35.The Committee carried out a major inquiry into governance of the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) and the future of official statistics. The main findings of the Report, Governance of official statistics: redefining the dual role of the UK Statistics Authority; and re-evaluating the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, were that:
36.In addition, although public trust in official statistics has improved since UKSA was created, UKSA does not understand who all of today’s users of official statistics are or how they use statistics. The Committee recommended that UKSA must engage more effectively with existing and potential users, ensuring the Government Statistical Service is producing statistics that are easy to access and relevant, while closing gaps in data. The Committee also noted that UKSA’s next 5 year strategy will be crucial to addressing the important governance issues raised in this report and to shape a world class statistical system that is fit to serve the future needs of the UK.
37.The Committee was disappointed by UKSA’s handling of the long-running issue of RPI, which it said exposed the weakness in UKSA’s governance of official statistics. It called on UKSA to respond quickly to the Lords Report, which it has now done. PACAC also recommended UKSA publish its recommendation for addressing the shortcomings of RPI immediately.
38.PACAC has sought to keep up with the fast-developing world of statistics and data. This is an increasingly specialist area which demands constant scrutiny and depth of expertise and experience, which PACAC has always been hard pressed to provide. This is why a new specialist joint committee of both Houses should be considered for this part of our remit. We regard our recent report on UKSA as something of a landmark, which should lead to a government review of UKSA as soon as time allows.
Published: 8 October 2019