The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the UK’s national statistical institute and largest producer of official statistics, with responsibility for collecting, compiling, analysing and disseminating a range of key economic, social and demographic statistics about the UK. Everything we do needs to be aimed at supporting evidence-based decision making, whether public policy and debate, the commercial decisions of UK enterprises or by people in pursuit of their lives. A vital part of meeting this objective is improving economic statistics to keep pace with the rapidly changing nature of the economy. That means reflecting these changes in our methodologies and mode of production. We also need to deliver and enable greater insight into the economic statistics we produce, and ensure that the economic story behind these statistics is drawn out accurately and clearly. To attain these goals, a pre-requisite is increased access to high quality economic skills. Some of these can be recruited and grown internally. But it is also important that ONS has greater external engagement, working in partnership with users and external experts.

ONS is establishing an Economic Expert Working Group (EEWG) to improve our economic capability and provide a mechanism for to receive structured advice from authoritative economic experts, as well as for them to work with ONS staff on particular issues and agendas. The new Working Group will provide advice directly to the National Statistician and to the Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics, and will be chaired by ONS’s current Chief Economist, Joe Grice.

The EEWG will consist of five members who will be appointed through open competition, as well as the Chair and the ONS Fellows. In addition to six meetings a year of the EEWG, the Members will have a hands-on role, working with ONS staff on specific issues as well as giving collective advice on strategic matters. The EEWG will also have an important role in assessing and evaluating output from the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence.

Key milestones:

June/July 2016 - Recruitment of EEWG Members
August 2016 - Announcement of EEWG Members
2 September 201 - First meeting of EEWG