MR outline 02/13

‘Outlines’ set out the ‘concern’ to which a Monitoring Review relates, describe the issues to be explored in the Review, the geographic coverage of the Review, a broad timetable, and the broad methodology that we expect to follow in conducting the Review. Outlines are prepared before the main work on a Review is undertaken. They serve both as a guide for the team doing the research and as an indication of work in hand for others who might wish to make a contribution to the Review.

The concern

The central concern that the Review addresses is that not enough may be currently known about the types of use that the financial services industry makes of official statistics – and without such knowledge the future development of some official statistics may not reflect the needs of an important user community. This Monitoring Review will explore how the financial services industry uses official statistics, how well the official statistics meet user needs and whether producers of official statistics engage effectively with users within the industry to identify and respond to their needs. It aims to illustrate some of the main types of uses rather than to provide a comprehensive account.


The industry, for the purposes of this Review, is broadly defined to encompass financial services activities such as banking and credit granting, as well as insurance activities and pension funds. It also includes the use of statistics by regulatory bodies connected to the financial services industry such as the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Bank of England. The use of official statistics about the industry and its activities will form part of the Review but only in the context of how the industry itself uses such statistics. The scope does not extend to how others outside of the industry use statistics about the industry’s activities and performance.

This review is the second in a series of reports that look at the relevance of official statistics to decision making in key sectors and industries. The Authority published the first report in May 2012 – Monitoring Brief 5/12: Official Statistics and the Voluntary Sector.(1)

Relevant aspects of the Code

Principle 1: Meeting user needs
P1.1: Engage effectively with users of statistics to promote trust and maximise public value, in accordance with protocol 1.

P1.2 Investigate and document the needs of users of official statistics, the use made of existing statistics and the types of decision they inform.

P1.3: Adopt systematic statistical planning arrangements, including transparent priority setting, that reflect the obligation to serve the public good.

Principle 4: Sound methods and assured quality
P4.2: Ensure that official statistics are produced to a level of quality that meets user’s needs, and that users are informed about the quality of statistical outputs, including estimates of the main sources of bias and other errors, and other aspects of the European Statistical System definition of quality.

P4.6 Promote comparability within the UK and internationally by, for example, adopting common standards, concepts, sampling frames, questions, definitions, statistical units and classifications (including common geographic referencing and coding standards). Make the reasons for any deviations from standard models publicly available.

Principle 8: Frankness and accessibility
P8.2: Prepare and disseminate commentary and analysis that aid interpretation, and provide factual information about the policy or operational context of official statistics. Adopt formats for the presentation of statistics in graphs, tables and maps that enhance clarity, interpretability and consistency.

It may be that compliance with other aspects of the Code is considered based upon the evidence gathered which could be worthy of discussion within the report.

Process and methods

The team’s broad approach will be to:

  1. Carry out a desk review to identify the range of users and potential users of official statistics in the financial services industry; evidence of uses of official or alternative statistics by the industry; the policy and operational context potentially informing the need for statistics; the producers of official statistics about the financial services industry and the related outputs; any relevant studies by academia, regulators and international organisations. We will examine the extent to which members from the industry have responded to any of our user consultations during assessments. The existence of any evidence of reviews of information about the industry by the National Audit Office or the Devolved Administration equivalents will be looked for.
  2.  Seek the experiences and views of identified users and potential users of official statistics in the financial services industry – engage directly with financial institutions and through organisations such as British Bankers’ Association (BBA), Association of British Insurers (ABI), Investment Management Association (IMA), Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), and user networks. Allow for the possibility of face-to-face meetings and workshops as well as utilising on-line user forums and e-mail correspondence.
  3. Hold discussions with individual producers where users have identified issues and concerns.


We are currently gathering and reviewing evidence, and plan to report to the Authority Board in summer 2013.

Your views

We would welcome your views on any of the issues to be covered in this review. It would be helpful if we could receive your comments by 5 April 2013 if possible but late responses would still be welcome. Please send any comments to: