Today, the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has published its review on Statistical Leadership, it highlights the importance of Governments across the UK showing leadership in use of numbers and data.
The importance of data which offers insights and provides clarity on key issues has never been more apparent than during the coronavirus pandemic. Individuals have made decisions on whether to send their children to school or spend time with family, and governments have had to determine restrictions which best balance hospital capacity and economic impact.
And other questions which matter to society are much broader than the pandemic, such as: How many people are homeless? How is the population changing? How big is the economy?
Statistical leadership by government is essential to ensure the right data and analysis exist; to ensure they are used at the right time to inform decisions; and to ensure they are communicated clearly and transparently in a way which will support confidence in the data and decisions made on the basis of it.
Statistical leadership is not just about having good leadership of the statistics profession. While this is important, we want to make sure individuals inside and outside the statistics profession show leadership. This should happen right through from the most junior analysts producing statistics to the most senior Ministers quoting statistics in parliament and media. It is relevant to all professions including policy and communications specialists.
It is essential that production and use of statistics by governments command confidence in the statistics and organisations using them and help those listening understand the key messages.
Ed Humpherson, DG for Regulation said:
“Effective statistical leadership requires individuals at all levels in government and across all professions to stand up for statistics and to champion the value of independent data and analysis.
“This means statistical leaders who are technically capable, understand the broader context of their work and are effective communicators. It also requires all professions in government to champion the use of data, understand how and when to use analysis and how to work with analytical experts effectively.”