UK Statistics Authority begins hunt for next stats chief

The successful candidate for the £160,000 a year role will "build on the momentum and progress made in recent years", according to the job advert


National statistician John Pullinger. Photo: Photoshot

The Office for National Statistics has begun its search for a national statistician to replace John Pullinger, who will step down next year.

The national statistician, who is also chief executive of the UK Statistics Authority, is “one of the nation’s preeminent experts and advocates for the use of evidence in public life”, according to a job advert posted on the Civil Service Jobs website.

The permanent secretary-level role, which will pay up to £160,000 a year, also includes leading the Office for National Statistics – UKSA’s executive arm – and the Government Statistical Service.


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The next person in the role will be expected to “build on the momentum and progress made in recent years, to provide richer insights about the UK’s changing economy and society, and to complete the transformation of the bodies responsible” for identifying new methods and sources of data to respond to policy questions, the job ad said.

“As data transforms the world around us, the UK Statistics Authority board is looking for a national statistician to embrace and deliver that change,” it added.

They will also be responsible for overseeing the government analysis function, which was launched in January last year. In a recent interview with CSW, Pullinger said UKSA was using the function to bring statisticians and economists across a range of professions together to answer tough policy questions.

“The need for sound analysis has been thrown into pretty sharp focus with Brexit,” he added.

Last week, Pullinger announced that he would retire as national statistician in June 2019, after five years in the role. UKSA chair Sir David Norgrove said he has been an “inspiring leader to analysts not just in ONS but right across government” and had transformed the evidence available to decision-makers across the nation.

The £150,000-£160,000 annual salary range is in line with recent years. According to the UKSA’s latest annual report, in 2017-18 Pullinger received £150,000-£155,000, which was brought up to £175,000-£180,000 in pension benefits.

Applications for the role close on 15 January.

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