Welcome from the National Statistician

I am delighted to welcome you to National Statistical, the new blog from the Office for National Statistics. Things are changing fast here and this will be the place to read what’s happening and tell us what you think. I hope there will be lots to interest everyone who cares about good data and how we are building a statistical system for the 21st Century.

My job was created by Winston Churchill in 1941, when he observed that the “utmost confusion is caused when people argue on different numbers”. He called for someone to provide information that could be “accepted and used without question.” That remains a powerful rallying call for me and every colleague in ONS. This blog will, we hope, help you keep in touch with how we are trying to respond to that challenge.

“Our purpose is to mobilise the rapidly expanding power of data to help Britain make better decisions.”

Since we embarked on our new strategy last year, we have made progress in a number of areas. Sir Charlie Bean’s review, which published its final findings in March, has given us valuable insights into how we can meet the needs of those who need good statistics about our economy. Following on from that, we have created an Economic Experts Working Group and are developing the new Data Science Campus at our Newport headquarters.

June’s EU referendum result has placed our economic statistics under greater scrutiny than at any time certainly since the downturn of last decade, as commentators in the debate have looked for early signs of the impact of the outcome of the referendum on the prosperity of the country. At pivotal moments in the life of our nation we need good quality, trustworthy and relevant evidence and good use of that evidence to help us make decisions.

Over the weeks and months to come you can expect to find here…

• News about how we are advancing Better Statistics, Better Decisions – our long-term strategy for the future of the UK’s statistical system
• Updates from ONS people revealing the insight behind current strategic developments
• Items showcasing some of the innovative content and analysis appearing on the main ONS website, the new and well-received Visual.ONS site and elsewhere
• Information about some of the external events and briefings held by ONS
• And, on occasion, independent views from some of the talented and respected people who are working with us to shape the future

Our purpose is to mobilise the rapidly expanding power of data to help Britain make better decisions. We should not see our job as finished when we have produced some figures, we must understand how to make them helpful to those who will use them. I hope that National Statistical will play its part in stimulating that dialogue.

John Pullinger, National Statistician 

Feedback to the editor.