Dear Hugh


Thank you for inviting us to carry out a check of compliance of ONS’s statistics on public service productivity for adult social care in England with the Code of Practice for Statistics. This compliance check complements our wider review of adult social care statistics in the UK, with our report for England published last week. We welcome your developing these statistics, as first published as experimental statistics in June 2018 in the article Measuring adult social care productivity in the UK and England: 2016, to better inform policy-making in the Department of Health and Social Care. We note the latest release of official statistics was published in February 2019 Public service productivity: adult social care, England, 2017/18 and welcome the ambition of your team to achieve National Statistics status for these statistics. This letter highlights our main findings and recommendations from our check.

Measuring productivity of publicly funded adult social care services is difficult and complex. We share your ambition for stronger outcome measures, and to improve the public value of these statistics. Our check, and our discussions with the statistical team, identified that there are quality issues with these statistics and our overall conclusion is that our concerns around the data sources need to be addressed before these statistics can be considered for National Statistics status. We have included more detail within the Annex to this letter. In view of our findings, we encourage you to continue with the publication of these statistics as official statistics and:

  • investigate the issues identified in this letter further, working collaboratively with others to do so
  • engage with users to ensure the development of the statistics meet their needs

We are planning to meet with ONS to discuss our regulatory work on productivity statistics for 2020/21, and will consider further the outcomes of this review as we consider our future work. We look forward to engaging with ONS over the coming months to discuss this further.

I am copying this letter to Richard Heys, Head of Productivity Statistics at ONS and Ben Humberstone, Head of Health Analysis and Life Event Statistics at ONS.

Yours sincerely

Mark Pont

Assessment Programme Lead