Office for National Statistics’ transformation of the Labour Force Survey (TLFS): OSR judgment and progress report, July 2023

10 July 2023
Last updated:
21 February 2024

Section C - List of all recommendations

Recommendation 1 – Value

To enhance public confidence and maximise the public value of the transformed Labour Force Survey (TLFS), ONS should:

  • communicate its long-term user engagement plans, detailing wider planned activities to engage with both established and new users on an ongoing basis, for example, publication of a user engagement strategy.
  • regularly publish its updated plans, progress made and what users can expect to see through the quarterly transformation updates.
  • seek further additional ways to engage with a wide range of users, considering communication style for both expert and non-expert users, for example, using social media, blogs.

Recommendation 2 – Value

Upon publishing finalised variables for the transformed LFS, ONS should explain any likely data discontinuities, any subsequent impact on time series and its plans to mitigate these.

Recommendation 3 – Value

To support ongoing user needs, ONS needs to be open in its communication with users about how the redesign of the LFS will affect the availability and granularity of APS. For example, what, if any, datasets will be available in the interim to support longitudinal analysis.

Recommendation 4 – Trustworthiness

To support public confidence in the transformation process, ONS should publish information about its:

  • governance arrangements
  • evaluation and assurance process including decision-making checkpoints for the parallel run, and the statistical quality criteria it proposes to use in determining whether the transformation has been successful
  • contingency plans in the event of the transformed LFS data not meeting the statistical quality criteria.

Early insights and the results of any comparative analysis should also be made available publicly.

Recommendation 5 – Quality

To reassure users about the changes made to the survey approach, ONS should publish sufficient detail about the survey design, sampling frame and any analysis exploring mode effects.

Recommendation 6 – Quality

To help support understanding of the changes being made, ONS should ensure that all relevant papers submitted to the Methodological Assurance Review Panel (MARP) are published, accessible and well signposted on the UKSA website. In particular, those covering imputation, weighting, maintaining time series, dealing with non-response bias and modelled monthly estimates.

Recommendation 7 – Quality

By the end of July 2023, ONS should publish its plans for the weighting of the LFS until the point of decommission and in the interim publish details about the impact on quality of the current LFS. ONS should also keep users informed about any implications on the development of TLFS weighting methodology.

Back to top
Download PDF version (164.72 KB)