advice and insight earns us a seat at the table where the most important decisions are made.
To make this happen, we will focus our work on five perspectives: being helpful, professional, innovative, efficient and capable. These words should have meaning for all of us. We must all think of our own roles and ask: how can I be more helpful to those I serve; how can I demonstrate professionalism by delivering a high quality service that will be trusted; how can I innovate and make things better; how can I be more efficient in my use of resources, money and time; and how can I develop my capability and learn new things? A set of strategic objectives flow from these perspectives and are described in the document.
The strategy is a call to action. It is not a detailed blueprint for everything that needs to be done. Different parts of the statistical system will contribute in different ways. The next steps are for ONS to develop business plans setting how its activities relate to the overall strategy, other parts of the GSS to consider this for their own activities, and for all of our personal objectives to reflect the spirit of the five perspectives.
UK Statistics Authority Business Plan
In May 2015, the new UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) Business Plan was published, for the period between April 2015 and March 2018. The plan includes an integrated approach and incorporates the UKSA and ONS Business Plans. The new plan is closely aligned to the overall strategy for ‘Better Statistics, Better Decisions’ and is intended to guide us as an organisation on how to achieve our aims and objectives to produce high quality statistics, analysis and advice to help Britain make better decisions through full statistical integration.
The plan includes the five perspectives which describe how we will work with others to provide a high quality service by being helpful, professional, innovative, efficient and capable. It also provides a significant set of measures for each perspective, along with the key activities and risks, helping us to focus on what we need to deliver and to what timescale. The measures include feedback from our customer satisfaction survey and provides data on aspects of our performance such as whether our outputs are trustworthy and our online end user satisfaction.
The business plan is introduced with an executive summary by the National Statistician and Chief Executive, John Pullinger and he sets out the key aspects within it such as; our key stakeholders and our key relationships; themes and theme leaders, who’s main priorities are embedded within the plan (also in Annex A); the investment portfolio, which is essential to our long term business aims; the budgets and future efficiencies for the entire scope of the plan, to include the funding breakdown, staffing, directorate budgets and investment funds; Annex A provides details of cross-GSS priorities for statistical work to include; defence and international affairs, the economy, crime and justice, business and energy, agricultural and the environment, transport and travel; key risks include, loss of data and data security, quality of statistics, budgets and financial management, staff resources, secure online environment, cyber attack and system security, technical capability, confidentiality and ultimately trust in the organisation. It also includes a summarised plan on a page to make it easier to understand at a glance.
All of these aspects are covered in more detail within the plan and includes the work of the Authority, ONS and the GSS. As stated in the plan, the independent regulation function has its own business plan showing how it will contribute to the delivery of the strategy for UK official statistics.