The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has completed its first quality-focused assessment, of the Producer Price Indices (PPIs), produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  

 Producer price inflation statistics measure change in the prices of goods bought and sold by manufacturers. This assessment used a newly developed assessment framework, based on the Code of Practice for Statistics, that focuses more intensively on the quality of economic statistics. 

PPIs are a well-established set of economic statistics. They play an important role in removing the impact of price changes in GDP. They are also used as a leading indicator for consumer inflation and in legal contracts.   

OSR has identified eight actions to improve the quality of the PPIs during this assessment. We see the issues with the samples of the three statutory surveys, used to collect most price data, as the biggest threat to the quality of the statistics. Therefore, it is essential that ONS reviews and updates the survey samples.  

Replacing the legacy system currently used to produce PPIs with a more robust, flexible and sustainable producer price inflation statistics system is also crucial for safeguarding the quality of PPIs.  

Ed Humpherson, DG Regulation said:

 “We thank ONS for engaging with us on our quality-focused assessment. ONS has made some major improvements to the quality of producer price statistics in recent years. However, years of under-prioritisation have negatively affected quality in some areas, with compilation using historic survey samples and systems. It is positive that ONS is now developing plans to address these issues. This should lead to higher-quality statistics for all users.”    

OSR expects ONS to publish an action plan by September 2023, setting out how improvements to the quality of the PPIs will be implemented, with progress updates every six months on the actions underway. Implementing these actions will ensure that the statistics continue to meet the highest standards of the Code of Practice for Statistics. 

 Additional Information 

  1.  OSR provides independent regulation of all official statistics produced in the UK. Statistics are an essential public asset. We aim to enhance public confidence in the trustworthiness, quality and value of statistics produced by government. 
  2. OSR does this by setting the standards they must meet in the Code of Practice for Statistics. We ensure that producers of government statistics uphold these standards by conducting assessments against the Code. Those which meet the standards are given National Statistics status, indicating that they meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value.
  3. Since the UK’s departure from the EU, the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is providing additional assurance to key stakeholders and the wider public on the quality of the UK’s economic statistics. Additional external assurance was previously provided by Eurostat. This is the first in a series of quality-focused assessments for our Spotlight on Quality: Assuring Confidence in Economic Statistics programme, which aims to provide this enhanced assurance.