Numbers and Public Policy: Why Statistics Matter

Sir Andrew Dilnot CBE, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, a famous Economist and Broadcaster, former Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Warden of Nuffield College and previously Principal of St Hugh’s College, will be speaking in a very topical and well-timed event to The Oxford Guild and Oxford PPE Society at 5pm on Monday 19th November (7th wk). He will be discussing some very fascinating topical issues and sharing his extensive insights from a successful career, including ‘Numbers & Policy: Why statistics really matter’. He was awarded a CBE in 2000 and knighted in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to economics and economic policy. Statistics and their analysis and use (and abuse) are a central part of our lives, and perhaps more so now that they are so readily available and communicated. It is easy to be cynical or frustrated about the nature of the debate on public policy, but Sir Andrew Dilnot will argue that statistics and statistical analysis offer enormous insight, and at their best are a great encouragement to the precision in thinking that is essential if we are to make sensible decisions about policy matters. In an era where ‘fake news’ is so prevalent and statistics have been weaponised/manipulated, this promises to be a fascinating discussion, and there will also be the chance to ask questions in a Q&A session.

Sir Andrew Dilnot the government nominated as Chairman of the UK Statistics Authority in 2011/12, succeeding the Authority’s first Chair, Sir Michael Scholar KCB. As of September 2012, he is Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford and was Principal of St Hugh’s College, Oxford between 2002 and 2012 (becoming the only principal of an Oxford College educated at a comprehensive school) and a Pro Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University from 2005 to 2012. He was the founding presenter of BBC Radio 4’s series on the beauty of numbers, ‘More or Less’ and also presented Radio 4’s ‘A History of Britain in Numbers’. Together with Michael Blastland, he wrote ‘The Tiger that isn’t: seeing through a world of numbers’, which was based on ‘More or Less’. In June 2010, Dilnot was asked by the government to chair the Commission on Funding of Care and Support. The Dilnot Commission published its report in July 2011. The Commission’s primary recommendation was to limit individuals’ contribution to social care costs to £35,000, after which the state would pay. Currently, individuals who do not fit means-tested criteria can be liable for unlimited costs. The Commission’s report ‘Fairer Care Funding’ was welcomed by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, and both David Cameron and Ed Miliband called for cross-party talks on the issue. He has served on the Social Security Advisory Committee, the National Consumer Council, the Councils of the Royal Economic Society and Queen Mary and Westfield College, as a trustee of the Nuffield Foundation, and as chairman of the Statistics Users Forum of the Royal Statistical Society.

The post of Chair of the UK Statistics Authority is a Crown appointment, made with the approval of Parliament following a pre-appointment hearing before the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee and a formal motion debated on the floor of the House of Commons. Sir Andrew Dilnot is an Honorary Fellow of St. John’s College, Oxford, of Queen Mary, University of London, and of the Institute for Actuaries. Andrew also holds an honorary doctorate from City University and the Open University.