Manchester Statistical Society



A forum for the discussion of social and economic issues.

Are you interested in social and economic issues? In listening to expert speakers and having the opportunity to question them?
If so, the Manchester Statistical Society could suit you! We hold regular meetings, from autumn through to spring, on topical issues of concern to contemporary society and addressed by experts in the field. We cover a range of subjects, including health, education, transport, the economy, industry and finance, discussed free from party politics. Our meetings are not of a technical statistical nature but are designed for a generalist audience. New members are very welcome.
The meetings take place at 5.30pm in central Manchester, normally at the Manchester Cathedral Visitor Centre, 10 Cateaton Street.  Members can, if they wish, stay for a simple dinner with the speaker, which provides a further opportunity for informal discussion. We publish written versions of the talks in the Society's Transactions, which are issued free to members.

The next event will be on Tuesday 10 October 2017 at 5.30pm. Lord O’Neill of Gatley (the economist Jim O'Neill) Honorary Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester, will speak on  "The need for more and better economic, especially, regional data."

Lord O’Neill of Gatley: 
"The need for more and better economic, especially, regional data."

The Society was founded in 1833 by a group of Mancunians concerned about the state of society as urbanization and industrialization developed, and they carried out research with a view to influencing government policy. It is one of the oldest statistical societies in the world. Find out more about our history here. Our meetings today continue the theme of discussing social and economic issues.

We also operate the Campion Fund, which has funding available to support small research projects.

For further information about the Society, please use the tabs above.
Our next meeting

The next event will be the first meeting of the 185th Session, on Tuesday 10 October 2017, when Lord O’Neill of Gatley will speak on, "The need for more and better economic, especially, regional data." 

If you are not yet a member of the Manchester Statistical Society but wish to attend, let us know that you are coming by sending an email to the Honorary Secretary at 
Further information about our meetings is available on the Meetings page.
For enquiries about the meeting, please email
For enquiries about membership of the Society, please email

Speakers during the 184th Session ...  

Our 184th Session closed in May with our Annual Dinner when the after dinner speaker was Mr John Timpson CBE. John Timpson has appeared regularly in the media and writes a weekly column, 'Ask John' in The Daily Telegraph. He is well known for the unique business style that he has implemented at Timpson Group and which he calls Upside-down Management.  The title of his talk was "A Maverick's View". He enthralled his audience as he spoke about his "roller coaster ride" in business to explain why in his businesses he ignores what others regard as best practice. He described how his individual view of management, coupled with a strong culture, recognizes the important part kindness plays in creating trust and caring for colleagues. 

In March, over fifty members and guests were addressed by Mrs Bridget Rosewell OBE, a founding partner of the Volterra Partners consultancy and a member of the National Infrastructure Commission. She posed the question, “Infrastructure and the Economy: What can we prove, if anything?” The National Infrastructure Commission has been set up to provide an assessment of infrastructure needs looking 30 years ahead and covering energy, transport, communications, water, waste, flood and sewerage.  The criteria for such an assessment are to support sustainable economic growth, quality of life and the environment – no mean challenge, not only in looking forward but also in assessing how infrastructure has supported the economy in the past. In a wide-ranging expert review, Bridget Rosewell argued that we need to identify investments that will be worthwhile in most states of the world that we can imagine, investments that will be viable in a proportion of such states and those which will only work in some states, but which will have a large payoff if they do. 

There was a lively debate at our February meeting with John Tomaney, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at University College London, and Karel Williams, Professor of Accounting and Political Economy at Alliance Manchester Business School. They gave a critical account of the development of the Manchester city region, including its ten boroughs, and focusing on the city centre.  They noted that the new city-centre developments have provided accommodation that largely suits single persons and couples, allowing them to live and work in the city without commuting. But these city-centre flats are unsuited to families. When considered together with Manchester’s transport infrastructure, Professors Tomaney and Williams identified deleterious consequences for the surrounding towns.

At our January meeting Professor John Curtice, the renowned political scientist and polling expert, assessed the record of opinion polls in the last two nationwide ballots in the UK, and the challenges that have faced the polling industry in its recent efforts to estimate accurately the distribution of voting intentions. He showed that, when the polls are examined intelligently, they provide useful insight into the state of public opinion. His riveting presentation was appreciated by an audience approaching sixty people, including members, guests and visitors. 
At our December meeting we were addressed by Professor Nick Hardwick, CBE, Chair of the Parole Board, previously Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons and before that Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Around fifty members and guests were treated to an outstanding presentation by one of our country’s most experienced and knowledgeable experts on the criminal justice system. The meeting was followed by an informal but traditional Christmas dinner at which Professor Hardwick demonstrated amazing stamina, discussing members’ questions despite his having recently arrived from an arduous overseas journey.

Our November meeting was part of "Manchester, European City of Science". Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, of the University of Bristol, spoke on "Climate models and climate data: confusion and misinformation vs. scientific reality". Over fifty members and guests of the Society had registered their interest in hearing Professor Lewandowsky and they were not disappointed. In a brilliantly clear presentation, he demonstrated that when people are shown a time series chart of global temperature, taken out of the emotive context of global warming, they conclude that there is an increasing trend. He then turned to the various meteorological models of climate and showed that these all carry the same message.

At our October meeting, Professor Dame Sue Bailey, Chair, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges addressed fifty members and guests of Manchester Statistical Society on the topic of  "The NHS and Society – not what can I do, what should I do – professionals in partnership with patients." One attendee commented later: 'Professor Bailey was inspiring and yet totally grounded with common sense.