NEWS18 July 2019

House of Commons committee recommends statistics body restructure

News Public Sector UK

UK – The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) has called for the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) to be restructured to ensure impartiality.

House of Commons and Lords_crop

In a report on the governance of official statistics, PACAC argued that the dual role of the UK Statistics Authority in both producing and regulating official statistics has compromised its ability to ensure statistics serve the public good. It recommends that UKSA is split into two separate bodies.

PACAC wants UKSA to be more independent of government, so it can hold the statistical system to account.

The Committee said that UKSA’s handling of miscalculated RPI figures showed governance failings and is indicative of its failure to provide and protect statistics and ensure the public can have confidence in official measures of inflation.

And as fake news is becoming a greater problem, the report said that UKSA needs to be restructured to ensure official statistics serve the public good.

It wants changes to be made quickly so they can be incorporated UKSA’s upcoming five year strategy.

Sir Bernard Jenkin MP, chair of the committee, said: "UKSA’S conflicting dual role has led to governance issues within the organisation affecting its ability to serve the public good and failing in its duty properly to regulate national statistics. This has been exemplified by UKSA’s poor handling of RPI since 2010, which it continues to fail to account for.

"In a time of growing concern about disinformation, the public needs access to trustworthy national statistics. PACAC is calling for a fundamental restructure of UKSA into two separate bodies; one dedicated to providing robust, useful and freely accessible stats and an official statistics regulator with the capacity to monitor and challenge all official statistics."