In July 2015, the UK Statistics Authority held an event for over 100 key stakeholders on the Coherence and Accessibility of Official Statistics on Income and Earnings.

This event was hosted by Ed Humpherson, the Director General of Regulation and John Pullinger, the National Statistician, as part of our review into this area.

The event followed the Authority’s published review into this area which considered the way in which official statistics about income and earnings, and their components, are presented, with a particular focus on:

  • Coherence – the extent to which official statistics drawn from different sources, and about different components of income and earnings, complement one another; also, whether there are any significant gaps in the statistical picture.
  • Accessibility – the extent to which users of official statistics on income and earnings are able to find, understand and use the statistics; and whether related statistics are presented in ways that help users to understand the interrelationships.

The main purpose of the event was to consider how official statistics on income and earnings can better serve the public good in the future. The event was designed for statistics producers from the Government Statistical Service to present to the audience about recent and proposed changes and improvements to income and earnings statistics, and provided an opportunity for the audience to provide feedback on whether the proposals were in line with their expectations, and prioritised appropriately. The event also included speakers from the Resolution Foundation, Full Fact and the New Policy Institute.

The key themes raised were:

  • Timely data on self-employment income was a key gap.
  • There was recognition that this was a complex area with lots of different statistics and lots of different users needs, and it would be wrong to over-simplify and combine sources without considering the different user needs.
  • The increased timeliness of statistics from surveys would increase their value.
  • While the UK perspective was important it was essential that devolved administrations were not forgotten, and the need for regional and local statistics.
  • The need for more collaboration and raising awareness between statistics producers and expertise outside government.

We are in the process of requesting updates from statistics producers about further progress relating to the Review’s recommendations, and plan to publish a formal update by the end of the year.

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