GSS governance information

This guidance presents our approach to decision making across the UK statistical system. We lead the strategic direction of our work and manage the delivery of our goals. We do this through boards, committees, groups and forums.

We are a cross-government network spread across a whole range of public bodies. Parts of the devolved administrations and UK government departments are also included. The National Statistician leads the network. The network includes statisticians, researchers, economists, analysts and others. The statistics provide the statistical evidence base, analysis and advice needed by decision-makers. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has an important role within the GSS. The ONS provides guidance, support, standards and training.

Each government department that produces official statistics has a GSS Head of Profession (HoP). A HoP leads and manages the statistical activities within their own department. Some smaller departments and arm’s length bodies have a ‘lead official’ with accountability to a HoP from their sponsor department. They are accountable to their departmental management for day-to-day delivery. They also have a professional accountability to the National Statistician. The National Statistician is the Head of the GSS.

The National Statistics Executive Group (NSEG) is our main leadership forum. Membership includes two GSS Heads of Profession and colleagues from the devolved administrations. This reflects the Group’s remit across the statistical system.

Sub-committees of NSEG also have a GSS-wide remit of varying degrees. We invite all GSS Heads of Profession to attend quarterly meetings and regular group calls.
The National Statistician, Director General for Regulation and other senior colleagues from the Office for National Statistics also attend HoPs meetings.

We use these meetings to:

  • communicate and cascade best practice
  • discuss strategic and operational issues and help find solutions
  • build relationships and motivate collective leadership of the statistical system

Governance principles

We support the National Statistician in delivering the strategy ‘Statistics for the Public Good’. To do this, we have established the following principles to create governance that is:

  • coherent, where we make joined up decisions at the right level and we make them once
  • committed to the delivery of the strategy and associated business plans – we manage its strategic drivers, goals and risks
  • proactive and alert to emerging priorities – we work to predict problems from the users’ perspective and act to resolve them
  • collaborative, enabling us to share our plans early and often to achieve our goals
  • encouraging, enabling us to use the scale, influence and unique position to support success
  • inclusive, where we recognise and connect the unique and different parts of the GSS – we connect statisticians in devolved administrations, UK policy departments and arm’s length bodies
  • outward-looking, where we are open to working with others – we also work with the Government Analysis Function and other functions to achieve our goals

Other forums, committees and cross-cutting groups

We have set up several forums, working groups and other committees. They support the work of the formal standing committees and boards.

All GSS Heads of Profession attend a quarterly meeting. The members cascade information, communicate and engage. They also discuss issues and motivate collective leadership of the statistical system.

The People Advisory Group (PAG) leads on GSS and Government Statistician Group (GSG) people issues. PAG provides:

  • advice on the development of people policies and practice
  • advice to HoPs on people issues for decision making
  • the development and ongoing review of important reference documents, including the GSG Competency Framework and Continuing Professional Development policy
  • oversight of main statistical training programmes
  • GSS recruitment