The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the UK's National Statistical Institute and the largest producer of official statistics in the UK. It is the only government department with the production of statistics as its main role. The ONS is independent of ministers and instead reports through the UK Statistics Authority to Parliament and the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The ONS is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority and although they are separate, they are still closely related. The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 sets the Statistics Authority the objective of promoting and safeguarding the production and publication of official statistics which serve the public good. This includes, but is not exclusive to, the needs of government.
As the executive office of the Statistics Authority our main responsibilities are:
The collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of a range of key economic, social and demographic statistics about the UK
The provision of statistical leadership and methodological advice for the benefit of UK official statistics
Representation of the UK internationally as the National Statistical Institute
These responsibilities span more than 650 different statistical releases a year which rely on a broad range of methods and systems. All outputs are produced in line with the ‘Code of Practice for Official Statistics’ and relevant quality standards. This is carried out to align with the Statistical Authority’s responsibility to promote and safeguard official statistics.