Today the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has published a review following the reintroduction of Labour Force Survey (LFS)-derived Labour Market Statistics, produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

ONS re-introduced its LFS-derived Labour Market statistics following their suspension in October 2023 due to quality concerns. In the interim (October 2023–January 2024), ONS published experimental estimates using alternative data sources. Following the re-introduction of the LFS-derived estimates, OSR has now set out its findings from this short review.  

In our review, users told us of a need for clear and open communication as ONS implements change to its labour market statistics. Users welcomed such qualities in the methodology article which accompanied the recent reintroduction of the reweighted LFS. Our review concluded that ONS should continue to build on this clarity in its communications approach and embed it across all its labour market communications, this should include: 

  • Clearer communication about its plans and prioritisation of work to improve the LFS including its response to user needs for more time series data. 
  • Communicating LFS updates and developments with the Transformed LFS together in a way which users can easily access and understand. 
  • Improved communication around the uncertainty in the data and what this means for use of this data. 
  • A more consistent approach to communicating data quality issues and the impact of improvements to the data. 
  • The publication of updated information setting out the principles and quality criteria it will consider in making further LFS improvements and the transition to the TLFS 

OSR’s Director General for Regulation, Ed Humpherson commented: 

“We recognise the significant efforts that the ONS teams have taken to restore the Labour Force Survey, and the further steps that are coming to fruition to increase achieved response. We look forward to ONS publishing its plans shortly setting out further improvements and developments for the LFS data, as well as publishing its plans for its transformed survey.” 

Notes to Editors: 

  1. OSR provides independent regulation of all official statistics produced in the UK. 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.
  3. Part of our role as the statistics regulator is to investigate concerns on the quality, good practice and comprehensiveness of official statistics. It is not our role to moderate public discourse.

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