Assessment of ONS Annual Business Survey

The Business Trade and International Domain (BTID) is currently carrying out an assessment of the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Business Survey (ABS) against the Code of Practice for Statistics. We will assess the statistics against the three pillars of the code – trustworthiness, quality and value – with a view to reaffirming their National Statistics status.

Our assessment will look to focus on the public value of these statistics. The ABS presents a rich and detailed dataset, which has the potential to offer valuable and extensive insight into the operations of UK businesses. We will assess the extent to which ABS statistics meet this goal by engaging extensively with users and producers of these statistics.

The assessment will cover the following statistical bulletins;

Annual Business Survey 2018 Revised Results

Annual Business Survey 2018 Provisional Results

The Code of Practice places a strong emphasis on statistics meeting the needs of their users. Capturing the views of users, and potential users, forms an important part of our judgement of the statistics, and helps us to ascertain how they could be improved going forward.

We would very much welcome your feedback on these statistics and would be grateful if any thoughts could be aligned to the following questions.

  1. Which of the ABS Statistics do you use, and for what purposes? What questions do you need the statistics to be able to answer for you?
  2. To what extent do you think that the statistics maximise their value and provide insight into important economic issues?
  3. How do you think that the statistics could be developed to help them become more valuable? Are there any data gaps which could be solved by improving the statistics?
  4. Are the statistics of sufficient quality for your needs, in particular do you consider them to be accurate enough, relevant and appropriately coherent with other data sources?
  5. Do you have any concerns about the methods used to produce the statistics? How clear is the advice from ONS about the strengths and limitations of the statistics? What further information would you like?
  6. Is the presentation of the statistics (through charts, tables and commentary) helpful to you? How could presentation be improved?
  7. How do you usually access the latest statistics, for example, from ONS’s website, StatsUserNet, or from the media etc? Could access be improved?
  8. How does ONS engage with you as a user? Are there any areas where you would welcome improved engagement?

We welcome comments on any other aspect of these statistics which you think might be relevant to our assessment. To contribute to our assessment, please get in touch with one of our assessment team: Chris Davies, Ben Bohane and Isabel Ralphs. We look forward to receiving your comments by 31 January 2021.