Today we are publishing our Business Plan and Regulatory Work Programme for 2018 to 2019. Our ambition for statistics is that they provide a dynamic public service and help people answer the questions they have. Our plans reflect this ambition, focusing on statistics on key areas of public interest: industrial strategy and skills; measuring a changing economy and public finances; mental health and social care; housing and policy areas particularly affected by the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Thank you to everyone who took time to respond to our early consultation on our priorities. We were very encouraged by the engagement by a range of users and producers of statistics and the interest expressed in maintaining contact with us as we scope out and then deliver our projects. Our Domain Leads will be in contact with those who have expressed such an interest, and if you did not see our consultation but have an interest in any of the projects outlined in our programme, please contact us via email or speak directly to one of our team.
Our consultation: a brief summary
We had 27 responses to our consultation: 6 from the devolved governments and the regions; 6 from the third sector and a professional body; 12 from producers of statistics; and 3 from individuals.
The responses to the consultation broadly confirmed the priorities as set out and provided us with valuable insight into the issues for decision makers in the related areas, including insight across all topics for the devolved governments and regions. Our domain leads will use this information to inform the scoping of their projects. We’ve also received strategic insight on the topics on decision makers’ radars which provide context for our public interventions and may inform our work programme in the coming 18 months; and these confirmed the importance of our ongoing work around data linkage, public finances and regional economic estimates.
We also invited thoughts on a series of topics we propose to examine that cross-cut our Domains. This confirmed firm support for projects on the topics of the public value of statistics to understand inequalities, and the public value of statistics on children and young people; and on older people.
Respondents sought clarity on our proposed review of the public value of statistics on the green economy, cautioning that the scope was potentially overly ambitious to achieve something useful. We have reflected and consider a sensible approach will be to focus this year on the quality and value of statistics on Natural Capital.
Some producers highlighted potential difficulties about the timing of specific projects and we have been able to adjust our programme to help with their planning, starting some projects in the second half of the year, and scheduling our programme of compliance checks so that we can retain our focus on key sets of statistics such as housing while ensuring that no one statistics producer is overly burdened at any point in time. The new timings are reflected in the regulatory work programme published today.
The listing of a Population estimates assessment caused some confusion as we have only recently assessed population estimates across the UK. To provide clarity, we have extended the description of the 2021 Census assessment to include the administrative population data elements that ONS has asked us to assess, and removed this separate project listing.
We look forward to working with you as we develop and deliver our work programme over the year.