Accessibility and coherence of UK climate change statistics

27 October 2021
Last updated:
27 October 2021

Executive Summary

Why is this review needed?

Climate change is widely seen as the most important challenge facing the world today. With a rising global temperature resulting in warming oceans and more extreme weather events, it is an issue that is becoming ever more pressing. Climate change is already having wide-ranging effects on all areas of life, and the impact will become more severe as temperatures continue to rise. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, published in August 2021, was the starkest warning yet of the major effects of climate change caused by human activities and shows the urgent need for significant policy action and a strong evidence base to underpin decisions.

Relevant, accessible, and insightful statistics are essential to support delivery of the UK’s climate change goals – they are crucial for informing the design, monitoring and evaluation of policies that reduce or preventing the emission of greenhouse gases (mitigation) and those that prepare us for the expected impacts of climate change (adaptation). The statistics also help the public understand the nature and impacts of climate change, which is pivotal in effecting the wider societal change needed to tackle the problem. Looking in detail across the UK climate change statistical landscape is thus timely and sheds light on the value of these important statistics.

We have looked at what we consider are the main climate change-related official statistics produced by UK government departments and the devolved governments. In doing so, we have focused on two key aspects of current climate change statistics: their accessibility – how they are presented to meet the needs of different types of users and whether users can find the information they need – and their coherence – how well sets of statistics work together to inform the bigger picture.

We have focused on exploring the following:

  • What producers of climate change statistics have recently done and are currently doing to enhance the accessibility and coherence of their statistics.
  • How statistics producers are working together to achieve improvements to the statistics.

What we found

The UK climate change statistics, data and analysis landscape is broad, complex and changeable.

Many new official statistics have been developed in the last decade to support user need and add insight on climate change, which we welcome. However, the development and use of common climate change-related statistics frameworks has also served to highlight data gaps that must be addressed. This is particularly true for the area of adaptation, where there are very few official statistics, and most adaptation indicators rely on proxy variables that are produced for other policy areas.

It is important that the development of statistics continues, not only to fill existing gaps, but also to ensure they keep pace with scientific advances and evolving policy priorities, to help inform decisions and support public understanding. Statistics producers should be open and transparent about their approach to the development of their statistics, setting out their plans and timetables, and explaining the scope and nature of the development.

We found that statistics on climate change have become more accessible. The development of interactive dashboards, data tools and maps as means of disseminating statistics has enhanced understanding, use and reuse of the statistics. These types of tools are helping make the statistics more accessible to a wider range of users, including non-specialists.

Responsibilities for statistics on the same topic area can lie across a number of government departments, and what is measured in the statistics largely reflects the specific needs of the department. For example, separate greenhouse gas emission statistics are produced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Whilst there exists the potential for confusion – different producers publishing very similar figures – we found that, in the case of greenhouse gas emissions, statistics producers provide good guidance for users on how the statistics should and should not be used, and comparisons between the three estimates are published.

We found that compendium outputs which bring together related statistics and data are providing a much-needed joined-up narrative on climate change, but one which is largely restricted to a specific area, sector or government department producing the statistics.

There are currently no official statistics outputs at a UK level which draw together statistics on all areas of climate change (drivers, emissions, impacts, mitigation and adaptation). Such outputs would contribute to public knowledge and understanding of climate change-related issues and could help inform behavioural changes. UK Government should work towards producing UK-level climate change statistics outputs that meet the needs of both a specialist and non-specialist audience.

In the short term, until such outputs can be produced, the website landing pages for climate change statistics could be improved to help users find relevant and related sets of statistics. Currently, cross-referencing and signposting across different sources of information is not particularly clear, especially between policy pages and related sets of statistics from different producers. The climate change and energy portals on GOV.UK currently contain a long list of links to statistics, with no introduction or context, and adding additional supporting information would benefit users.

Collaboration between statistics producers is essential to support the development and improvement of climate change statistics. We found good levels of collaboration across government and several examples of proactive engagement between analysts in different government departments.

Currently, a significant focus for cross-government engagement and collaboration on climate change statistics is the development of a new UK climate change portal, led by ONS. The climate change portal is one of several pilots for ONS’s Integrated Data Service (IDS). The IDS is being developed as a digital collaborative environment that aims to unlock the potential of linked data and build up data standards, tools and approaches. At present, the target audiences for the pilot climate change portal are government analysts, policy teams and other experts. ONS told us it is planning to further develop the portal to make it more accessible to the wider public.

