For anyone unable to get through 250 pages of the Bean Review report on government statistics this blog highlights the main issues raised (as I see them) from chapters 4 and 5, regarding the ONS effectiveness and governance. It’s not nice reading. There were positives but they were overshadowed by the negatives. It’s a sad story about a lost decade.
Response rates to surveys are declining. Fast. New sources, such as big data or administrative data, or making survey response compulsory, are no longer an optional extra. They need to be discussed now as a way to boost the quality of and restore credibility to the nation’s key figures. The rise in employment and the fall in earnings defined the economy of the last Parliament. As survey response rates fall below 50%, there is a chance that those trends which never gelled to give a coherent picture are some way from reality.
At first it seemed a bit like an episode of “The thick of it“. An independent review of an independent body “while fully protecting” that independence. You can almost hear the words coming from the head DoSAC, Nicola Murray. But this is real life, it’s under a Conservative majority government and it’s about something really important – the statistical underpinning of our democracy. Apart from showing wonderfully how the word “independent” has been devalued in politics, this is a stunningly important review that will help to set the course for policy-making and democracy for years to come. Continue reading Treasury review of government statistics
Not widely known about but possibly quite influential, the latest European reviews of EU member states’ statistical systems are well under way.
As the Eurostat website says: “Peer reviews are part of the European Statistical System (ESS) strategy to implement the Code of Practice (CoP). Their objective is to enhance the integrity, independence and accountability of the statistical authorities which make up the ESS.” The first handful have now been published but we await the news on the big beasts of Europe, including the UK. The assessment team has had its visit to the UK and the report is now being written and sent to and fro in draft form. Lets see what happens. Continue reading Review of the British statistical system