Response from Jeremy Pocklington to Ed Humpherson

Dear Ed,

RE: MANAGEMENT INFORMATION ON ROUGH SLEEPERS

Thank you for your letter of 2 June 2020 where you make reference to the use of management information by MHCLG ministers and officials.

I can confirm that the management information that supports the statement that nearly 15,000 people have been provided emergency accommodation by local authorities in response to this crisis has been published online today, as agreed with your officials. The publication can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-covid-19-rough-sleeper-accommodation-survey-data-may-2020.

You will see that in the publication we have noted the comments you make around the definition of the terms used and given a clear explanation of them throughout.

I have further noted the principles you have outlined, and I will remind officials of the importance of publication of figures to which public statements refer.

I trust this addresses your concerns, and have copied this response to William Wragg MP, Chair of the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee.

Yours Sincerely,
Jeremy Pocklington

 

Related links

Letter from Ed Humpherson to Jeremy Pocklington

Ed Humpherson to Jeremy Pocklington: Management Information on Rough Sleepers

Dear Mr Pocklington

MANAGEMENT INFORMATION ON ROUGH SLEEPERS

In a statement on 18 May we set out our expectation that when management information is used publicly by ministers or officials to inform Parliament, the media and the public, it should be available to all in an accessible form, with appropriate explanations of context and sources. We have seen repeated use of figures relating to rough sleepers and homeless people which the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) should ensure are published in a format which is available to all, with definitions and limitations explained.

During the Government’s daily coronavirus press conference on 18 April the Communities Secretary announced that plans to protect rough sleepers had resulted in over 90 per cent being offered safe accommodation. A press release from MHCLG that same day put the number of rough sleepers helped during the pandemic as being over 5,400. We have seen these figures repeated several times, including in MHCLG press releases and in response to a written parliamentary question on the 18 May.

A further MHCLG press release on the 26 May quoted a figure of nearly 15,000 rough sleepers having been housed in emergency accommodation since the beginning of the pandemic, and later in the same press release the term ’almost 15,000 homeless people’ was used.

We have seen these figures continue to be used and picked up widely in the media.

Currently, none of the underlying data and associated limitations have been published by MHCLG. We understand that you are intending to publish details of these data and would urge you to do so as soon as possible.

We appreciate the challenging environment your department is operating in and the need to manage the demand for up-to-date information. Given the impact that COVID-19 is having on the rough sleeping and homeless communities and the clear media and public interest in these figures, there is likely to be a continuing need for this information. Decisions on use of data such as those on rough sleeping, and the best approach to publication, should be informed by advice from your department’s head of profession. A lack of transparency risks undermining public trust in the data, as well as the organisation producing the data.

To minimise confusion, the terms ‘rough sleepers’ and ‘homeless’ should also be clarified when referring to the numbers of people who have been housed in emergency accommodation, including whether the figure of 15,000 includes the wider homeless and rough sleeping population.

I am copying this letter to Sandra Tudor, Head of Profession for Statistics at MHCLG, and William Wragg MP, Chair of the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee.

Yours sincerely

Ed Humpherson

Director General for Regulation

Adult Social Care Statistics in England Report – Letter to Sandra Tudor, MHCLG

Dear Sandra

Today, we have published the findings from our review of Adult Social Care statistics in England. The need for good data to support delivery of adult social care should not be underestimated. While there is rightly a focus on delivery of social care, a scarcity of funding has led to under investment in data and analysis, making it harder for individuals and organisations to make informed decisions. This needs to be addressed if social care is going to evolve to support a changing society and meet the increasing demands expected over coming years. Data matters in solving problems, supporting efficiency and improving outcomes.

Our review identified important improvements needed covering: leadership and collaboration; data gaps; and existing official statistics. We would like to see stronger leadership and collaboration across government to support better data on adult social care and consider the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to be an important part of this.

As part of our review of existing official statistics, we considered the quality and value of official statistics about adult social care against the standards set out in the Code of Practice for Statistics. It highlighted improvements around accessibility, coherence, quality, timeliness and granularity of the data. The review included two outputs published by MHCLG (Local Authority Revenue Expenditure and Financing and Improved Better Care Fund Quarterly and Year End Reporting). Some immediate actions related to these outputs are outlined in the Annex to this letter.

Improved statistics are essential to support policy makers who are developing proposals to reform the funding and delivery of adult social care as well as individuals who will be able to hold government to account and make better informed decisions about issues which impact the lives of themselves and their families.

We will continue to work with a range of organisations to make the case for improvements to social care statistics. Our health and social care lead will liaise with you regarding progress towards these recommendations.

I am copying this letter to Chris Roebuck, Chief Statistician at NHS Digital.

Yours sincerely

Mary Gregory
Deputy Director for Regulation

 

Related Links

Report on Adult Social Care statistics in England