Foreword by the Director General for Regulation
We see this as a year of consolidation. This reflects the strong performance of the statistical system since the start of the pandemic. It also reflects my pride in the role OSR has played. Our core role is to stand up for the public’s right to have trustworthy, valuable data on the pandemic and its impacts. We achieve this by driving improvements in statistics and data published by Government. We have had a significant impact over the last year in securing improvements to statistics and data on the pandemic.
To call it a year of consolidation is far from proposing a quiet year of limited ambition. On the contrary, to consolidate the performance seen during the pandemic will involve significant effort – to make the extraordinary become the norm.
While the pandemic is likely to remain a central issue in public and policy debate, other issues like regional imbalances and net zero may well gain greater prominence. We want to see the statistical system consolidate the huge gains it has made in terms of data collection and publication; consolidate the progress OSR has made on our role in data, for example, through the exams review; and through our research, we want to consolidate on the higher public interest in statistics and data in general.
So our focuses for the year ahead include:
- the impact of the pandemic on data and statistics, including use of new sources, and the impacts of the pandemic on data collection
- granularity of statistics, including on how to form a better picture of regional performance
- research into the public good provided by statistics
- data gaps – ensuring producers identify and address significant areas not covered by current statistics
- our role in data
Even more broadly than this, we have observed the increasing relevance of our Trustworthiness, Quality and Value approach. It’s clear how important it is to have data and statistics that the public can have confidence in. It’s clear the trustworthiness is not an option, but a fundamental part of communicating data. It’s clear that honesty about quality is essential. And it’s clear that value lies in serving a wide range of users.
So our year of consolidation can be summarised thus: We will continue to stand up for trustworthiness, quality and value.
Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation, May 2021