Appendix 2: Letter from Sir Michael Scholar
to Michael Fallon MP, the Chairman of the Sub-Committee |
AWARD OF CENSUS CONTRACT
When I and officials from the Office for National
Statistics gave evidence to the Treasury Select Committee inquiry
into Counting the Population in January, we were not able
to give full details of the measures that were planned in order
to ensure that US authorities were unable to access personal census
information through the US Patriot Act. With a procurement process
underway, it was not possible to disclose details of the bidders
of' proposals to protect data confidentiality and security.
The procurement and approval process has now concluded
and, on 28 August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced
the award of the contract to provide data processing services
to support the 2011 Census to Lockhead Martin UK Ltd.
I therefore wanted to write to you to provide further
details of the measures that have been taken to protect data confidentiality
and security under this contract. We are explaining the details
of these measures to provide strong reassurance to the public
in our communication of the contract award.
The measures in place include:
- All Census data is owned by ONS and all of the
legal undertakings of confidentiality of personal Census information
will apply to both ONS and any contractors. Existing UK law already
prevents disclosure of Census data. Under the Statistics and
Registration Service Act 2007 it is a criminal offence to disclose
personal Census data, punishable by a fine or imprisonment or
- All Census employees and contractors working
on the Census sign a declaration of confidentiality to guarantee
their understanding of, and obligations under, the law.
- All staff who have access to the full Census
data set in the operational data centre will be ONS employees.
- Contractual arrangements with Lockheed Martin
UK Ltd ensure that only sub-contractors registered and based in
the UK and either UK or EU owned will have access to any personal
- The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin
UK Ltd. Lockheed Martin UK will design the processing systems
for ONS using its expertise and past experience. The day to day
running of operational services will be provided by a consortium
of specialist service providers. All of these specialist subcontractors
are registered and owned in the UK or elsewhere in the EU.
- This contractual structure means that no US companies,
and no employees of any US companies, will have any access to
any personal Census data.
- No Lockheed Martin staff (from either the US
parent or UK company) will have access to any personal Census
- Personal Census data will be classified information,
and will be processed in the UK and remain in the UK; physical
and system access to all such data will be rigorously controlled
and authorized by ONS employees.
We have put these contractual and operational arrangements
in place to ensure that US authorities are unable to gain access
to census data through the Patriot Act.
Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss
Sir Michael Scholar, KCB
Chair of the UK Statistics Authority
29 August 2008