After another year in which data and statistics have dominated public debate, five Office for National Statistics (ONS) employees have been recognised for their contributions to statistics, public health and the census in the New Year’s Honours list.

The honours recognise their contributions to the work of the ONS in monitoring the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the successful organisation of the 2021 England and Wales census during a period of national lockdown.

National Statistician Professor Sir Ian Diamond says:

“These awards recognise significant individual achievements in two vitally important areas. Measuring the prevalence and impact of COVID-19 since it first emerged has been an exceptionally demanding task for all involved.

Meanwhile the successful census field operation – delivered in difficult and unpredictable circumstances – means we will have the best possible data on our population and its needs as we plan our public services for the years ahead.

I applaud all those honoured, who together exemplify the dedication and professionalism of the ONS and its people.”

The ONS is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and the recognised national statistical institute of the UK, covering topics including the economy, population, public health and climate change.

The individuals being recognised are:

Alex Lambert from Bursledon, in Hampshire. An OBE for services to statistics and public health in the coronavirus pandemic

Under Alex’s management and leadership, the ONS was able to launch the large-scale Coronavirus Infection Survey across England only a week after receiving the government’s requirement, driving an enormous collective effort across the whole of the ONS and its partner organisations. To date, the survey has taken 7 million swab tests and recorded 1.5 million blood tests across the UK. Data from the survey has been instrumental in national policy decisions, has regularly made headlines and has saved lives.

Will Marks from London. An OBE for public service

Working between the ONS and the Cabinet Office, Will has contributed to the high quality of analysis produced by the Cabinet Office COVID-19 Taskforce, which has ensured that the decisions taken during the coronavirus pandemic are based on the best available evidence. He engaged and coordinated the ONS in providing a clear picture of the size and demographic composition of dozens of vulnerable population groups.

Owen Abbott from Fareham in Hampshire. An OBE for services to population statistics and the census

Owen has been recognised for his continued service to census and population statistics, having been instrumental in the successes of the 2001 and 2011 censuses. For Census 2021, Owen has delivered an ambitious and robust programme, which was able to adapt to the changing circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.

Henrie Brown from Swanwick in Hampshire. An OBE for services to the delivery and transformation of the census of England and Wales from 1981 to 2021

Henrie’s first census was in 1981 where she played an important part in helping the programme take its first steps into the digital age by contributing towards the development of capability that stored census data electronically for the first time. Since 1981, Henrie has responded to demands for new levels of innovation, playing a key role in leading the design, build and operation of the large and complex public support and print services right up until Census 2021.

Arron Maspero from Fareham in Hampshire. An MBE for services to the Census 2021 field operations

Since starting three years ago in the run up to the census rehearsal in 2019, Arron has led a large team of service managers and developers. Through his dedication and commitment, the 35,000-strong field force had the tools to target the widest range of people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland possible, making this a truly representative census.

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