The Office of Statistics Regulation (OSR) has published a report on the progress made by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on its Transformation of the Labour Force Survey (TLFS). 

Using the Code of Practice for Statistics and the principles of ‘trustworthiness, quality and value’, OSR continues to advise, challenge and support ONS in its endeavours to improve the quality, coverage and adaptability of data which underpin official estimates of the UK labour market. 

The LFS is the main household survey that provides labour market information in the UK. It is a rich source of demographic data used extensively and therefore highly valued, by a wide range of users. 

Mark Pont, OSR Assessment Lead said:

“Our progress report highlights that ONS has taken many steps to ensure that the transformation of the LFS to TLFS meets the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality & value. We have seen a good level of progress to date and will be interested to see the final survey content and methods that are still in development. 

He continued: The parallel run and ensuring the TLFS data meet high statistical standards before the decommission decision is made will be crucial over the coming months. OSR will review progress with ONS, to carefully consider the continued National Statistics status of ONS’s labour market statistics as they move from being produced from the LFS to the TLFS.”


Further Information 

  • The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is the regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority. We provide independent regulation of all official statistics produced in the UK assessed against the Code of Practice for Statistics. 
  • The Code of Practice for Statistics applies to everyone in an organisation producing official statistics, including senior leaders, policy professionals, communications staff and other analysts. Official statistics should be compiled to the highest standards of quality to ensure decision-making is based on sound evidence. 
  • The LFS is the main household survey that is used in the compilation of official estimates of the UK labour market. It plays a vital role in understanding changing dynamics and is a rich source of demographic data used to inform estimates of population change. The Annual Population Survey (APS) uses data collected from the LFS combined with local area boosts to allow for more detailed analysis. Data derived from the LFS and APS are used extensively, and are therefore highly valued, by a wide range of users. The ONS transformation programme encompasses both the LFS and APS. 
  • ONS is transforming the Labour Force Survey (LFS) using an online-first multimode survey that has been running in parallel alongside the existing LFS since March 2020. The plan is to use transformed LFS data for regular labour market statistical outputs from March 2024. Given the complexity and scale of the transformation of the LFS, OSR agreed to engage early and undertake a review against the Code of Practice for Statistics in stages. 
  • The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) has decided to develop and move to its own Northern Ireland Labour Market Survey (NI LMS) in 2024. As highlighted in our letter, engagement between ONS and NISRA is vital to ensure consistency in UK-wide key labour market indicators. We have agreed with NISRA to start a review of the NI LMS in parallel to our review of ONS’s TLFS.