The project has significant potential to improve climate change statistics. We anticipate that, by providing a central repository of information, it will make the existing statistics and data more accessible and will expand opportunities for data linkage, both within climate change datasets and with statistics on connected topics, such as the economy and transport.

We encourage ONS to make the most of this opportunity by delivering a portal that not only makes data open, accessible, and consistently formatted, but also presents data in an engaging and interactive way for a wide range of users, to meet the information needs of society.

Climate change is such a high-profile, strategic challenge and deserves this level of prominence from the UK’s national statistical institute.

We are recommending:

  • UK Government should work towards producing UK-level climate change statistics outputs that meet the needs of both a specialist and non-specialist audience.
  • The climate change statistics and data frameworks developed by the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (UNECE), the Climate Change Committee (CCC) and others are helping highlight gaps in the UK official statistics. Relevant producers should attempt to address these as a matter of urgency and in the short-term, where possible, proxy variables should be identified to add insight and support understanding.
  • Producers should ensure that experimental statistics have a clear development plan that covers how they intend to develop them and across what timeframe.
  • Government landing pages should include clear guidance for users about which sources and datasets are available, how they can be used to answer different questions on climate change and improve cross-referencing and signposting across different sources of information.
  • When statistics are used by government which have more than one official source, for example greenhouse gas emissions or green jobs, it should be clearly stated which source is being used and why.
  • Statistics producers should be transparent and publish information about their coordination arrangements. This helps statistics users understand the extent of collaboration and engagement across government and how this supports high quality and valuable statistics on climate change.

We would encourage ONS, in its development of the climate change portal, to consider the following:

  • To promote the portal, ONS should lead on publishing a development plan for the portal, which includes regular progress updates.
  • We recommend that ONS clearly communicates the target audience and deliverables to all stakeholders.
  • It is important that the climate change portal is resourced to support long-term delivery and is able to respond to changing policy priorities and evolving datasets.
  • Any central narrative will need to align with that of the existing statistics and this will require close collaboration across government departments.
  • We fully support ONS’s ambition to develop a public-facing version of the portal. In doing so, user engagement will be vital for understanding the needs and gathering the views of all types of users.
  • It is important that ONS, alongside statistics owners, considers how it communicates information about the quality, strengths and limitations of all data sources in the portal, including those which are not official statistics.
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In recent years understanding and tackling loneliness has been a significant focus in the UK. Now more than ever, it is important that statistics reflect the world we live in, and that they are accessible to those who need them in order to provide services and support.

Since 2019, and throughout the pandemic, as part of our ongoing work regulating statistics, we have been keeping abreast of statistics on loneliness. We have been encouraged to see there have been several positive developments which have improved the available statistics.

This systemic review provides an overview of the currently available statistics on loneliness, explores the needs of users of the statistics and provides some suggestions that would increase the public value of statistics on loneliness.

Why this is important

Statistics on loneliness are important on many levels.

  • UK government and devolved administrations require data and statistics on the national prevalence of loneliness to develop national policies to prevent, combat and tackle loneliness.
  • Local authorities need area specific data and statistics to target policy and allocate funding to help organise and run both preventative and support services.
  • Academics require data on demographics and protected characteristics to research the relationships between loneliness and vulnerable groups.
  • Charities and community groups need data on their communities and local areas most at risk to help them target charitable services that combat loneliness and to allocate funding to enable this.

To be truly valuable, official statistics should help inform decisions made by individuals and groups across society. As part of our review we spoke with a range of users of statistics including government policy officials, loneliness charities and academics. We asked them how useful they found the current statistics and for their thoughts on the current evidence base on loneliness.

Who we are

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is the regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority. We provide independent regulation of all official statistics produced in the UK. Our vision is statistics that serve the public good. This means that statistics published by public sector bodies should be produced in a trustworthy way, be of high quality, and provide value by answering people’s questions.

As an independent UK-wide regulator, we are in a unique position to take a broader look at issues of importance to society and to make the case for improved statistics across organisation and Government boundaries.

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Executive Summary

The Office for Statistics Regulation are exploring the public value of mental health statistics in the United Kingdom.

Achieving ‘parity of esteem’ between physical and mental health services is often cited as a key ambition in Government, public policy and research. Often stigmatised, poor mental health and its impacts on people’s lives were previously overlooked – yet, now more than ever, the importance of maintaining and improving our mental health and wellbeing is being prioritised. Through our ongoing work, we identified mental health statistics as an area where improvements could be made – to better inform decisions and policy making.

Our findings for England were published in September 2020. This report details our findings for Northern Ireland.

Why we did this review

Major transformation of mental health services in Northern Ireland are being proposed. In May 2020, the Department of Health (NI) published a Mental Health Action Plan as part of a strategic commitment to improve the mental health of the population in Northern Ireland. The plan included a commitment to develop and produce a new mental health strategy and a comprehensive funding plan for mental health.

In June 2021, a new Mental Health Strategy (2021-2031) was published by the Department of Health (NI) setting the strategic direction of mental health services in Northern Ireland for the next decade.

Statistics are vital to support policy decisions and service delivery and must be viewed as a key component in measuring the effectiveness of any Government strategy or policy. Good quality data and statistics are the foundation blocks, enabling an in-depth understanding of what works, where improvements are needed and how services are impacting people’s lives. With mental health high up on the political agenda in Northern Ireland – we want our review to be relevant, well-timed and add to the positive momentum.

Whilst this review has been conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not intended to provide specific guidance on statistics directly related to the effects of the pandemic. Its purpose is to share strengths and weaknesses of the wider landscape of mental health statistics in Northern Ireland, with a key question in mind – are current statistics meeting the needs of users? Our findings and recommendations should be considered and used to enhance the implementation of the new Mental Health Strategy.


What we found

Statistics serve the public good when they enable a range of statistics users to answer key important questions on a particular topic. Mental health statistics in Northern Ireland are currently not fully serving this vision. Based on our conversations with statistic users, and our own observations and desk research, whilst the publication of a new Mental Health Strategy is a very positive development, there are significant issues hindering the development of statistics which need to be addressed.

  • There is a scarcity of robust mental health data in Northern Ireland. This has hindered the development of official statistics, meaning that there are significant and fundamental data gaps. For example, statistics cannot tell us how many people are accessing mental health services in Northern Ireland and whether their needs are being met. This means it is also difficult to evaluate the delivery of mental health services and understand the outcomes for individuals.
  • A lack of official statistics means that statistic users are turning to other data to answer questions that they have. Academic research studies are filling some of the gaps, with a wealth of valuable information being published by the research community.
  • There is no accurate regional picture of mental health in Northern Ireland. Mental health data are currently collected in silos by each of the five Health and Social Care Trusts (HSCT). Data definitions are inconsistent and a fragmented IT infrastructure has led to poor data comparability. Different localised IT systems are implemented both within and across the Health and Social Care Trusts, making standardised data collection a challenge.
  • There is no single point of access to official statistics on mental health. Users find it difficult to locate official statistics and data across a dispersed landscape of information. Unpublished data are requested on an adhoc basis, but this process can be slow and inconsistent. Access to mental health data for secondary analysis purposes is not easy and the absence of a legal gateway in Northern Ireland prohibits researcher’s ability to fully explore and answer their research questions.

These issues affect a wide range of individuals and organisations, who are not having their analytical needs fully met. These include: the general public, patients, carers, policy makers, public health bodies, professional bodies and commissioners, regulatory bodies, academics and researchers, charities and third sector bodies.

Statistics users have a strong vision of what mental health statistics should be delivering. While there is currently a large gap between this vision and what currently exists, statistics producers do share many of the concerns raised by users. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted both resourcing and prioritisation, yet despite this, there is strong appetite in Northern Ireland to make improvements.

There are positive developments to highlight here – for example, the implementation of a new digital integrated patient record across health and social care in Northern Ireland through the Encompass programme. The new IT solution will improve efficiency by replacing current disparate IT systems across the Health and Social Trusts and allow greater standardisation. Robust data collection methods are the foundations on which good statistics are built upon and produced – this is a huge step forward towards improving statistics on mental health in Northern Ireland.

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Our recommendations

Improving mental health statistics in the short to medium-term: our recommendations

To improve the public value of mental health statistics in Northern Ireland, we have seven recommendations to support short to medium-term improvements.

