Obituary: Tim Holt (1943-2022)

Tim Holt, the first director of the Office of National Statistics in the UK, died suddenly on 15 November 2022.

Tim was well known in his long role as Professor of Statistics at the University of Southampton, and made a huge contribution to sample survey methodology, both personally and through his internationally recognized contributions with Alistair Scott, Fred Smith, Gad Nathan and John Rao. Tim was an active contributor to British, European and international forums, and well known in the antipodes and North America. He was not only an internationally important academic social statistician whose research and teaching influenced many people across the world, but he made major contributions to official statistics internationally. As a professional colleague it is hard to find many who were more available to discuss statistical issues with, and his wise advice usually provoked deeper thinking. In this way, Tim’s  real impact on the world of statistics was much greater than any impact metrics might suggest.

Tim had a long and distinguished career in official statistics, beginning in 1970 at Statistics Canada. He returned to the UK in 1973 to take up a lectureship at the University of Southampton. He was later appointed Leverhulme Professor of Social Statistics, a post he held from 1980-1995, and was Deputy Vice Chancellor from 1990-1995.

In 1995 Tim led the merger of the Central Statistical Office and Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, to form the Office for National Statistics (ONS), providing a more integrated and comprehensive service to Government and the wider community. During the foundation of the ONS Tim argued strongly for greater professional independence for the Office, which helped to lay the groundwork for the Statistics and Registration Services Act of 2007. Some of Tim’s other major contributions at the ONS were to begin the build up of a central methodological capability, undoubtedly influenced by his time in Statistics Canada, and to expand the British engagement in European statistics through Eurostat. He led the development of the “one number census” for 2001 which was a trail blazer for testing the power of post enumeration surveys as a counter to declining census response rates.  

On his retirement from the ONS in 2000 Tim was made Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB). He then returned to a Chair in Social Statistics at the University of Southampton, later to become Emeritus Professor. After retiring from Southampton, he continued to be active within official statistics, through consultancy work and other activities such as chairing the UNSC Friends of Chair meetings on Statistical Indicators. He was also President of the Royal Statistical Society during 2005-2007.

Tim and his wife, Jill, lived on the edge of the New Forest, and were often kind hosts to visiting statistical colleagues from other countries. Having Tim as your host might require running shorts to be donned. He thoroughly enjoyed jogging, orienteering and golf. He also had a great interest in the arts and wrote several Christmas pantomimes for their local village.

Our sincerest condolences go out to Tim’s family, friends and colleagues at this time.

Our thanks also to Len Cook, Dennis Trewin and Stephen Penneck for their contributions to this obituary.

SCORUS Webinar on Regional Statistics – Communication and Innovation, 15 November 2022

SCORUS Webinar on Regional Statistics – Communication and Innovation

Date: 15 November 2022

Time: 14:00 – 17:00 CET

Eurostat and the Standing Committee of Regional and Urban Statistics (SCORUS) of the International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) kindly invites the statistical community to their webinar.

Please register here

Webinar Programme:

Communication of data at regional and local level


1.     Eurostat regional yearbook release package – Something for everyone?

Bianka Fohgrub, Eurostat

2.     Mapping regional and local data – GIS tools in Eurostat

Hannes Reuter, Eurostat

3.     Urban and Rural Europe – new publication valorising datasets by territorial typologies

Reka Fodor, Eurostat

Refreshment break


Innovation in subnational statistics – new data sources, new methods, new geographies


1.     Household Income Distribution Atlas of Spain

Manuel Refoyo Mayoral, INE Spain

2.     The use the satellite remote sensing for the purpose of determining sustainable development indicators

Przemysław Slesiński, Statistics Poland

3.     Access to urban green space

Hugo Poelman, DG REGIO

4.     Monitoring land use in cities using satellite imagery and deep learning

Alexandre Banquet, OECD


ESSnet Web Intelligence Network (WIN) Project: 2022-2023 Webinar Series | Architecture, Methodology and Quality – an Overview | 23 November 2022

2022-2023 Webinar series

The ESSnet Web Intelligence Network (WIN) project is creating an environment where an array of non-traditional data sources can be accessed by members of the European Statistics System (ESS) and beyond. To help build capability in this community, the project will be delivering a series of webinars and a face-to-face workshop covering the following subjects:

  • Architecture, Methodology and Quality
  • Business Registers Quality Enhancements
  • Tourism Statistics
  • Web Intelligence in Practice – Satellite event at the NTTS Conference (face-to-face workshop)

The first of the webinars is due to take place on 23 November at 14:00 CET. To find out more details about this event or to book a place on the webinar, please visit the Eventbrite page.

