§ Mr. Menzies Campbell
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many staff by grade are employed as professional statisticians in her Department; how many of these staff have been accepted as fast stream by the Civil Service Selection Board; and how many have been granted chartered statistician status by the Royal Statistical Society; 
(2) how many staff who have worked as professional statisticians in the Northern Ireland Civil Service have left on early retirement in each of the past 10 years. 
§ Mr. Paul Murphy
Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Statistics Research Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. E. F. Jardine. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from E. F. Jardine to Mr. Menzies Campbell, dated 20 April 1999:I am replying to your questions to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland about the employment of professional statisticians as this matter falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).538WThe Agency employs 127 staff with the generic title 'Statistician'. These staff perform a broad range of analytical functions including statistical work, social surveys and social research. The staff are graded as follows:
Number Senior Civil Service 1 Senior Principal Statistician 2 Grade 7 Statistician 17 Deputy Principal Statistician 41 Assistant Statistician 66
1. A further 11 staff, originally recruited to the discipline, are now working in administrative grades.
2. These figures exclude staff who are not in post, ie. who are on secondment or on career breaks.
Two NISRA staff are Chartered Statisticians and a further six are RSS Fellows. In the past 10 years 1 professional statistician has left on early retirement.
In addition, 4 Economists in the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland undertake statistical activities which parallel those performed by members of the Government Statistical Service in MAFF. Two of these staff are at Grade 7 and two are Assistant Statistician equivalent.
NISRA does not recruit 'Statisticians' by the fast stream method. Staff are selected through Northern Ireland Civil Service recruitment competitions following a series of tests and interview.
If I can be of further assistance do not hesitate to contact me.