Housing, Planning and Local Services

Last updated on Friday 29 April 2022

Our Housing, Planning and Local Services domain oversees statistics on topics, including: house building, household estimates and projections, homelessness and rough sleeping, housing need and demand, land stock, use and development, and local authority planning. It also covers information on local services such as fire and rescue services.

During 2022/23, we will use our regulatory tools to drive improvements for specific outputs including National and Official Statistics and wider forms of data, using compliance checks and rapid reviews for new and emerging sources. While we have primarily focused on ensuring compliance of existing National Statistics over the last couple of years, this year we will focus on more projects that require additional engagement to gain buy in for potential reviews of official statistics and emerging data sources of public value beyond official statistics. This will include promoting the voluntary application of the Code to key producers outside of the official statistics community.

Building on work started last year, we will also continue to work with statistics producers to drive ambitious developments to close data gaps, and ensure data quality, including in the context of COVID-19. We will also work to build trust in metrics identified for key policy making decisions across the UK; encourage government analysts to bring sources together to enhance statistical insights; and share examples of best practice between statistics producers.

Our planned regulatory work will focus on the themes of: the Housing market, Housing need and demand, Planning and land, Local authority finance, Housing stock, conditions and efficiency, Fire incidents and safety, and housing related insights from the Census.

Contact our regulators for this domain Oliver Fox-Tatum , Gemma Keane or Ben Bohane, for more information.

Current issues in this domain

Official statistics on household estimates and projections contribute to informing on local housing need and are therefore of high user interest.

We recently completed compliance checks on the household estimates and household projections produced for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

We found several examples of good practice which support the trustworthiness, quality, and value of the statistics, and also cross-UK benefits. We also identified some key areas for improvement which will strengthen the quality and public value of these statistics across the UK.

While undertaking these compliance checks, we heard that statisticians in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have committed to work together to help maximise the trustworthiness, quality and value of the updated household estimates and projections they produce.

Looking ahead to updated household estimates and projections based on the 2021 Censuses, findings from these reviews offer insights which will also support improvements to the production and use of household projections in England. We have written to ONS and MHCLG to ask for their commitment to work together to ensure that similar improvements will also be realised in the England context, and to bring the production and use of household projections in England in line with the approaches already established in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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Statistics on homelessness and rough sleeping have developed in different ways in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each country in the UK has its own approach to homelessness policy, with different criteria for state support and different approaches for measuring homelessness and rough sleeping.

We have recently seen improvements and innovation in the way that statistics producers measure and report on homelessness and rough sleeping. This has led to a better understanding of the extent and characteristics of the homeless and rough sleeping populations. However, there is still more to work needed to provide further clarity and insight in this space.

Government statistics producers across all four UK countries have committed to a joint work plan to enhance the available UK homelessness and rough sleeping statistics. Statisticians have also committed to further engagement with users to ensure that any new statistics produced meet their needs.

We encourage producers to work towards developing a richer, better integrated and more robust statistical picture of homelessness and rough sleeping in the UK which more fully conveys the dynamics and complexity of UK homelessness and rough sleeping. In doing this, it is important that statistics and data better represent the lived experiences of homeless people, as well as the wider public’s experience of the scale and nature of UK homelessness and rough sleeping.

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