Statistical responsibilities in the Cabinet Office
Statisticians in Cabinet Office work in various teams and on a wide variety of activities that range from publishing National Statistics bulletins to producing evidence and analysis in support of key departmental policy priorities.
But perhaps the most obvious glue that helps bind us statisticians together is the Code of Practice for Statistics. Whilst this sets out the standards expected in producing official statistics, there’s a more subtle connection too, embodied by the spirit of the Government Statistical Service (GSS), and the subset of professional (‘badged’) statisticians referred to as the Government Statistician Group (GSG).
These networks support the sharing of best practice, both across the Cabinet Office and between departments, facilitated by movement between departments to enable statisticians to work on different statistical issues and policy areas.
Each department that produces official statistics has a statistical Head of Profession (HoP). In Cabinet Office this role is currently held by Martin Stopher who works in Analysis & Insight, part of Civil Service Group. But as the number of statistics professionals in Cabinet Office grows, and given the vision set out in the Analytical Function strategy, our ambition to develop the Cabinet Office’s statistical and data ‘offer’ is increasing, and so the need to re-think senior roles and responsibilities for Cabinet Office statistics and associated activities has become more evident.
Statistical leadership in the Cabinet Office is now shared between us:
Richard, Head of Data and Analysis in the Race Disparity Unit, will become the Cabinet Office’s Chief Statistician. He will lead on statistical matters and standards including advice on the Code of Practice, building on his previous role as Deputy Head of Regulation at the UK Statistics Authority, and consistent with his current work on Analytical Standards in the Cabinet Office.
Martin will remain as Head of Profession for Statistics, and will lead on professional matters, ensuring that the department has the right statistical capacity and capability to meet its existing and future challenges, building on the recent launch of the People Plan for the GSS.
We will both work closely together, including on statistical planning and reporting, as well as providing each other with advice on our lead responsibilities. We are also looking to develop a department statistical strategy, building on the GSS Better Statistics Better Decisions strategy to provide clarity of expectation and to support future planning. This will include a review of the contribution of the statistical cadre to the Analytical Function and the extent to which compliance with the Code’s three pillars — Trust, Quality and Value — might be enhanced: at first sight there’s probably more that can be done to improve the public value of the department’s statistical offering.
We also want others to help shape and build the statistical community in the department. So we will be supported by ‘Champions’ who will help lead cross-departmental work on a number of areas, including Presentation and Dissemination (identifying, embedding and promoting best practice and innovation in the presentation of statistics); and Quality (addressing key challenges and improving quality, including reducing inefficiencies through use of Reproducible Analytical Pipelines).