They are de facto Permanent Secretaries but do not use that title. As the ONS incorporated the OPCS, the Director also became the Registrar General for England and Wales. Following the implementation of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, the General Register Office continues to be part of a ministerially-accountable department, becoming a part of the Identity & Passport Service in the Home Office and the post of Registrar-General is now held by its head.
- The first Director of ONS was Professor Tim Holt. Subsequent Directors have had this additional title, the National Statistician.
- The second Director was Len Cook, who had previously held a similar post in New Zealand.
- He was succeeded by Dame Karen Dunnell on 1 September 2005.
- Jil Matheson succeeded Karen Dunnell on 1 September 2009.
- John Pullinger succeeded Jil Matheson on 1 July 2014.