Implementing Standardised Systems, Processes, Tools and Methods with the ONS Design Charter
Hannah K. Finselbach
Methodology Directorate, Office for National Statistics, United Kingdom

The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) is required to deliver statistical products that meet the needs of users. It must do this efficiently, while delivering quality, good practice and comprehensive statistics. These are requirements of the Statistics and Registration Service Act and the Code of Practice for Official Statistics which govern how ONS works.

The ONS Design Authority was formed following an internal governance review in 2008. It was set up to provide single responsibility for decisions on the architecture and design of ONS systems, whilst also being responsible for decisions relating to standard ONS processes, tools and methods. This should allow the ONS to maximise its strategic gains from initiatives and developments, assisting it to realise its strategic goals of:

• standardised processes, systems and tools;

• streamlined survey design and integrated sources; and

• establishing statistical standards and best practice.

A key role of the Design Authority is to define a Design Charter, which sets out the strategic principles for systems, processes, tools and methods. Using the Design Charter, the Design Authority can assess new project proposals, and advise how far they contribute to the strategic direction of the office. This framework will ensure that investment in new systems or methodological work fits the overall strategic model.

This paper will present the experiences of the ONS in creating the Design Charter. The paper will also share the early experiences of implementation into the current ONS process of submitting business cases for new development work. The early involvement of experts from Methodology and Information Management Directorates is central to the proposed framework. The impact on ONS methodologists' work following implementation will also be considered.

Keywords: Strategic principles; Design authority; Standardisation; System architecture

Biography: Hannah Finselbach is a survey methodologist in the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Since joining the ONS in 2006 she has worked on several projects developing and researching suitable methods for sample design, estimation, editing, and imputation for business statistics.

Since its initialisation in April 2009, Hannah has been secretariat of the Design Authority, and has contributed to the development of the Design Charter, and Design Review framework.