Dear Mr Yousef,

Office for Statistics regulation review of practices around estimates for GDP

Thank you for your letter received on 6 October regarding the experimental quarterly regional GDP statistics produced by ONS.

The rapid review we are conducting focuses on the process and quality assurance involved in making revisions to UK GDP, the potential improvements to these early estimates enabled through enhanced access to data and improving the communication of uncertainty in these early estimates. You may be aware that we have recently introduced a Spotlight on Quality series of assessments for economic statistics. We plan to follow up our current rapid review with a deeper dive into GDP production. In this work, we expect to consider the issue of coherence between national versus regional estimates.

As you mentioned in your letter, we carried out some preliminary regulatory work on the quarterly regional GDP figures. We recognise the challenges that ONS faces in trying to accurately and rapidly estimate regional economic activity, as the information did not always reflect where the activity was taking place, particularly for multi-site businesses. We understand that ONS aims to continue to develop these statistics to meet important local needs such as yours. We will consider how our planned follow up to the regional GDP work fits within the Spotlight on Quality programme.

I would be very happy to meet you to discuss these issues and I have asked my Economy, Business & Trade domain to contact you to understand more about your perspectives as they carry out further work in their deeper dive into GDP production. In the meantime, I encourage you to continue inputting into ONS’s development work.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Humpherson