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Office for Statistics Regulation welcomes Mary Gregory

I have just taken up post in the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) as Deputy Director for Regulation. Sitting in Drummond Gate again after more than a decade I can’t help but feel a bit like I have returned home – albeit a somewhat remodelled home. I started my career in ONS (Regional Accounts) as an enthusiastic graduate with little idea where my career would take me or what I hoped to achieve, I just had a sense that a career in government statistics would be more worthwhile and interesting than the alternatives.

Since then I can safely say I have been proved right. I have been incredibly lucky to work on issues that are important and thought-provoking, whether that’s economic statistics, fuel poverty or teacher’s pay, and often ground-breaking, such as trying to measure the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games or publishing a large scale anonymised dataset on household energy efficiency.

Since I started in ONS there have been lots of positive changes in government statistics over the years, including the way we are able to use technology and the changes resulting from the Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007). But the transformation I get most excited about is the increased focus on curiosity and innovation to challenge ourselves to provide the best possible statistics to support better decision making and improve society.

As part of this, I have seen from a distance the change in personality of the Office for Statistics Regulation (and its predecessor, the Monitoring and Assessment Team) to a more focused and positive organisation trying to ensure the right statistics are published and can be used with confidence – because they offer trustworthiness, quality and value – and are used as they should be.  With these changes in mind, when I saw the role advertised in OSR I decided to apply.

I am now a few weeks into the role and have been lucky enough to experience what a positive and friendly team OSR is with a clear purpose and values, which individuals strive to exhibit. The recent annual review gives a flavour of our latest work.

As part of my role, I have oversight of the regulatory work programme, which gives me an insight into the vast range of official statistics and the huge amount of important work that is going on. Deciding how to prioritise OSR resources across the system to deliver the greatest public value is no easy task.

To help us meet this challenge we are inviting views on our 2018/19 work programme and are requesting your input through our consultation which we published today.

We welcome views from individuals or groups, with responses by Friday 23 February 2018. We are particularly interested in your views on the priorities we have set out but also encourage you to use this as an opportunity to share other thoughts with us. Your input will support us in upholding our values, in particular our continued ambition to be outward and forward focused. The outcomes of this consultation will be reflected in our business plan which we will publish in the Spring.

Finally, I couldn’t complete this blog without mention of the refresh of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. As many of you will be aware this has been occupying a lot of time in OSR over the last couple of years. The way OSR has gone about this work demonstrates its efforts to be more collaborative and as a result I think we have a much-improved Code of Practice for statisticians across government and beyond. Watch this space for the launch of the new Code in early February – including a web-based interactive version of the Code!