19th September at the Royal Statistical Society – WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR UKSA?


A seminar discussing the issues raised by Professor Lievesley’s review.

The Seminar – 19th September 2023 at Royal Statistical Society, Errol Street, London.

When the United Kingdom Statistics Authority (UKSA) was established in 2007 big data was not heard of, social media had barely started and Artificial Intelligence was light years away.  Hence the question “what changes are needed to make the processes and governance of our National Statistics more relevant?

The cabinet office have posed that question by commissioning Professor Denise Lievesley CBE to conduct a review of UKSA and this seminar provides an opportunity for interested parties to discuss what changes they feel are required.  The terms of reference for the review are to establish whether UKSA is delivering necessary services efficiently and to consider whether the Authority has clear governance and lines of accountability. Presently the authority reports directly to the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly and is sponsored by the Cabinet Office.

We have a distinguished list of speakers to stimulate discussion, so the seminar presents an opportunity to contribute to the future of our Statistics by sharing ideas with attendees, including Professor Lievesley.

The Programme


Welcome to the UKSA Review   <Video link>

– Tony Dent, Director Better Statistics  <Link to slides>

Inflation    <Video Link>

Administrative Data   <Video Link>

  • Public Data for Resilience and Inclusion, introducing ADR – Emma Gordon, ESRC UKRI <Link to slides>
  • Measuring Research & Development (a case study) – Ehsan Masood, Editor Nature <Link to slides>

Inclusion – Chaired by Dr. Emma White  <Video Link>

  • Smart Data for Social Inclusion – Professor Alex Singleton, University of Liverpool <Link to slides>
  • The Importance of Official Population Statistics (a case study) – Dr Jaan Nellis, Director Redsella Ltd <Link to slides>
  • Equality Diversity and Inclusion in Market Research – Rebecca Cole, Chair MRS Representation in Research Group  <Link to slides>

User Engagement – Chaired by Phyllis Macfarlane <Video Link>

  • Sex and the Office for National Statistics (case study) – Alice Sullivan, Professor of Sociology, University College London <Link to slides>
  • Gender identity in the census? – Michael Biggs, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Oxford <Link to slides>
  • Consultation and User Engagement – Deana Leadbeter, Health Statistics User Group <Link to slides>

Regulation  <Video Link>

  • Thoughts from a producer turned regulator – Rob Kent-Smith, Deputy Head, Office for Statistics Regulation <Link to slides>
  • Future-proofing the Code of Practice – Steve Penneck, Past-President, International Statistical Institute <Link to slides>

Presentation of Honorary Fellowship of RSS to Dr. Walter Radermacher  <Video Link>

A proposal by Adam Philips  <Video Link> (Slides to come)

Governance  <Video Link>

  • UKSA and Parliament (a review) – Simon Briscoe, Britain in Numbers <no slides>
  • Thoughts from a review of German Official Statistics – Dr Walter Radermacher, Federation of European National Statistical Societies <Link to slides>
  • The view from the chair – Sir Robert Chote, Chairman, UKSA <no slides>




Note: Although the seminar is a hybrid event, discussion will be limited to those attending in person. Book your place at www.betterstats.net/UKSAReviewRegistration.

Meet the Speakers



Tony Dent is chairman of CMR Group and past Chairman of both Sample Answers Ltd and the Alliance of International Market Research Institutes. The latter has now been submerged within the Insights Association. He is a statistician with over 40 years of International Market Research experience and has acted as a consultant to a number of companies, including the Civil Aviation Authority, DHL, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Radio Free Europe, and the Xerox Corporation. Tony holds a BSc and MSc in Mathematics and Statistics from Reading and Southampton.

Morgan Wild is Head of Policy at Citizens Advice, where he works with advisers and researchers every day to understand the underlying causes and (hopefully) help fix them. Before joining Citizens Advice, he worked as a social research consultant at the Office for Public Management on a range of public and private sector projects. He holds an MA in Political Economy from King’s College London and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.

Shaun Richards is an independent economist and journalist, who analyses economic events and developments for Core Finance TV, Bloomberg Radio and various publications including the Business live section of the Guardian, City-AM and the Daily Express.  A graduate of the LSE, Shaun has also worked in Tokyo and he maintains a watchful eye on inflation rates and the policies of the Bank of England, including Quantitative Easing (QE).

Jill Leyland represents the Royal Statistical Society on the National Statistician’s “Advisory Panel on Consumer Prices – Stakeholder” and she has been an Expert Witness on inflation measurement. She was a Vice President of the Royal Statistical Society from 2009 to 2012 and is a Fellow of the Society of Professional Economists. In the past she worked for the World Gold Council, the OECD, the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Government Statistical Service.


Dr Emma Gordon is the Director of  Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK) at the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)., which is opening up secure access to government administrative data to support research and inform policy decisions. Emma joined ADR from HM Treasury, managing the Government Economic Service and Social Research profession.  Prior to that Emma was Head of Health Analysis at the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Ehsan Masood is a science-policy journalist. He is the journal Nature’s Editor for Editorials and also has responsibility for news coverage of Africa and the Middle East. Ehsan is the author of a number of books and has made documentary programmes at the intersection of science, finance, history and policy for BBC Radio 4.


