The Editor of the British Sikh Report, Jagdev Singh Virdee, has received an MBE from Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, for “Services to Statistics and to the Sikh community”, in recognition of his contribution to the field of official statistics and his voluntary work in various fields working with British Sikhs. The investiture ceremony took place in the Ballroom at Buckingham Palace on Thursday 20th December 2018.
Jagdev is the most senior statistician from the global Sikh community dealing with official statistics. He has worked in this field since 1978 and has gained extensive experience over the last 40 years. Recognised as one of the leading figures in championing the use of statistics to inform policy development across Britain and around the world, he is also very active as a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. At the Society, he is Chair of the Organising Committee for Awards in Excellence in Official Statistics, Committee Member of the International Development Section, the Statistics User Forum and the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group. This year alone, projects that he has worked on around the world included supporting the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF (Children’s programmes), UNESCAP (Asian & Pacific countries) and the British Council.
In 2015, he became the Editor of the British Sikh Report (BSR), a comprehensive annual document based on the views and opinions of Sikhs in the UK, as part of his commitment to improving society through robust data. This has included a drive to ensure that the BSR serves a wide range of needs for statistics on British Sikhs, and that it is produced with the same independence and professionalism that is applied to official statistics.
Following the ceremony, Jagdev said: “The day was a memorable and humbling one, meeting other recipients who have excelled in serving the public in various fields and made amazing achievements. During the ceremony, it was good to have a chance to talk about the BSR with Prince Charles, who asked “How are things looking?” (for Sikhs, from the perspective of the report). I mentioned that the report covers a range of topics every year, focussing on Mental Health this year, and shows Sikhs being a well-settled community in the UK but there is always more to be done. I also managed to talk briefly about some of my activities with the Royal Statistical Society, reminded him of his visit to Gravesend in 1996 as part of the Kick Racism out of Football campaign at Guru Nanak Gravesend FC (when I had the honour to accompany him and take pictures). Jugnu Bhangra Group welcomed him to Gravesend with Dhols (drums) then, and a few years later also performed in front of the Royal Family at the Commonwealth Day Ceremony in Westminster Abbey. He remembered, and that’s what led to us having a little laugh together. All of these organisations are teams of volunteers working together, I am just one member, and this award is in recognition of the work that we all do together. It was also wonderful to have my home team, my family, there to share the experience and make it a day to remember for years.”
Jasvir Singh OBE, Chair of the British Sikh Report, said “I am extremely proud of Jagdev and his unwavering efforts for the benefit of the Sikh community since the 1970s. His energy and commitment levels are infectious, and his hard work has helped ensure that the British Sikh Report has become a pioneering research project respected equally by Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike, with recognition within Parliament and beyond. He is a pioneering statistician with an illustrious history, and we are very fortunate to have him as our Editor.”