  • To support user understanding, the Information Analysis Directorate (IAD) in the Department of Health (NI) should seek to provide more insightful commentary for existing mental health publications to explain key statistical messages.
  • Statisticians from the Department of Health (NI) and clinicians must be involved in the development stages of the Encompass programme. Their involvement will maximise the benefits of a change in data recording of this scale and ensure that the data collected will be fit for statistical purposes.
  • Prior to full implementation of Encompass, the Department of Health (NI) in liaison with the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) and the five Health and Social Care Trusts (HSCT) must collaborate together to establish a minimum dataset to collect mental health information across all settings.
  • Quality information for existing mental health statistics should be reviewed by the Information Analysis Directorate at the Department of Health (NI) in order to ensure that it is clear, relevant and meets the needs of a broad range of users.
  • The Department of Health (NI), in liaison with the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB), should periodically review Freedom of Information and other data requests and consider whether to include the information in future routine data publications.
  • The Information Analysis Directorate (IAD) in the Department of Health (NI), in collaboration with users of mental health statistics, should review, innovate and improve accessibility to mental health data. Relevant signposting and navigation between different sources of information should be clear, joined-up and easy to understand.
  • As part of their longer-term plans to improve mental health statistics, the Information Analysis Directorate (IAD) in the Department of Health (NI) should harness technological advancements to disseminate information to a wide range of users, considering accessibility needs. For example, they should consider developing an online dashboard and a single central data hub for mental health information in Northern Ireland.

Longer-term transformation of mental health statistics: our recommendations

We welcome the ambitions set out in the Department of Health (NI)’s Mental Health Strategy (2021-2031) specifically those under ‘Theme 3: New ways of working’. We have identified three strategic actions required to support and deliver the long-term transformation in mental health statistics to support this:

  • The Department of Health (NI), as part of the ‘New Ways of Working’ theme in the Mental Health Strategy 2021-2031, should use and build upon our findings in this report to augment and improve the availability of official data on mental health.
  • Statisticians, analysts and clinical experts who lead the provision of mental health services must be involved in the development of standardised data collection methods and mental health outcome indicators, as highlighted in the Mental Health Strategy 2021-2031.
  • Data and statistics need to be recognised as a valuable public asset. Given the extent of changes needed to improve mental health statistics in NI, the Department of Health (NI) should consider whether a separate data strategy is required to support and deliver the ambitions set out in the Mental Health Strategy 2021-2031.

We will continue to work with a range of organisations to make the case for improvements to mental health statistics. We hope to the raise the profile of the issues highlighted in this report and advocate for the importance of data and statistics at a time of major transformation of mental health services in Northern Ireland.

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Children and Young People Statistics in the pandemic

3 August 2021
Last updated:
3 August 2021

Executive Summary

This report forms part of OSR’s ongoing cross cutting review of data and statistics related to children and young people.

We looked at a selection of the key published data available on children and young people during the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to explore the representation of children and young people in official statistics since March 2020. We sought to understand how visible children and young people have been in key statistics, if they have been given a voice, and if the experiences of the most vulnerable have been collected and analysed separately.

We found that a number of the key statistical outputs released during COVID-19 have made children and young people visible, including data on testing, infections and mental health. There are also good examples of separate analysis being conducted for children and young people in specific educational settings. However, in some cases, small sample sizes inhibit the ability for data to be broken down into detailed age categories or by demographic characteristics.

In some of the new statistical outputs produced during the pandemic, efforts have been made to separately identify the most vulnerable children in the data. Producers have also been transparent about the limitations in recording vulnerable groups where these exist.

In some instances, however, we found that vulnerable children can be excluded from official statistics, for example, if surveys are sampled on a household basis (hence excluding those in care) and where survey enrolment has to be completed online (potentially excluding those without consistent access to the internet).

A notable gap in the official statistics produced during COVID-19 is the lack of data on social outcomes that give a voice to children themselves. We found that much of the data that did give children a voice came from non-official sources, outside of official statistics. Organisations outside of government including charities and think tanks have often come up with creative ways to encourage young respondents to express their thoughts and feelings. They have also considered alternative methods of responding for children without access to electronic devices or the internet.

We will continue to work with users and producers to explore the levers and barriers to driving improvements in official statistics on children and young people that meet the needs of users. We aim to publish further findings later in 2021.

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Executive summary

Why we did this review

Poverty is an important social and economic issue in the UK. Yet there is currently no universally accepted definition of poverty. The evidence base for poverty in the UK has largely been driven by international best practice and successive government strategies aimed at eradicating poverty.

