Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation, to Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Statistician, confirming the designation of National Statistics status to Balanced Estimates of Regional Gross Value Added (GVA) in the UK.

Dear Jonathan,

We have reviewed the actions that you and your team have taken in response to Phase 2 of our Assessment of Balanced Estimates of Regional Gross Value Added in the UK, as set out in our Assessment Report number 337. On behalf of the Board of the Statistics Authority, I am pleased to confirm the designation of these as National Statistics. ONS’s approach of being clear in publishing the outcomes of its work to address enhancements we set out to meet the Code of Practice for Statistics is a good example of its commitment to improve these statistics.

I have been particularly impressed by you and your colleagues work both in developing new balanced estimates and in enhancing the statistics in response to our assessment. These are just a few of the highlights for me:

  • the work ONS has been conducting to investigate producing consumer price inflation indices at regional levels with a view to more accurate economic statistics in real-terms i.e. with the effects of inflation stripped out. This reflects user needs for both regional inflation indices and the capability to compare statistics across time
  • the descriptions of the strengths and limitations of these statistics being more accessible to a non-technical audience
  • the improvements that balanced GVA estimates at the industry and regional level bring to devolved economic statistics – going beyond measuring regional economic growth and developing our understanding of regional labour productivity, part of one of the most pressing economic issues in the UK – the productivity puzzle

We have included more detail about our judgement in an annex to this letter. I, or my team, would be very happy to talk you or colleagues through any aspects of this letter, the annex 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. We invite you to include a statement alongside the statistics which reflects this status.

I am copying this letter to Trevor Fenton ONS, Head of Regional Accounts.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Humpherson

Director General for Regulation