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Distinguished Speaker Seminar – Thursday 10th February 2022

10 Feb 22

Speaker:    Professor Denise Lievesley, Honorary Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford

Date:           Thursday 10th February 2022, 3.30 pm.  Please note, this event will be held in the Large Lecture Theatre at the Department of Statistics and on Zoom.  Please register your place here.  Please note, there are limited spaces in the Large Lecture Theatre so places will fill up quickly.

Title:           Ethics from the perspective of an applied statistician 

Abstract:   Statisticians work in a wide variety of different political and cultural environments which influence their autonomy and their status, which in turn impact on the ethical frameworks they employ.  The need for a UN-led fundamental set of principles governing official statistics became apparent at the end of the 1980s when countries in Central Europe began to change from centrally planned economies to market-oriented democracies. It was essential to ensure that national statistical systems in such countries would be able to produce appropriate and reliable data that adhered to certain professional and scientific standards.  Alongside the UN initiative, a number of professional statistical societies adopted codes of conduct. 

Do such sets of principles and ethical codes remain relevant over time?  Or do changes in the way statistics are compiled and used mean that we need to review and adapt them?  For example as combining data sources becomes more prevalent, record linkage, in particular,  poses  privacy and ethical challenges. Similarly obtaining informed consent from units for access to and linkage of their data from non-survey sources continues to be challenging. Denise will particularly draw on her earlier role as a statistician in the United Nations,  working with some 200 countries, to discuss some of the ethical issues she encountered then and how these might change over time. 

Bio:  Denise Lievesley is an Honorary Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, having been Principal of Green Templeton for five years from 2015. Before this, she was Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy and Professor of Social Statistics at King’s College London. Formerly she has been Chief Executive of the English Health and Social Care Information Centre, Director of Statistics at UNESCO, where she founded the Institute for Statistics, and Director of the UK Data Archive.

Denise served as Presidents of the Royal Statistical Society (1999 – 2001), of the International Statistical Institute (2007 – 2009) and of the International Association for Official Statistics (1995 – 1997). A Fellow of University College London (her alma mater), she has honorary doctorates from City University and the University of Essex and is a founding Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2014 for services to social science.

 For details of previous Distinguished Speaker Seminars please see here.