The concept of poverty means different things to different people. This makes it difficult to define and measure. Despite this challenge, it is important for central and local governments to understand and address the nature of poverty in the areas they serve.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are the primary producers of official statistics on income-based poverty. However, there are a number of other official statistics producers working in this space, including the Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh Governments. For the purposes of this report, where we refer to ‘statistics producers’, this includes all of the producers who contribute to the income-based poverty statistics landscape. Where recommendations apply to specific producers, we will refer to them by name.

A Government Statistical Service (GSS) Income and Earnings Coherence Steering Group was established in 2020, aimed at addressing the coherence and accessibility of income and earnings statistics. The group is made up of statistical leaders across DWP, HMRC and ONS, as well as representatives from the devolved administrations and academia, who are striving to improve the evidence base on income-based poverty, as well as income more broadly.

There are also several prominent organisations outside of government that contribute to the wider evidence base on poverty. These include the Social Metrics Commission (SMC), which was formed in early 2016 with the goal of creating new poverty measures for the UK, as well as think tanks such as the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Resolution Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

When poverty is discussed in the public domain, it is often painted as a single statistic or trend which can mask the complexity of the underlying issue. The fact that there are multiple approaches to measuring poverty also means that measures can be used selectively, to suit a particular argument or point of view.

We want to ensure that statistics on poverty provide a robust evidence base for national and local policy development and decision making. We champion the need for statistics to support a wide range of uses, including by charities, researchers and individuals.

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What we found

Three strategic improvements are needed to support and deliver statistics that fully meet users’ needs. These would represent a step-change in the way the statistics on income-based poverty are produced and will require continued joined up, collaborative working, to be achieved.

  • The GSS Income and Earnings Coherence Steering Group needs to continue to collaborate and demonstrate leadership of the income-based poverty statistics landscape, to move away from producing a series of individual outputs to a more coherent and comprehensive evidence base.
  • Statistics producers need to better understand how the income-based poverty statistics are being used across policy and service provision and how the evidence base can be improved.
  • Innovation is needed for the statistics to deliver their full potential and serve the public good. Opportunities for data linkage should be maximised and data gaps should be addressed, building on work already underway in the GSS to explore the use of administrative data and its integration with social surveys.

Information needs in the poverty space are multi-faceted and encompass a range of specialist interests and priorities. To meet these broad needs, poverty is most helpfully viewed as a basket of main measures. As such, one measure could not adequately meet all the differing needs that users have for poverty statistics.

The current landscape of income-based poverty statistics is difficult for many to navigate and there is scope for signposting between the different statistics to be improved. The accessibility of language used in statistical bulletins and guidance accompanying the statistics could also be enhanced to support users’ understanding.

The number of people falling under the headline poverty line, drawn at 60% of median income, has remained stable over the past few years at around 14 million individuals. Focusing on this headline measure of poverty can mask important insights into the different levels of poverty experienced by different groups.

Whilst this review is focused on income-based poverty, poverty is closely linked to many other aspects of people’s lives, from employment prospects to health outcomes. Users we spoke to felt that the best mechanism for understanding people’s ‘lived experience’ of poverty is through qualitative research. Such research is currently carried out by a number of organisations outside of government, including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Material deprivation is often used as a proxy for understanding the lived experience of poverty. The existing material deprivation statistics could be enhanced to ensure the questions are reflective of essential items and services in society today, and that they are an appropriate discriminator of who is ‘deprived’ and who is not.

Household surveys, which underpin most of the income-based poverty statistics, contain a number of data gaps. Users expressed concerns about the exclusion of the homeless and under-coverage of individuals with no recourse to public funds. There is also a lack of robust, granular data on ethnicity or sub-regional breakdowns in the data.

There is untapped potential within administrative data to augment and improve existing income-based poverty statistics. Administrative data could be used to address historical issues with sample-based surveys such as timeliness and benefit-underreporting. The opportunities for greater use of administrative data are already being explored by DWP and ONS.

There remains a substantial role for sample-based surveys in this space to ask the questions that administrative data cannot capture. These include questions on family structure, housing costs, certain sources of income and lived experience. However, there are limitations to these surveys which should be made more visible for less-expert users.

