Sir Bernard Silverman FRS

I am a statistician whose research has ranged widely across theoretical and practical aspects of statistics. The focus has been on computational statistics, researching the ways that computing power has changed our ability to collect, analyse, understand and utilise data.  I have collaborated in many scientific fields, and with various areas of industry and government.  After an academic career, I spent seven years as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Home Office.

I now work freelance, with roles including research, policy, consultancy, and expert advice.  My current portfolio encompasses modern slavery, geospatial and location data, security, official statistics, and science and technology for policy, business and government.  

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Modern slavery: my work (more details here) centres around my post as Professor of Modern Slavery Statistics at Nottingham University and also encompasses various national and international advisory activities.  
Geospatial Commission:  I am chair of the Geospatial Commission, an expert committee that sets the UK’s geospatial strategy and promotes the best use of geospatial data. Its aim is to unlock the significant economic, social and environmental opportunities offered by location data and to boost the UK’s global geospatial expertise.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC): I am a member of the ESRC Council, which works with the Executive Chair to shape the ESRC’s strategy and to support the overall mission of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to maintain the UK’s world-leading position in research and innovation.
Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST): POST is Parliament's in-house source of independent, balanced and accessible analysis of public-policy issues related to science and technology. I am one of four non-parliamentary members of the Board, which oversees POST's objectives, outputs and future work programme.  

Security: I am a member of the Technology Advisory Panel to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, whose office provides independent oversight of the use of investigatory powers by intelligence agencies, police forces and other public authorities.

The Census: I chair the Methodological Assurance Panel for the Modernisation of the 2021 Census. Our task is to assure the National Statistician that the statistics resulting from the 2021 Census will meet the code of practice for official statistics and that the predominately online census is methodologically robust.

GoodBoxI am a member of the advisory board of GoodBox, a social impact start-up dedicated to building new technologies which better connect donors and causes. It was founded on the insight that a cashless society is having a negative impact on the charity sector but that modern technology such as contactless giving can revitalise philanthropy.  

Some interviews and talks about me and what I do

A photo from Chalkdust

I talked to the students from UCL who edit Chalkdust magazine about science, statistics, government and more besides.  

When I was at the Home Office, I was interviewed for the house magazine Inside Track. 

For more about statistics and Modern Slavery, watch this TEDx talk. There's also a podcast, a radio segment and a webinar on my Modern Slavery media page.

The 2022 Florence Nightingale Lecture at the University of Oxford surveys some statistical approaches to Modern Slavery and considers their contribution to what is an important and disturbing aspect of public policy. In particular there are broader questions about presenting statistical evidence in an area where there is so much uncertainty. There are some (imperfect) analogies with Florence Nightingale’s own work and campaign leading to the Public Health Act 1875, which saved the lives of millions.