Dear Ed,

Review of Migration Statistics

Thank you for your recent letter following the OSR review of ONS’ International Migration Statistics. This was a thorough and considered review of a key set of statistics that inform many areas of society. I appreciate your recognition of ONS’ collaborative approach to tackling our ambitious plans to transform these statistics and acknowledge your recommendations for improving even further in this area.

I am pleased to see that your recommendations are very closely aligned with our own ambitions over next year and beyond. ONS is committed to ensuring that our methods and statistics are accessible to all users, and we recognise that there is more that we can do improve understanding. We have recently developed some “Explainer” pieces that help simplify some of the complexity in migration statistics. We have plans to apply this style more widely to support the communication of the State Space models that currently underpin our headline international migration estimates.

You also highlight the need for clear and coherent communication as we transform migration statistics. These improvements are taking place in lockstep with wider transformation of population statistics. As this is all taking place during a year in which we publish results from Census 2021, as well as our usual population and migration outputs, it is imperative that bring our users along on this journey with us. We have started to address this in the first of a series of blogs on the ONS’ National Statistical (Building the richest picture of our population), setting out our plans for outputs and communication throughout 2022.

There is of course more that we can and will do to continue to improve the engagement with all our users. We are planning to set this out in more detail shortly after we’ve published the next international migration estimates in late March.

Best regards,
Professor Sir Ian Diamond