Equivalisation scales are used in reporting on income-based poverty statistics to adjust household income, taking into account household size and composition. Many users told us that the current modified OECD scale used by official statistics producers in the UK is outdated and arbitrary. It also fails to account for a number of ’inescapable’ costs such as disability, childcare and commuting costs. Users told us that there could be value in developing equivalisation methods for income statistics which are tailored more specifically by age and other demographic characteristics. ONS have already conducted some initial research into alternative methods of equivalisation.

Statistics producers we spoke to as part of this review are engaged with the subject of poverty and understand how they contribute to the evidence base. Importantly, whilst they endeavour to provide clear briefing on complex data, the information is still sometimes misunderstood and misused by politicians.

There is a lack of transparent communication of DWP’s development priorities and plans for income-based poverty statistics. Decisions around development of the statistics need to be communicated openly to enhance confidence in the data. Government departments need to take a wider view of user needs and look beyond immediate policy needs.

The GSS Income and Earnings Coherence Steering Group provides a cross-GSS vehicle to help producers address the recommendations set out in this report. The group has developed a vision statement and coherence and accessibility improvement workplan for Income and Earnings statistics in general, which will highlight the steps taken by the producers already with regards to the user need we have highlighted in this report. The group had plans to publish these outputs around the end of May 2021 at the time of our review.


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Our recommendations

The existing statistics on income-based poverty provide a good foundation for decision making but there are opportunities to improve the evidence base provided by official statistics. We have identified the following detailed recommendations for producers of poverty statistics:

Improve the accessibility of language and guidance

  • Producers should look to provide clearer and more detailed signposting to other income-based poverty statistics in their bulletins.
  • Producers should ensure supporting guidance is accessible to lay users and clear on the appropriate uses and quality of the statistics.
  • Producers should consider the helpfulness of the language used in the poverty bulletins and accompanying guidance, to ensure that it does not risk confusing or misleading less-experienced users.
  • DWP and ONS should ensure they are clear about the strengths and limitations of household surveys, particularly with regards to missing groups, and clearly set out the implicit and explicit assumptions that underline them.

Address data gaps to enhance insight

  • Producers should do more to draw out the necessary insights to allow users to understand the nature of poverty and how this varies between groups at differing levels of poverty, as identified above.
  • DWP and ONS need to understand why experts are funding their own data collections and analysis and consider whether this reflects weaknesses in the existing official statistics.
  • To increase the public value of the existing statistics, DWP should:
    • review the current set of questions which underpin material deprivation and determine a way to compare material deprivation across groups, in collaboration with other producers across the GSS who use these questions.
    • increase the consistency in the way it reports material deprivation, as it currently reports material deprivation of children in households with less than 50% and 70% of median income but not at 60%.
  • DWP and ONS should address the ethnicity data gap, as part of the wider GSS response to the findings of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities’ report.
  • DWP should consider the potential to extend the low-income families at a local area level analyses to working-age adults without children and pensioners.

Review existing methods and maximise use of administrative data

  • DWP and ONS, building on existing work to explore the feasibility and potential of social survey and administrative data integration, should explore whether integration can help improve the timeliness and robustness of income-based poverty statistics.
  • DWP and ONS should prioritise work to address under-reporting at the bottom end of the income distribution. They should consider a multifaceted approach to solving this problem, such as data linkage and making greater use of administrative data.
  • DWP and ONS should look to understand and address concerns about access when introducing administrative data into the production of income-based poverty statistics.
  • DWP and ONS should determine the user need for a single data source on household incomes by exploring the feasibility of consolidating the existing social surveys, as part of their existing plans in the new combined GSS Income and Earnings Coherence Work Plan. This could either be used to inform different publications, or to form the basis of a single set of statistics constructed from a consolidated data source, based on an understanding of user needs.
  • DWP and ONS should look to better understand the non-response bias of their surveys, and ensure they are transparent with users about any potential bias.
  • DWP and ONS should consider leading a review of equivalisation methods, in collaboration with other producers, building on the initial work conducted by ONS.

Command confidence in the statistics through trustworthy production

  • DWP and ONS should assess how the SMC recommendations can be implemented in their own work to enhance the public value of their statistics. Any planned developments to the statistics should also be communicated in an open and transparent way.


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Reproducible Analytical Pipelines: Overcoming barriers to adoption

23 March 2021
Last updated:
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Statistical leadership: Making analytical insight count

3 February 2021
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Mental Health Statistics in England

17 September 2020
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2 July 2020
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