Statistics User Forum and StatsUserNet
The Statistics User Forum (SUF), created in 2004, is an umbrella organisation which helps to bring together the increasingly large numbers of statistics users. Its role is to support users of official statistics in communicating their needs to the statistics’ producers; in turn, it provides a valuable channel through which such producers can communicate and build relationships with a broad range of statistics users.
For its first twelve years, SUF was hosted by the Royal Statistical Society. However, this changed following an RSS review of its overall engagement with official statistics, which also involves RSS ‘Sections’ focusing on particular statistical subjects, an RSS National Statistics Advisory Group (NSAG) dealing with broader policy issues and regular bilateral meetings with the National Statistician.
At the same time, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the wider Government Statistical Service (GSS) were keen to both directly support the user community and make the most of the valuable contribution that SUF (and as well as associated user groups) can offer in terms of helping them improve their user engagement and more effectively meet users’ needs.
Accordingly, SUF now receives its organizational and administrative support from ONS’s Communications Division, rather than the RSS, although some of its meetings continue to be hosted at the RSS’s Errol Street headquarters, near London’s Barbican Centre.
The associated website StatsUserNet (SUN) facilitates online communication between SUF members, as well as stimulating engagement between official statistics’ users and producers. The site carries news of interest to SUN members, material relating to relevant events, discussion forums and other facilities. Responsibility for its management has also moved from RSS to ONS, with the two organisations working closely to ensure that the change-over was as seamless as possible for SUN’s users.