Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic: Statistics for the public good

The last year has brought into sharp focus the importance of delivering statistics for the public good, and the central role that we play in standing up for the public. Key ways in which we have developed:

  • interventions such as our Chair’s letter on testing have put us higher in the public consciousness, and increased understanding of the role that we play
  • the volume and importance of our casework requests from the public has increased during the pandemic. We have seen positive changes in the data published and how it is communicated as direct and indirect results of our interventions
  • we have a strengthened relationship with the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) and parliamentary committees, where we have provided independent expert advice at important junctures
  • we have stood up for statistical leadership across the statistical system and analytical community, and tried to ensure we are always fair and balanced in our judgments
  • we have made a step change in our role as a supportive regulator – supporting producers as they have navigated the pandemic. We have welcomed how proactive Heads of Profession have been in working with us and coming to us to pre-emptively discuss any emerging challenges
  • we were quick to issue guidance for producers and to evolve our approach to regulation – for example, introducing Rapid Reviews to allow us to quickly evaluate and endorse new statistics required to inform the response to the pandemic
  • as with the rest of society, the pandemic required us to be agile and responsive to the emerging situation, and to continually revisit our priorities for the year. We published updates to our rolling regulatory work programme around every four to six weeks
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