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Have your say – join the National Statistics Executive Group

It was the start of 2016 when I launched my Diversity Initiative calling for volunteers to identify work on diversity-related issues. The aim was to shape the Government Statistical Service (GSS) of the future by making the best use of our diverse talents and perspectives.

The National Statistics Executive Group (NSEG) is the monthly senior executive committee that I chair, which makes strategic decisions on a range of topics cutting right across ONS and the whole statistical system.

Every year we invite colleagues of any grade or background from across the GSS to join NSEG for 6 months to bring their perspective to discussions and gain an insight into how NSEG works. You’ll play an active role in discussions and will help shape the Government Statistical System of the future. NSEG meetings take place once a month, at the UK Statistics Authority/ONS offices in Newport, London and Titchfield in rotation.

We’ve had some fantastic contributions from colleagues in the past, who have had great things to say about their experiences.

Field Interviewer Viv Firman joined NSEG this summer and said:

“I put my hand up and was fortunate enough to be selected. Although I attend as a guest, it has been made very clear that I can contribute too.”

“I also started to understand how much weight and importance our figures carry – how they portray a picture of our country and influence key economic decisions.”

Danny House from the Ministry of Justice said:

“Daunted and intrigued. That’s the best way to describe how I felt about joining the National Statistician at his top-level executive group meetings. What happened way up there? Would it all go over my head? Would I be able to make any valuable contributions? Would I even find it interesting…?

As it turns out, there was absolutely no need to fret. The executive group were engaged and candid. The topics up for discussion were stimulating and wide-ranging. The opportunity for me to offer a different perspective at the meetings was genuinely encouraged by John and the other members. I began to see how abstract, strategic decisions made in a board room are translated into tangible actions for staff on the ‘front line’ across the country, which for me was a real eureka moment!

My thanks to John and the team for the opportunity to experience first-hand, strategic-level decision making. I would encourage anybody reading this to apply: to gain visibility of the issues discussed, to spend time with myriad senior members from across the ONS and GSS, and for the opportunity to get your voice heard.”

Abigail Self, former Deputy Director at ONS, said of her time at NSEG:

“I volunteered because I wanted to better understand the relationship between how strategic decisions are made at the top versus what is experienced on the ground, and felt I could provide a valuable contribution in return. I was not disappointed!”

“I was also made to feel incredibly welcome and that my contributions were valued. I was particularly impressed with the level of commitment and genuine dedication of the NSEG members to do what they believed was right for the organisation with due care for the people within it, recognising that this is not always how it seems on the ground.”

In addition to the opportunity to attend and contribute to NSEG meetings, there may also be other opportunities to be involved in steering and discussion groups to increase the diversity of perspectives.

To apply, please send a short email to, setting out why you are interested in the opportunity and the skills and perspective you would bring – by 20 December. Please also confirm that your line manager would be prepared to make you available for one day a month for a six-month period.

I look forward to hearing from you.

John Pullinger
Ami Treharne
John Pullinger is the National Statistician. He is the UK Statistics Authority’s and the Government’s principal adviser on official statistics. He is the Head of the Government Statistical Service (GSS) and, as the Authority’s Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary, is a member of the Board of the UK Statistics Authority.