Professor Denise Lievesley appointed to lead review of the UK Statistics Authority

Friday 23rd Jun 2023, 2.53pm

Professor Denise Lievesley, CBE, has been appointed by the Cabinet Office to lead an independent review of the UK Statistics Authority.

The Authority includes the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which is the country’s largest producer of official statistics on a range of key economic, social and demographic topics.

Head and shoulders image of Professor Denise LievesleyProfessor Denise Lievesley, CBE

Professor Lievesley is an Honorary Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford having been Principal of Green Templeton from 2015 until September 2020.

She has been tasked with establishing how the UK Statistics Authority is performing and with providing independent challenges to ensure that the organisation is effectively delivering necessary services, is doing so as efficiently as possible, and has clear governance and lines of accountability.

Critical time

Commenting on the new appointment, Professor Lievesley said the timing of the review was critical to build on momentum in the statistical system following the pandemic.

She said: ‘Our experiences during the last years have reinforced the need for trusted and trustworthy official statistics. We needed sound and timely data for tracking the pandemic’s spread and its impact not just regarding health but also the education, economic and social well-being of the population.

‘This review comes at a critical time for us to build on this momentum in the statistical system. There are many additional drivers of change including the increased availability of digital administrative data sources, new technological opportunities, and pressure to decrease the administrative burden on businesses of compliance with statistical enquiries.

Our experiences during the last years have reinforced the need for trusted and trustworthy official statistics

Professor Denise Lievesley 

‘I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the UK’s statistical system through this review. It is vital that we have a statistical system which produces information about our society and the circumstances of the population to ensure that policies and decisions are based on sound evidence. We need statistics which are free from political interference but are relevant to the issues being addressed by government.’

The review will report to Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister of State, Cabinet Office and will be organised according to the four quadrants identified by the Public Bodies Review Programme – Efficacy, Accountability, Governance, and Efficiency.

Professor Lievesley will be supported by relevant subject matter experts and is expected to publish a final report in late 2023.

Great expertise

UK Statistics Authority Chair, Sir Robert Chote, said: ‘Professor Lievesley will bring both great expertise and international perspective to the task. We look forward to engaging with her and hearing her conclusions, which I have no doubt will help us to deliver on our mission of delivering statistics for the public good.’

Professor Lievesley’s research interests relate broadly to the quality and trust in official data, and the use of data for research purposes. Among her former appointments, she was Chief Executive of the English Health and Social Care Information Centre; Director of Statistics at UNESCO, where she founded the Institute for Statistics; and Director of the UK Data Archive.

She served as Presidents of the Royal Statistical Society (1999-2001), the International Statistical Institute (2007-2009) and International Association for Official Statistics (1995-1997).

A Fellow of University College London (her alma mater), she has honorary doctorates from City University and the University of Essex and is a founding Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2014 for services to social science.

Read more about the review here, including a call for evidence from interested parties who would like to submit to the review.