Saturday, June 06, 2009

Does the UAE need a statistics czar?

WSJ Numbers Guy blog:
Spurred by alarmingly low public confidence in official figures, Parliament authorized the creation of the U.K. Statistics Authority, tasked with overseeing government numbers, monitoring their use and auditing all 1,200 national statistics over the next five years. The new organization is well funded, at five million pounds per year, with about three times the budget for monitoring of its predecessor, the Statistics Commission. That funding level is exempt from the usual review process, to reduce political pressure via the pocketbook.

“Statistics have potential value, but it’s only realized when they’re used in a way that delivers some value to the public,” said Richard Alldritt, head of assessment for the authority. “That use could be in government itself, in formulating policy, but it could be equally in decisions about allocating money, or decisions in commercial sector.”

To unlock that value, the authority will continue monitoring the use of government stats, as it has already done with high-profile critiques of releases of knife-crime and migration numbers.
In answer to my headline question, I'd say yes the UAE needs a statistics ombudsman, too. But the larger question is, where are the government stats collected by the UAE? Where do you, um, pull them from?


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