Dr Emma White, CFS, BSc, PhD, CMRS, is the Director of Information Governance and Data Protection Officer at City, University of London. She has previously worked for the University of Southampton, NatCen Social Research and the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Whilst at the ONS, Emma provided regular census updates to the MRS Census and GeoDemographics Group, of which she is now an active member.

Rebecca Cole is Managing Director of Cobalt Sky, an award-winning market research operations company, specialising in online data collection and data processing. Rebecca is on the main board of the Market Research Society and a board member of the Association for Survey Computing (ASC) which delivers conferences on the latest technologies used for market research.


Dr Jaan Nellis is an experienced data science consultant, with more than 25 years’ experience of engaging at board level to provide award-winning data-driven services and solutions that directly impact the bottom line, for an international blue-chip client base.

Alex Singleton is Professor of Geographic Information Science (GISc) at the University of Liverpool, where he founded the Geographic Data Science Lab. He is Deputy Director of the ESRC Consumer Data Research Centre and of the ESRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Analytics and Society.  In 2022 he received the Royal Geographical Society Cuthbert Peak Award for “contributions to contemporary methods in Geography that lie at the boundary between the Social and Computational Sciences”.

Phyllis Macfarlane has worked in market research throughout her career, managing GfK’s UK company from 2000-2009, then spending several years working on the GfK Verein’s University Cooperation Programme, setting up post-graduate courses and degrees in Africa and Asia, and supporting Interviewer training in Africa. During this time she was also twice Chair of the MRS, and served on the MRS Board. The main ‘drivers’ of her current work are improving data quality and education. Apart from Better Statistics CIC her other interests are the ESOMAR Foundation, the Archive of Market and Social Research (AMSR) and supporting small arts and education charities. She is a Fellow of the MRS and winner of the MRS Gold and Silver medals and ESOMAR Excellence Award.

Alice Sullivan is Professor of Sociology and Head of Research at the UCL Social Research Institute. She is a quantitative social scientist with a focus on social, educational and health inequalities. She was Director of the 1970 British Cohort Study from 2010-2020.

Michael Biggs is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Cross College. His substantive research is on social movements, with methodological interests including the size distribution of protest events and the spurious trend of increasing protest created by a canonical survey question. Most recently he has interrogated the measurement of the transgender population in the 2021 Census of England and Wales, showing that the question was misinterpreted by many respondents.

Deana Leadbeter

Dr Deana Leadbeter is a health information specialist, who has worked both in the UK and on international health projects. She worked as a statistician in pharmaceutical research before joining the UK NHS as Regional Statistician for the South East Thames Regional Health Authority, and then was Director of Information Services at the South East Institute of Public Health.   She chairs the UK Health Statistics User Group, and is a member of the Executive for the Forum of Statistics User Groups (FoSUG), and previously of the Executive of the Statistics Users Forum (SUF).  In these roles, and also in her work, she has been involved in working with producers and users of health statistics to improve the delivery and use of information within the health and social care sector, and in facilitating user engagement activities needed to support this.

Rob Kent-Smith joined OSR in April 2023, based in the Newport office. He is responsible for driving OSR’s development as a regulator, focusing on strategy, capability and impact, and securing positive change in the statistics system. For a decade Rob worked as an economist at the Office for National Statistics in a variety of roles, this most recently included leading the production and transformation of the National Accounts and GDP. Prior to joining OSR, Rob was on loan to the Welsh Government for two years leading transport strategy and policy

Stephen Penneck was President of the International Statistical Institute from 2021 to 2023.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, where he served as Honorary Officer for Official Statistics  between 2018 and 2021.  He was President of the International Association for Official Statistics from 2011 to 2013, and chaired the Advisory Board on Ethics for the ISI between 2013 to 2021.

Tom King


Simon Briscoe is a director of data science start-up t-tab, having previously worked in the civil service, investment banking and at the FT.  Among various contributions to our public life he was an adviser to parliament’s Public Administration Committee and a trustee of FullFact.


Dr. Walter J. Radermacher was Director General of Eurostat and Chief Statistician of the European Union from 2008 to 2016. He worked at Destatis, the German Federal Statistical Office, for 30 years, ultimately as its President. He was the first Chair of the UN Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting (UNCEEA) from 2005 to 2008 and a member of OECD’s High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress from 2013 to 2018. Since 2017 he has been a Researcher at the Department of Statistical Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, and the President of FENStatS, the Federation of European National Statistical Societies, since 2020 a Lecturer in the International Program in Survey and Data Science, Mannheim University. Since 2022 he is Chair of the ISI Advisory Board on Ethics and (honorary) Professor at the Statistical Institute of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. Walter Radermacher is Honorary Fellow 2023 of the Royal Statistical Society.

Sir Robert Chote

Sir Robert Chote has been chair of the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) since 2022 and of the Northern Ireland Fiscal Council (NIFC) since 2021. Previously, he chaired the Office for Budget Responsibility from 2010 to 2020 and the OECD’s network of parliamentary budget officials and independent fiscal institutions from 2017 to 2020. Before that he served as the Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies from 2002 to 2010, as an advisor to senior management at the International Monetary Fund from 1999 to 2002, as the Economics Editor of the Financial Times from 1995 to 1999, and as an economics and business writer on the Independent and Independent on Sunday from 1990 to 1994. Robert has studied economics at Queens’ College, Cambridge, journalism at City University of London and public policy at Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC. He has honorary doctorates from the University of York and City University of London and was knighted in 2021.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]