The UK government appointed Professor Denise Lievesley is to lead an Independent Review of the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) as part of the Public Bodies Review Programme.

The review, published in June 2023, examined the complex structure of the UKSA, including multiple statistical producers and the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR). It emphasised the importance of quality statistics for informed decisions and their role in a democratic society. The main findings related to governance, efficacy, accountability, and efficiency within the UKSA.

The review sets a series of recommendations to the government for improvement, such as establishing a comprehensive consultative process to determine the UK’s statistical priorities every three years, appointing a senior figure to enhance data quality and foster engagement with statistical methodologies, and removing pre-release access to official statistics across all government departments to align with international best practices. The review concluded systemic and cultural barriers to responsible data sharing between government departments hamper the UKSA’s efficacy.

As the review and the government affirm, the power of statistics shapes our understanding of the world in which we live. Credible, timely, and relevant statistics help all of us make informed decisions and allow us to measure progress and track performance. The review articulates some of the most challenging issues facing the government’s statistical system. The two main and most pervasive challenges are that the review highlights two multifaceted, persistent challenges: the lack of comparable data between the different parts of the UK and the barriers to data sharing within the government.

The government’s response to the review has been published. It accepts the majority of recommendations, with the Cabinet Office committing to work further to ensure the most pressing issue of how to share data between departments responsibly, efficiently, and effectively is given further priority. The government intends to develop nuanced policy solutions to the challenges identified to deliver the most benefits to society.


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