This is one of a series of reports prepared under the provisions of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. The Act gives the Statistics Authority power to re-assess whether the Code of Practice for Official Statistics continues to be complied with in relation to official statistics already designated as National Statistics. The report covers the labour market (LM) statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and reported in:
• Labour Market Statistics (LMS)
• Regional Labour Market Statistics (RLMS)
• Public Sector Employment (PSE)
• Civil Service Statistics (CSS)
• Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES)
• Labour Disputes – Annual Article (LD)
• Average Weekly Earnings – Bonus payments in Great Britain (AWE)
• Working and Workless Households (WWH)
• Workless Households for Regions across the UK (WHR)
The previous assessments of these sets of statistics were reported in Assessment reports 19, 34 and 73 .They have been re-assessed as part of the Statistics Authority’s ongoing programme of re-assessment. This is discussed further in annex 4.
The Act allows an appropriate authority to request an assessment of other official statistics in order for them to gain National Statistics status. In response to such a request, this report also covers the set of statistics reported in Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), produced by ONS.
Section 3 of this report adopts an ‘exception reporting’ approach – it includes text only to support the Requirements made to strengthen compliance with the Code and Suggestions made to improve confidence in the production, management and dissemination of these statistics. This abbreviated style of report reflects the Head of Assessment’s consideration of aspects of risk and materiality. The Assessment team nonetheless assessed compliance with all parts of the Code of Practice and has commented on all those in respect of which some remedial action is recommended.
The Authority recognises the importance of LM statistics to provide an overall view of the state of the LM. One of the most important users of this sort of information is the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). The MPC announced in August 2013 that part of its consideration for raising the Bank Rate would be reaching a threshold unemployment rate of 7 per cent. Other key users of LM statistics are HM Treasury and DWP. They are interested in a variety of indicators of the state of the LM, including the number of people in employment, the number of hours worked, and the number of unemployed people. In addition, these figures are often the basis for much analysis and comment by independent commentators in the print and broadcast media.
This report was prepared by the Authority’s Assessment team, and approved by the Assessment Committee on behalf of the Board of the Statistics Authority, based on the advice of the Head of Assessment.