Mark Pont to Amanda Hall: Statistics on Local Authority Registered Providers of social housing stock and rents in England

Dear Amanda

Statistics on Local Authority Registered Providers of social housing stock and rents in England

We appreciate the positive and constructive way that you have engaged with us during our review of the compliance of your statistics on local authority registered providers of social housing stock and rents in England against the Code of Practice for Statistics. We initiated this review at your request following the transfer to RSH of responsibility for the data collection and production of these statistics from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Our compliance check has focused particularly on RSH’s work to maintain and enhance the quality of the statistics through this transition. I am pleased to confirm that these statistics can continue to be designated as National Statistics.

We found a range of positive features that demonstrate the trustworthiness, quality, and value of the statistics:

  • Close working with MHCLG both before transfer of collection and on an ongoing basis, to ensure comparability, quality and coherence of the data collected
  • Improvements in the response rate (to 100%) in 2020
  • Enhancing quality by building relationships through direct engagement with local authority data suppliers, and with data quality being explicitly reinforced through both RSH’s in year regulatory work and the emphasis that RSH places on accurate and timely data, as highlighted in its Regulating the Standards document
  • Enhancing insight by producing a new registered providers’ bulletin to provide the fullest picture of stock and rent information across local authority and private registered provider social housing provision in England
  • Increasing granularity in the statistics by providing social and Affordable Rent information split by general needs and supported housing, and providing tables, data and tools, allowing for further interrogation of the data
  • Renaming the statistical outputs so that they refer to the subject matter covered rather than the data collection used
  • Transparent and thorough documentation on quality, methods and the strengths and limitations of the data, including a helpful comparison table explaining the nature and extent differences in the new data compared with that previously collected by MHCLG, and a process map setting out RSH’s quality assurance approach.

We identified some areas where the public value of the statistics could be further improved, in order to continue to maintain the high standards required of National Statistics:

  • Publish information about RSH’s ongoing approach to user engagement to support further engagement which will in turn support future developments to the statistics
  • Consider how to better communicate any uncertainty in the statistics, for example by considering confirming the self-reported nature of the data or using rounded numbers (particularly if imputation is needed in future years)
  • Explaining some key terms ‘i.e. rent standard’ in the statistics when first used to enhance accessibility for non-expert users.

Thank you again for inviting us to review these statistics. We welcome the work you have done to ensure their quality following their transition from MHCLG and the additional improvements, value and insight you have added to them so far.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspects of this letter further.

Yours sincerely

 

Mark Pont

Assessment Programme Lead