UKSA seeks national statistician with 'compelling vision' to use data for public good

Successful candidate must be “effective communicator" with "strong intellect"
National statistician Sir Ian Diamond. Photo: PA/Alamy

By Tevye Markson

08 Nov 2022

The UK Statistics Authority has begun looking for the country's next national statistician.

The national statistician is the permanent secretary at the Office for National Statistics, chief executive at the UKSA and head of the Government Statistical Service.

Candidates are being offered a salary of £150-160,000 per year – the same pay offered to applicants in 2019.

Diamond's time in the role, which began in October 2019, was characterised by the Covid pandemic, which sparked a boom in public interest in official statistics, and the 2021 census. His fixed-term contract ends on 31 March 2023, although CSW understands that Diamond is free to reapply to the role should he wish to do so.

When the role was last advertised, it took two rounds of recruitment to find someone with the right skills.

The Cabinet Office has signed a contract worth up to £75,000 with Korn Ferry to help with this year's recruitment process. The management consultancy firm will advise on the job advert, specification and salary; design an advertising strategy; come up with a plan to attract a diverse field of candidates; and produce advertising material.

UKSA chair Sir Robert Chote said the regulator's board is “grateful” for Diamond's "outstanding leadership throughout the pandemic, the 2021 census, and the ongoing transformation of the UK’s official statistical system”.

In a foreword to the job pack, Chote said the successfull candidate will need to be “a credible leader of the statistical system who can command the confidence of its members and users alike”.

“They will need to operate confidently at the highest levels of government, but also work effectively with many different stakeholders across the UK. They will need to be outward-facing and an effective communicator,” he added.

UKSA is looking for a candidate who can “develop and deliver a compelling vision for mobilising the power of data for the good of the nation”.

Since taking on the role, Diamond has championed the importance of using data to tackle climate change,  introducing the UK Climate Change Portal, which has brought climate statistics together in one place for the first time. 

The successful candidate will also need excellent policy and analytical skills, "strong intellect", a track record as an authority in the field of evidence and analysis, and a "good understanding of the changing digital environment", the advert said.

Applications must be submitted by 5 December, with initial interviews to take place to take place between December and February.

Civil service commissioner Gisela Stuart will oversee the process, with help from Chote and civil service chief operating officer Alex Chisholm.

Government Economic Service chief Clare Lombardelli and Denise Lievesley, a former director of statistics at UNESCO, will also sit on the recruitment panel.

The successful candidate will expected to travel regularly between offices in Newport, Titchfield, London, Darlington and Manchester, plus occasional international trips.

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