Dear Siobhan

Assessment of Northern Ireland Planning Statistics

We have reviewed the actions that your team has taken to address the requirements in Assessment Report number 350: Statistics on Planning in Northern Ireland.

On behalf of the Board of the UK Statistics Authority, I am pleased to confirm the awarding of National Statistics designation for Northern Ireland planning statistics.

These statistics are valuable as they provide relevant and trusted information on planning activity in Northern Ireland, and enable users to better understand the planning performance of Northern Ireland councils against statutory targets.

The team responsible for producing the statistics at the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has responded very positively to the Requirements of our report. The team has made changes that enhance the accessibility of the statistics and the insight that they provide, increasing their appeal to a wider range of users. Users can now more easily access a range of data on which the statistics are based and will be more aware of planned future developments of the statistics, including those related to the transition to the new planning portal. In general, we welcome the team’s proactive approach to the continuous improvement of the planning statistics.

We are particularly pleased with the progress in exploring the feasibility of linking planning and house building data in NI, and the coordinating role that the team has played in building broad support for this work with statisticians across the UK. Being able to better understand the flow of planning approvals through to house builds was an issue raised by some users during the assessment, but also numerous users across the UK that we spoke to during our 2017 systemic review housing and planning statistics. The work undertaken by DfI statisticians to date is a significant step forward in addressing users’ key questions in this area, and we welcome the team’s continued engagement in cross-government discussions about this work.

We have included more detail about our judgement in an annex to this letter, which has been adapted from the DfI statisticians’ published action plan for meeting the assessment requirements. I, or my team, would be happy to talk to you or your colleagues through any aspects of this letter or Code compliance more generally.

National Statistics status means that official statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value and is something to be celebrated. For future releases, we invite you to include a statement alongside the statistics which reflects the National Statistics status.

I am copying this letter to Michael Thompson, Lead Statistician DfI; Tracy Power, Director of Analysis NISRA; and Ruth Fulton, Chief Statistician’s Office.

 Yours sincerely


Ed Humpherson

Director General for Regulation


Annex A: Review of actions taken in response to Assessment Report 350: Assessment of Northern Ireland Planning Statistics, produced by the Department for Infrastructure, Northern Ireland (DfI)