Regulating Artificial Intelligence

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is an independent regulator of official statistics produced in the UK. Our role is to uphold the Code of Practice for Statistics, protect the role of statistics in public debate and develop a greater understanding of the public good of statistics.

In October 2019, the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) appointed a Head of Data and Automation who has been developing our automation and data science programme to allow us to work more effectively and to gain further insight into the work we do. We are now able to go further and are looking to explore the Artificial Intelligence (AI) landscape and determine our role in the regulation of AI within government.

We have conducted some initial landscaping work and considered our role in relation to other regulatory bodies and propose that OSR has a role in regulating AI when:

  • It is used in the production of official statistics, both in the data used and in the production process itself
  • It is used to make decisions that lead to aggregate data which government put in the public domain

To support this role, we propose launching the following work packages:

  1. Building on capability within OSR in AI tools and techniques.
  2. Further advocating for the use of Automation within statistical production in government.
  3. The production of external guidance relating to the use of AI in official statistics.
  4. Review of the Code of Practice to ensure its relevance when being used to regulate processes that contain AI methods.

If you are interested in this work or have any comments on our proposed actions, please feel free to email us at As this work progresses, we will be seeking to engage a wide range of stakeholders, so all comments and suggestions are greatly welcomed.