The OFFICE FOR NATIONAL STATISTICS (ONS) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority , a non-ministerial department which reports directly to the UK Parliament .
* 1 Overview * 2 History
* 3 Purpose and scope
* 3.1 Applications of data
* 4 Independence * 5 Heads of the Office and the National Statistician
* 6 Work of the ONS
* 6.1 Data collection * 6.2 Former departments * 6.3 The Blue Book * 6.4 Education of Statisticians * 6.5 Virtual Microdata Laboratory
* 7 Office Locations
* 7.1 Former Headquarters * 7.2 Gradual move of functions to South Wales
* 8 Criticism of the ONS * 9 See also * 10 References * 11 External links
It is charged with the collection and publication of statistics
related to the economy, population and society of the UK;
responsibility for some areas of statistics in Scotland, Northern
Ireland and Wales is devolved to the devolved governments for those
areas. The ONS functions as the executive office of the National
Statistician , who is also the UK
The ONS was formed on 1 April 1996 by the merger of the Central
Statistical Office (CSO) and the Office of Population Censuses and
Surveys (OPCS). Following the
PURPOSE AND SCOPE
ONS produces and publishes a wide range of the information about the United Kingdom that can be used for social and economic policy-making as well as painting a portrait of the country as its population evolves over time. This is often produced in ways that make comparison with other societies and economies possible. Much of the data on which policy-makers depend is produced by ONS through a combination of a decennial population census, samples and surveys and analysis of data generated by businesses and organisations such as the National Health Service and the register of births, marriages and deaths. Its publications, and analyses by other users based on its published data, are reported and discussed daily in the media as the basis for the public understanding of the country in which they live.
APPLICATIONS OF DATA
The reliance on some of these data by government (both local and national) makes ONS material central to debates about the determination of priorities, the allocation of resources and for decisions on interest rates or borrowing. The complexity and degree and speed of change in the society, combined with the challenge of measuring some of these (e.g. in relation to longevity, migration or illness patterns or fine movements in inflation or other aspects of national accounts) give rise to periodic debates about some of its indicators and portrayals. Many of these rely on sources which are outside of ONS, while some of its own sources need to be supplemented, for example between censuses, by updated but less rigorously obtained information from other sources. Consequently, unexpected or incomplete data or occasional errors or disputes about its analysis can also attract considerable attention.
ONS data can also be used in epidemiologic studies such as survival analysis .
The details of the plans for independence were considered in
Parliament during the 2006/2007 session and resulted in the Statistics
and Registration Service Act 2007 . In July 2007, Sir Michael Scholar
was nominated by the government to be the three-day-a-week
non-executive chairman of the
HEADS OF THE OFFICE AND THE NATIONAL STATISTICIAN
Since its establishment, ONS has had five Directors: Professor Tim
Len Cook ;
Karen Dunnell ;
Jil Matheson ; and, from October
2012, Glen Watson .
Len Cook was the first Director to hold the newly
created role of National Statistician. The roles of Director of ONS
National Statistician were combined until 2012 when Jil Matheson
National Statistician while Glen Watson became Director
of the ONS.
John Pullinger replaced
Jil Matheson as National
Statistician (and Chief Executive of the UK
WORK OF THE ONS
The work of the ONS covers the collection of data and the analysis and publication of statistics covering the economy, population, and society of the UK.
Where data is broken down by geographical area, this is usually done by the areas defined in the ONS geographical coding system .
The principal areas of data collection include:
* Agriculture and Environment * Business and Energy * Children, Education and Skills * Crime and Justice * Economy * Government * Health and Social Care * Labour Market * People and Places * Population * Travel and Transport
Statisticians are also employed by many other Government departments and agencies, and these statisticians often collect and publish data. They are members of the Government Statistical Service and are the professional responsibility of the head of the service, who is also the National Statistician. Each department has a statistical service _Head of Profession_. For example, data on Agriculture, Fishing and Forestry comes primarily from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs . Along with economic data on which the Treasury and Bank of England rely for decision-making, many of the statistics that receive widespread media attention are issued by the Home Office, the Department of Health , and the Department for Education and Skills . ONS is also responsible for the maintenance of the _Inter-Departmental Business Register_ and the _Business Structure Database_.
Prior to the establishment of the
UK Statistics Authority , the
statistical work of ONS, since June 2000, was scrutinised by the
Statistics Commission , an independent body with its own chairman and
small staff. This ceased to operate from 1 April 2008. The General
Register Office and the post of
Registrar-General for England "> while
the allocation of
Private Finance Initiative expenditure (albeit
The Office for National
In December 2012 the organisation's new website to provide statistics to the public was described as "a disaster" by members of parliament on the Public Administration Committee. The chair of the UK Statistics Authority said that significant improvements to the website were being made, but admitted that its state at the time made it "difficult to use, difficult to navigate and difficult to search".
Departments of the United Kingdom Government
List of national and international statistical services
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
United Kingdom Census 2001
* ^ _
UK Statistics Authority Resource Accounts 2009–2010_ (PDF),