R-GVA statistics are an essential part of what makes up the economic intelligence of the nations and regions of the UK, informing areas such as the development of economic policy and debates and what causes the UK’s productivity growth. Policymakers need to dive deep beneath the statistical surface to understand the economy region-by-region, city-by-city, town-by-town, industry-by-industry, and household-by-household. The R-GVA statistics make some of these deep dives possible, particularly those using different economic geographies drilling to very low levels of geography such as GVA at Local Authority levels in the UK and GVA at Local Enterprise Partnership levels.

This assessment consists of two phases. In this Assessment Report we present the findings of Phase 1 where we have covered ONS’s current R-GVA statistics; in the second phase, we will assess new balanced estimates which ONS intends to publish at the end of 2017. Our Report confirms the designation of the income-based R-GVA measure as National Statistics subject to ONS making a range of improvements to the statistics. We will also confer National Statistics designation on the R-GVA (production approach) measures, once ONS has demonstrated that it has satisfactorily addressed the Requirements in the report to increase the public value and quality of these statistics.

Our Assessment has identified a range of Requirements for ONS to add more public value to these statistics. These Requirements consist of reviews of methods for deflating regional estimates of imputed rent and to apportion more accurately to regions and nations the GVA of the Financial Services and Insurance Industry. Other Requirements point to the need to enhance relationships with government users and consider partnership opportunities with regional analysts.

Meeting the range of Requirements will result in ONS enhancing the value of R-GVA statistics through improvements to quality, with timelier statistics and increased use. Some of the improvements will be achieved within a short space of time before the annual December publication whilst other improvements involve longer-term research, and multi-team decisions and planning which will require a consideration of processes and dependencies across ONS economic statistics teams.


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Letter from Ed Humpherson to Jonathan Athow