Today the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has published a new report on analytical leadership in government. It looks at how analytical leadership can be demonstrated and enabled across government and is relevant for all who want to foster a stronger, data-driven culture in their organisations. It offers actionable suggestions for people in different professions and levels of seniority.

Analytical leadership is a professional way of working with data, analysis or statistics that enables them to be consistently, confidently and competently produced and used as evidence. It ensures that the right data and analyses are available for informed, effective policy and decision-making, to improve the lives of citizens.

Everyone working in government can “do” analytical leadership, regardless of their profession or seniority.

Crucially, analytical leadership requires recognition of the value of sound analytical evidence for informing robust policy and decisions, and for individuals to champion analysis – recognising it as both an essential government asset and a public asset when published. Effective analytical leadership is supported by having analysts who are skilled and resourced to answer society’s most important questions, and when government analytical evidence is more routinely made available to the public.

OSR has identified six enablers of analytical leadership (see box below) that people in government can draw on to facilitate a stronger, data-driven culture. This will support greater public confidence in how analytical evidence is produced and used, and in the government policies and decisions based on evidence.

Director General for Regulation, Ed Humpherson commented:

“Analytical leadership supports public confidence in how government produces and uses evidence. Lots of great analytical work is done in government; but its value is not always recognised outside Government.  The key to enhancing public confidence is a willingness from government to publish analytical evidence wherever possible, and especially when analysis is used or quoted publicly.”

OSR is always delighted to hear and champion case studies that demonstrate effective analytical leadership, or to discuss barriers to analytical leadership. Please get in touch at

OSR’s enablers of analytical leadership

  1. Foster an evidence-driven culture. This enabler highlights the importance of facilitating evidence-based policy and decisions; having non-analysts create demand for analytical evidence; having visible analytical leaders at the highest levels; and championing outstanding analytical work.
  2. Demonstrate transparency and integrity. This enabler demonstrates the need for analytical evidence to feed into policy and meet public needs in an orderly and transparent way; to demonstrate leadership through the effective communication of evidence; and the integrity to challenge evidence misrepresentation and misuse, including by correcting the public record.
  3. Collaborate across organisations to add value. This enabler shows the importance of working across professional and organisational silos; combining expertise from multiple professions; and adding value with external expertise.
  4. Embed structures to support evidence. This enabler illustrates the need for structures that integrate evidence into policy and decision-making by default; and structures that support effective cross-profession collaboration.
  5. Invest in analytical capacity and capability. This enabler highlights the importance of improving analytical capability; embracing new tools to meet future evidence demand; and pooling resources to improve capacity.
  6. Draw on analytical standards and expert functions. This enabler demonstrates the importance of promoting and following professional analytical standards; and drawing on UK analytical expertise.

By combining the six enablers of analytical leadership with a commitment to ensuring Trustworthiness, Quality and Value in evidence – a ‘Think TQV’ approach, taken from OSR’s Code of Practice for Statistics – everyone in government can demonstrate analytical leadership and contribute to the UK Government’s Declaration on Government Reform, which puts data more at the heart of decision-making.

Related information:

Analytical leadership