Today the UK Statistics Authority published its independent Assessment of statistics on Consumer Price Inflation including Owner Occupiers’ Housing Costs (CPIH).
In August 2014, the National Statistics status of the CPIH was discontinued after issues emerged relating to the processing of some of the administrative data sources used to estimate Owner Occupiers’ Housing costs.
In today’s report, the Authority’s regulatory function concludes that the CPIH does not meet the standards to be a National Statistic, and that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) needs to do more to establish the credibility of, and user confidence in, the CPIH. The report identifies three main areas of concern:
- ONS needs to take more time to strengthen its quality assurance of its private rents data sources, in order to provide reassurance to users about the quality of the CPIH.
- ONS should monitor how the CPIH behaves over time and compare it to other data sources over a longer period of time. It should produce supporting analysis and explanation that facilitates users’ understanding of the statistics and what they measure.
- There is some disagreement among users about the concepts and methods that ONS uses to measure Owner Occupiers’ Housing costs within the CPIH. ONS needs to do more to explain and articulate its own judgements about the concepts and methods that it uses, and could engage more positively and openly with a wide range of users, including interested users that have a range of opinions not necessarily in accord with ONS’s own views.
Ed Humpherson, the UK Statistics Authority’s Director General for Regulation, said:
“National Statistics status is only granted to those statistics that meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value. Today’s Assessment report finds that the CPIH does not yet meet these standards.
“In addressing the issues set out in this report, I will be looking for ONS to set a clear direction for the future of the CPIH. The requirements we have set focus on a range of areas for improvement. In particular, ONS should strengthen its quality assurance; monitor trends over time; and do more to engage effectively with a wide range of users.”
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Notes for editors:
- The UK Statistics Authority is an independent body operating at arm’s length from government as a non-ministerial department, directly accountable to Parliament. It was established on 1 April 2008 by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.
- One of the Authority’s main functions is to provide independent regulation of all official statistics produced in the UK.
- The Authority’s primary statutory power, as regulator, is to confer or remove the National Statistics designation.
- National Statistics status is only granted to those official statistics that meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value, as demonstrated during an independent Assessment by the Authority’s regulator function.
- The Authority removed the National Statistics status from the CPIH in August 2014. For more information, please visit: https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/correspondence/consumer-price-indices-including-housing-costs-cpih-indicator/
- Since the beginning of 2014, the Authority’s regulatory function has removed the National Statistics designation on twenty occasions. Seven of these de-designations have involved ONS statistics, six of them economic outputs. Major economic outputs which have been de-designated include trade statistics, CPIH, construction output, and construction prices. A full list of de-designations is published at: https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/osr/what-we-do/assessment/register-of-de-designations/