Dear Ed

OSR Review of the Public Value of Devolved Public Finance statistics

Many thanks for sharing the recommendations and outcomes of your review of the public value of devolved public finance statistics.

As you know there is considerable interest in these statistics in Scotland. Our own GERS publication receives a lot of media interest and parliamentary debate. We put a lot of effort into this publication to ensure it is of sound quality, incorporates the latest available data and is transparent and easy to interpret. We work very closely with colleagues in HM Treasury and the Office for National Statistics to this aim. We also carry out an extensive peer review process regarding the PESA CRA statistics and the Country and Region Public Sector Finance Statistics publication.

We appreciate your kind words praising the work we do in Scotland. Needless to say, we are very happy to work with ONS and the other Devolved Administrations to develop more compelling narratives and better ways of presenting these data.

You refer to our consultation on Scottish public sector finance statistics. A full analysis of what we heard is published on the Scottish Government website. In broad terms this identified a user need to understand better how Scotland is funded and how public expenditure is routed via different levels of government in Scotland. Users were clear that they needed this information in an easy to understand and digest format. We are currently developing such a publication which we hope to publish early in 2020.

We agree with you that there is a need for better quality country and region public sector investment statistics. This should include estimates for the value of assets and liabilities as well as better statistics on capital formation in general. This is, however, not a trivial task. We are very happy to work with others in developing these statistics over the next five years, and we have a particular interest in how these relate to well-being and living standards. We would be very happy to discuss this with you in more detail.

We welcome your findings on this review and would be very happy to work with you to address your recommendations.

Yours sincerely

Roger Halliday
Chief Statistician and Data Officer


Related Links:

OSR Review of the Public Value of Devolved Public Finance statistics (September 2019)