Temporary exemption from Code of Practice for HM Treasury market sensitive data

Dear Tom,

Thank you for your email of 30 March 2020. I am happy to confirm the exemption from the Code of Practice for Statistics to permit an earlier release time for HM Treasury’s market sensitive publications.

Your decision is sensible and proportionate in the circumstances.

Yours sincerely

Ed Humpherson
Director General for Regulation

 

Related Links:

Ed Humpherson to Scottish Government (March 2020)
Ed Humperson to NISRA (March 2020)
Ed Humpherson to Welsh Government (March 2020)

Voluntary Adoption of the Code of Practice – Block Grant Transparency statistics

Dear Tom

OSR Review of the Public Value of Devolved Public Finance Statistics

Thanks for your email of 6 November and I’m delighted that you found the meetings as part of our review productive and found the review itself is useful and appreciated the innovative nature of its publication.

I very much welcome HM Treasury’s commitment to the voluntary adoption of aspects of the Code of Practice for Statistics for its Block Grant Transparency publication and like your plan to include a section announcing and explaining this in the next publication of the statistics. Penny Babb, our Policy and Standards lead, has told me of the fruitful discussion she has had with you and your colleagues about appropriate next steps in furthering Treasury’s commitment in respect to voluntary adoption of Code principles for these statistics.

Alongside the Treasury’s commitment to voluntary adoption of the Code for its Red Book statistics this further commitment to adopt the Code principles for Block Grant Transparency statistics is great testament to the Treasury’s efforts to build trust in financial reporting. I’m sure this will make a positive contribution towards users gaining a better insight into the work that takes place behind the scenes to make government financial and performance reports trustworthy.

Yours sincerely

Ed Humpherson
Director General for Regulation

cc Penny Babb, Policy and Standards Lead, Office for Statistics Regulation

 

Related Links:

National Statistics confirmation: Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis: Country and Regional Analysis

Assessment Report 343: Statistics on Government Spending: Country and Regional Analysis

National Statistics confirmation: Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis: Country and Regional Analysis

Dear Tom

CONFIRMATION OF NATIONAL STATISTICS DESIGNATION FOR PUBLIC EXPENDITURE STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: COUNTRY AND REGIONAL ANALYSIS STATISTICS

We have reviewed the actions that you and your team have taken to address the requirements in Assessment Report number 343: Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis: Country and Regional Analysis.

On behalf of the Board of the UK Statistics Authority, I am pleased to confirm designation of National Statistics status for HM Treasury’s Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis: Country and Regional Analysis (CRA).

During this assessment you and the rest of the statistics team in HM Treasury involved in implementing the enhancements arising from the assessment have shown enthusiasm and commitment to improving the trustworthiness, quality and value of these statistics. We welcome particularly the improvements the team has made to widen the value of these statistics beyond meeting the needs of users beyond policy users alone, and ensuring that all users are at the centre of statistical production. There has been a real effort to present the statistics clearly and provide authoritative insights which we are sure will better serve the public good. We particularly appreciate the efforts that you and senior officials have gone to review the list of recipients of the statistics in their final form ahead of their publication and taken steps to keep this to a minimum. We see this initiative as making a very important contribution towards more equal access to, and the orderly release of, the CRA statistics.

We have included more detail about our judgement in an annex to this letter. I, or my team, would be very happy to talk you or your colleagues through any aspects of this letter or Code compliance more generally.

National Statistics status means that official statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value and is something to be celebrated. We were pleased to observe that you included details in the latest issue of the CRA statistics, CRA 2019, of the date that these statistics were first designated as National Statistics and the date of this most recent assessment of the statistics.

Yours sincerely

Ed Humpherson
Director General for Regulation

 

Related Links:

Assessment Report 343: Statistics on Government Spending: Country and Regional Analysis

Further steps to bolster the value of public finance statistics for the UK’s countries and regions

Dear Tom

OSR Review of the Public Value of Devolved Public Finance statistics

Our review of the public value of devolved public finance statistics has concluded and I wanted to share with you some of the results. We were partly prompted to conduct the review by more complex devolved finance arrangements leading to the need make devolved public finance statistics more easily understood. I would like to express our gratitude to you and your colleagues for helping the review team in their work.

You will find a presentation concerning the findings from the first part of the review on the coherence and transparency of devolved public finance statistics at this link. Other outputs from the review are a blog and a YouTube interview.

You may also be interested in the results of a second phase of the review on statistics on public sector investments for devolved countries; we published the findings in a second presentation and a link can be found here.  Generally, across the devolved nations we found a mixed response to introducing better public sector investment data in the different nations, with some being enthusiasts for better public sector investment data in the different nations and some who were unsure that there are clear uses for such data.

We found in respect to transparency of devolved public finance statistics that there is good coverage of data for all the devolved countries, but room for greater insights from the data. We also found that HM Treasury’s Block Grant Transparency data could offer better links to explanatory documentation about sources of funding available in the devolved countries.  In December last year, when OSR statistical regulators met with you and your colleagues there was a discussion about whether HM Treasury might be interested in voluntary adopting the Code of Practice principles in respect to the Block Grant Transparency statistics. HM Treasury made such a commitment some time ago about the Treasury’s Red book. Have you given that any more thought?

I would be interested to hear from you about the Block Grant Transparency release – if could you get back to me with your thoughts by the end of October Tom, it would be really helpful. Thanks.

Yours sincerely

Ed Humpherson
Director General for Regulation

 

Related Links:

Press Notice – ‘The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) takes further steps to bolster the value of public finance statistics for the UK’s countries and regions’

OSR Blog – Steps towards transparent fiscal statistics

Assessment of public expenditure statistical analysis: Country and Regional Analysis statistics

Dear Tom

ASSESSMENT OF PUBLIC EXPENDITURE STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: COUNTRY AND REGIONAL ANALYSIS STATISTICS

We have completed the assessment of these statistics and have today published our Assessment Report. I am grateful for your positive contribution and that of your staff for their engagement throughout the assessment process.

The Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis: Country and Regional Analysis (CRA) are widely used as the main source of country and regional spending data by analysts inside and outside government. Comparative public spending between nations and regions is a matter of great public interest, and very important for monitoring how new funding systems (fiscal frameworks) are operating. Our report highlights many examples of good practice, in particular:

  • the capability to manipulate the statistics in interactive tables, allowing users to conduct bespoke analysis based on the data
  • the statistics being the sole authoritative source for spending per head of population figures in the UK’s countries and regions
  • the framework used to create the statistics (the Total Expenditure on Services (TES) framework) is resilient to changes resulting from the creation or amalgamation of departments or by programmes of work moving between departments
  • positive feedback from users of government spending statistics based on CRA source data such as ONS’s Country and Regional Public Sector Finances, who see the statistics as trustworthy, and demonstrated confidence in them

We judge that the existing National Statistics designation of the Country and Regional Analysis can be confirmed once the seven requirements set out in the report have been met. This will demonstrate that your statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value and comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics. You are due to report back to us by 30 August 2019 outlining how you have addressed the requirements.

We have also published today findings from our review work on the public value of devolved public finance statistics. Taken together this suite of work aims to enhance the coherence and transparency of devolved public finances statistics, and allow people to use the statistics for new fiscal analyses.

Please feel free to discuss any aspect of this with me or my team at any time.

Yours sincerely

Ed Humpherson
Director General for Regulation

 

Related Links:

Statistics on Government Spending: Country and Regional Analysis (May 2019)

Systemic Review: The Public Value of Devolved Public Finance Statistics (May 2019)

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” – Steps towards transparent fiscal statistics (May 2019)