About ESSnet Web Intelligence Network (WIN) project

The WIN is investigating new data sources to generate a significant added value for the official statistics, complementing or substituting parts of traditional outputs. These new data sources come with significant challenges for national statistical institutes (NSIs) as they do not follow the quality standards of the official statistics, which will require new methodology techniques.

One of the principles behind this project is that WIN will create a community of collaboration to harness technology, allowing collaboration to benefit the modernisation of official statistics. This community will then:

  • Learn together
  • Share knowledge, data, and methods
  • Build a partnership between NSIs
  • Enable cooperation and sharing of statistical solutions for NSIs

The WIN project works hand in hand with the Web Intelligence Hub (WIH), a platform which can integrate data into national statistics production.

“Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics: 30 Years after Its Development” IAOS - ECLAC Webinar, November 3, 2022

Official statistics are based on a set of principles that ensure that they are impartial, relevant, and accurate and can be relied upon as a public good by all users. This 30th Anniversary provides an opportunity to discuss the past, present, and future of the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and their relevance in the context of a rapidly changing data landscape.

Official statistics are based on a set of principles that ensure that they are impartial, relevant, and accurate and can be relied upon as a public good by all users. The Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics (FPOS) are structured as 10 main issues that cover all the processes of the production and dissemination of statistics: Relevance, impartiality, and equal access; Professional standards and ethics; Accountability and transparency; Prevention of misuse; Sources of official statistics; Confidentiality; Legislation; National coordination, and Use of international standards.

The Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics were first developed and adopted at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) 30 years ago and later endorsed by the General Assembly as a global standard. This 30th Anniversary provides an opportunity to discuss the past, present, and future of the Principles and their relevance in the context of a rapidly changing data landscape.

This webinar is organized by the International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) and the Statistics Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), as an activity of the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) of the Statistical Conference of the Americas (SCA). The IAOS promotes the understanding and advancement of official statistics and related subjects and fosters the development of effective and efficient official statistical services through international contacts among individuals and organizations, including users of official statistics as well as research institutes. The IAOS has taken an active role in supporting the active implementation of the FPOS. ECLAC Statistics Division contributes to improving the production, dissemination and use of statistics for evidence-based decision-making in the region, through training courses, seminars and other capacity building activities, regional data harmonization and dissemination, and supporting the SCA as its technical secretariat. The KTN contributes to the dissemination of knowledge and cooperation in statistics offering access to documents, seminars and methodological materials prepared by the working groups of the SCA and the regional statistical community. Since 2019, the National Statistical Institute (INE in Spanish) of Chile coordinates the organization of virtual seminars.

Date: November 3, 2022

Time: 11:30-13:00 (UTC-3)

Language: Spanish - English (simultaneous translation)

Connection Platform: Zoom

Note: For connection testing, the session will be available 60 minutes before the scheduled start time

Webinar Programme

Moderator: Rolando Ocampo, Director of ECLAC Statistics Division

Sandra Quijada, Director, INE Chile - Welcome words

Misha Belkindas, President, IAOS - Overview of the FPOS and their relevance for the users of statistics

Eduardo Sojo, Former President, INEGI Mexico - Putting the FPOS into practice: the experience of INEGI

Lisa Bersales, Professor of Statistics, University of the Philippines School of Statistics - The FPOS 30 years after: challenges in a changing context


To register for the webinar, click HERE


“The Independence of Statistical Institutions with a Focus on Arab Region and North Africa” Webinar, 2 November 2022

In 2014, the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics (UN FPOS) were endorsed by the UN General Assembly. The Fundamental Principles set the framework for the fundamental values and principles that govern statistical work, and recognize that in order to be effective, the fundamental values and principles that govern statistical work have to be guaranteed by legal and institutional frameworks and respected at all political levels and by all stakeholders in national statistical systems.

However, globally issues of misuse and declining trust in official statistics have become more pronounced in recent years. In response to this the IAOS has recently established the Krakow Group. This group’s mandate includes helping to identify the main issues to be tackled in relation to misuse, governance, trust and ethics.

Each region has specific challenges. In the case of the Arab region, including North Africa, the challenges of enhancing trust in official statistics and successfully implementing the UN FPOS, are exacerbated by the ongoing instability in different parts of the region.

The IAOS has organised this webinar to help official statisticians in the region discuss some of the regional specific challenges in implementing the UN FPOS, in particular how statistical institutions maintain their independency especially in the time of instability.

The event will be conducted in English. 

Register HERE for free.