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What is the motion?
The motion, in the names of the Prime Minister, Ben Gummer and Chris Skidmore, is “that this House endorses the nomination of Sir David Norgrove for appointment as Chair of the United Kingdom Statistics Authority”.
Why is the motion needed?
The appointment of the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority is a Crown appointment. The current Chair, Sir Andrew Dilnot, is stepping down at the end of March 2017.
The Government’s preferred candidate to succeed him is Sir David Norgrove.
The motion is a substantial motion to approve the appointment.
How has this appointment been scrutinised?
The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Ben Gummer invited the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee (PACAC) to hold a pre-appointment hearing, which took place on 24 January 2017.
The Committee then published a report, Appointment of the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority (HC 941, 26 January 2017), which supported the appointment. The Committee said:
“We are satisfied that Sir David Norgrove has both the professional competences and personal independence necessary to fulfil this role. His experience in chairing the Low Pay Commission and the Pensions Regulator will stand him in good stead in driving through the changes needed in the UK Statistics Authority, particularly those coming out of the Bean Review. We are convinced that his professional background and skills will allow him to successfully balance the role of overseeing statistics production and the work of the ONS with that of regulating government statistics. As our predecessor Committee, PASC, stated, “[g]ood quality statistics are essential to the scrutiny of the Government’s work and performance,” and we expect Sir David to provide robust leadership to drive up the quality of UK statistical output. We wish him every success as the Chair of UKSA and look forward to engaging with him in the future.”
What is the UK Statistics Authority?
The UK Statistics Authority is an independent body operating at arm’s length from government as a non-ministerial department.
The Authority’s statutory objective is to promote and safeguard the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good.
It has three main functions:
- oversight of the UK official statistics system, which includes around 30 central government departments and the devolved administrations, and the promotion, safeguarding and monitoring of quality, comprehensiveness and good practice in relation to all official statistics, wherever produced;
- assessment of key official statistics against a code of practice for statistics; and
- governance of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – legally a part of the Authority (its executive office) – the largest producer of official statistics.
The National Statistician, John Pullinger, is Chief Executive of the Authority.
Who is Sir David Norgrove?
Sir David Norgrove was Chair of the Low Pay Commission (May 2009 – December 2016) and of the Pensions Regulator (January 2005 until December 2010). He is currently Deputy Chair of the Family Justice Board, having previously been Chair.
Where can I find out more?
See the Committee’s evidence session and report, Appointment of the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, for further details.
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