Dear Glyn,

COMPLIANCE CHECK OF STATISTICS ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROVISION IN WALES

As you are aware, we recently completed our compliance check of Welsh Government’s (WG) Affordable Housing Provision against the Code of Practice for Statistics. I am pleased to confirm that these statistics should continue to be designated as National Statistics.

We initiated this check following the public commitment that we made in our 2019/20 Regulatory Work Programme to focus on statistics about key issues within Housing. We considered the Trustworthiness, Quality and Value of these statistics in relation to the Code and have appreciated the positive and constructive way that the team has engaged with us during the compliance check.

National Statistics status brings with it a commitment to the Code of Practice for Statistics and complying with this framework ensures statistics are of public value, are high quality and are produced in a way that is worthy of trust.

We found a range of positive features that demonstrate the trustworthiness, quality and value of the statistics. These include:

  • Welsh Government demonstrating commitment to producing trusted statistics with integrity. The First Release has been written independently and we welcome your efforts to apply the Code of Practice standard. We did not identify any issues related to trustworthiness during this compliance check.
  • The quarterly Housing Information Group hosted by WG which has broad membership of data providers and statistics users. This is an effective forum to discuss ongoing or planned developments and helps to ensure the needs of key stakeholders are represented. Making the agenda and minutes publicly available demonstrates openness and transparency.
  • Publishing useful information about the quality of the statistics and quality assurance of the data in the Quality Report. Overall this presents helpful information about the users and uses, collection method, and quality assurance for the data sources used to produce Affordable Housing Provision Statistics. We welcome the publication of the Quality Report and appreciate the work done to produce it.
  • The positive relationship with the data providers resulting in complete coverage, and the work done to keep burden on respondents to a minimum.

We identified some areas for improvement which would enhance the clarity, value and quality of these statistics. Such as:

  • To further assure users of the level of quality of the data, more detailed information should be provided within the Quality Report on your knowledge of the quality assurance arrangements of your data suppliers and the implications they have for the quality of the statistics. As discussed during our recent meeting we would be happy to provide comments and assistance with this aspect.
  • Making the hyperlinks on the front page of the Statistical Release visible to users which would assist users’ navigation to the relevant definitions, policy documents and data reports on the StatsWales website, which has since been corrected.
  • Providing an explanation of any data revisions within the latest release in line with the
  • We encourage the team to add more of the technical terms to the Glossary within the Statistical Release to help all users understand key concepts and methods, such as ‘stair-casing’ and ‘Integrated Care Fund’. We understand this may be impacted by the ongoing cross-government harmonisation work on Affordable Housing.

We welcome the WG response to the recently published Independent Review of Affordable Housing Supply, in particular to seek approval for the joint funding of an extra analytical post within the Welsh Government to help address the recommendations made. These include more collaborative working with LAs and other parties to make better use of data in order to fill the existing gaps that the review identified.

In line with findings from our Compliance Checks of housing statistics from other UK countries around providing a wider context to the different aspects of housing we were encouraged to hear of your future plans to bring your housing supply statistics together on an interactive dashboard. Not only will this help improve accessibility to the housing statistics but is also a good example of innovation, both leading to increasing the public value of the statistics.

We welcome the updates on your continued collaborative work – as part of the Cross-Government Housing Statistics Working Group which aims to improve coherence across, and deliver a range of wider improvements to, housing and planning statistics; particularly with the current topic being Affordable Housing. We appreciate the impact this additional work can have on the day to day resources of the Housing Statistics team. Your statisticians have also confirmed that they will work with the Government Statistical Service Best Practice and Impact team to discuss any suggested improvements to the presentation of the statistics.

Thank you for engaging effectively with us during this review. Our Housing, Planning and Local Services Domain Lead will continue to engage with your team on progress in the coming months. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspects of this letter further.

I am copying this letter to Sue Leake (Head of Education and Public Services Statistics) Luned Jones and Judy David from the Housing Statistics team, and Lee Thomas from the Data Collection team.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Gregory
Deputy Director for Regulation

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