UK Statistical System
The UK Statistics Authority's responsibilities cover the whole of the UK statistical system - defined as all the organisations and persons responsible for producing official statistics in the United Kingdom. This system is founded on an historical mixture of centralisation, decentralisation and devolution. The Government Statistical Service (GSS) provides the glue that binds all the different components together.
The key organisations and posts within the UK system are as follows:
- the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority and his Board stand at the apex of the system, being responsible for promoting and safeguarding the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good
- the UK Statistics Authority's Chief Executive is the Head of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which acts as the Statistics Authority's executive office. ONS is the central producer of official statistics in the UK, and the UK's National Statistical Institute (NSI)
- the 'Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007' leaves the decentralised nature of the UK statistical system unchanged. Each UK government department, and each of the devolved administrations retain responsibility for the collection and production of statistics which relate to their own areas of responsibility
- the UK Statistics Authority's Chief Executive is also the National Statistician and the Head of the GSS - which consists of all those statistical staff in other government departments and administrations who produce the bulk of official statistics and who are accountable to the National Statistician through their own Head of Profession for Statistics
- a large portion of official statistics are produced by statistical staff working for the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, who are professionally accountable to the National Statistician/Head of the GSS through their own Chief Statistician
- further official statistics are produced by statistical staff in Northern Ireland who maintain a close professional relationship with the GSS but are not members of the GSS
The bulk of official statistics produced by ONS and the rest of the GSS are designated as 'National Statistics' - an accreditation which means that those statistics are compliant with either the 'National Statistics Code of Practice' or its eventual replacement, the UK Statistics Authority's new 'Code of Practice for Statistics'.