Engagement Hub

Welcome to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Engagement Hub. This site will help you find, share and participate in our consultations. This is your chance to help us produce better statistics for the public good. 

 

 
You can find details of consultations held before November 2016 on our website

Formal consultations

Surveys

All Formal Consultations and Surveys

We Asked, You Said, We Did

See the outcomes of our consultation and survey work See all outcomes

We asked

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) invited views on our proposed Census 2021 Output Geography Policy, and our plans for geography products and services. The consultation took place from 5 November 2020 to 18 December 2020.

The policy largely focuses on our maintenance plans for small area geographies – Output Areas (OAs), Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) and Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs). We provided detail for each of the proposed publicly available geography products and services, including digital boundaries, look-up files and statistical products.

We consulted with users to:

  • obtain feedback on all aspects of Census 2021 Output Geography Policy
  • specifically understand whether they supported our recommendation for a refinement to the OA best-fit approach for producing ward and parish census statistics
  • provide a detailed list of the geography products we intend to make available
  • understand any user interest in a comparable UK small area geography

You said

We received 132 responses to the consultation. Of these, 69 respondents (52%) answered on behalf of an organisation and 63 respondents (48%) answered as an individual.

All respondents stated the sector in which they worked, with a small number stating two or more sectors (which accounts for the differences in totals). There were 20 respondents (14%) who did not work in a sector listed, who were most typically retired.

Overall, 84% of users supported our recommendation set out in the consultation. We recommend continuing to publish ward and parish outputs using an OA best-fit approach, with additional alignment of some OA boundaries to wards and parish boundaries.

Users also told us that:

  • they generally support our intention to keep the Census 2021 Output Geography Policy relatively unchanged from the existing policy
  • they recognised the need to maintain a balance between updating statistical geographies to reflect change and preserve comparability with historical data
  • they had concerns that realignment of OAs to ward boundaries could be quickly undone if these ward boundaries were to undergo further change in the future  
  • clear supporting information was vital to inform users of any boundary changes
  • they support our proposed publicly available products and provided detail of additional products that would help their work
  • they partly support a comparable UK small area geography – around half voiced their support, with the remainder not having a specific requirement

We did

We intend to:

  • proceed with our proposed Census 2021 Output Geography Policy
  • implement our recommendation for a refinement to the OA best-fit approach for producing ward and parish census statistics
  • consider boundary changes and reflect the geographies in place at the time of the release of census outputs
  • consider what supporting information we can produce to inform users of boundary changes
  • keep users informed about plans to release census outputs for 1 km grid squares
  • produce OA, LSOA and MSOA look-up files to assist users in identifying if current geographies are comparable from 2011 to 2021
  • consider any additional requirements mentioned by users  
  • discuss options for producing a comparable UK small area geography for Scotland and Northern Ireland with the devolved administrations

We asked

From 11 March 2020 to 21 August 2020, the UK Statistics Authority and HM Treasury ran a joint consultation on reforming the methodology of the Retail Prices Index (RPI).

The UK Statistics Authority has a proposed technical approach that they intend to take to transition between the current and new methods and data sources of RPI. The Authority was seeking responses on their proposed approach.

The Government sought responses on the potential impact of the Authority’s proposal on the holders of index-linked gilts, the impact on the wider index-linked gilt market and any consequent public finance implications. The consultation sought evidence, with regard to these relevant factors, to inform the Chancellor of the impacts of the Authority’s proposal if implemented before 2030.

The UK Statistics Authority and the Government were also mindful that they did not have full sight of the use of RPI in the economy and financial contracts and therefore welcomed evidence on the use of RPI and its sub-indices more widely to inform future policy decisions.

For full details, please see the Consultation Document.

You said

At the close of the consultation on 21 August 2020, the government and Authority had received 831 written responses, including 209 to the Engagement Hub, 619 to the consultation email address, and three by post. These responses included 240 from companies, trade associations, trades unions or think tanks, with the remaining 591 submitted by private individuals or community groups.

Proposed technical approach

Of the 831 responses to the consultation, 37% provided a response on the Authority’s proposed approach for making the change. Of those who answered this question, the most common response was that respondents agreed that the approach was statistically rigorous (34%). Around half that number (17%) took a different view and suggested that the approach was not statistically rigorous.

A number of respondents made the point that although the proposed transition method was statistically rigorous, they felt that the consultation was too narrow, and should have included the proposed reform of RPI methodology itself. Others suggested that economic impacts – not statistical rigour – should be the primary consideration.

For full details of the responses to this question, please refer to the consultation response.

Timing

There were 229 written responses offering information relevant to these questions. The majority came from stated investors in index-linked gilts. Of these, there were 125 responses from trustees of defined-benefit pension schemes (both private and local government schemes), 17 responses from asset managers and investment firms, and three responses from insurance companies. In addition, the consultation received seven responses from trade associations, which mostly represented investors in index-linked gilts, and from consultancies who advise defined-benefit pension schemes.

Almost all respondents noted that reform will reduce the remaining interest and redemption payments of all index-linked gilts maturing after the implementation date. In turn, this will reduce the market value of index-linked gilts. The direct impact of this on the Treasury would be reduced debt interest and lower maturity payments.

For full details of the responses to these questions, please refer to the consultation response.

Broader impacts

The majority of responses to the consultation addressed the broader impacts of reform. The responses made clear that the RPI is used widely in the economy by individuals, businesses, and government. Broadly speaking, responses to the consultation outlined the impact of reform on two areas of use of the RPI: first, in private arrangements and contracts, and second, by government.

Inflation indices are used widely in private contractual terms to reflect the rise in the general level of prices over time. Examples given include defined benefit pensions, financial instruments (such as derivatives or swaps), property and infrastructure.

Alongside its use as the reference rate in the index-linked gilts, the government uses the RPI to revalorise some taxes, to determine changes in rail fares, and to calculate the rate of interest on student loans. At Budget 2018, the government committed to not introduce new uses of the RPI.

For full details of the responses to these questions, please refer to the consultation response.

We did

Proposed technical approach

After considering consultation responses and advice from its Technical Advisory Panel for Consumer Price Statistics (APCP-T), the Authority has concluded that its preferred approach for bringing the methods and data sources of CPIH into the RPI remains that set out in the original consultation document.

For full details, please refer to the consultation response.

Timing

Having considered the responses to the consultation, on 23 October 2020 the Chancellor wrote to the Authority Chair stating that, in order to minimise the impact of the Authority’s proposal on the holders of index-linked gilts, he will be unable to offer his consent to the implementation of a proposal (such that the Authority intends to make) before the maturity of the final specific index-linked gilt in 2030.

For full details, please refer to the consultation response.

Broader impacts

The government and Authority are mindful of the widespread use of the RPI in the economy and of their responsibilities as public sector bodies to consider the impacts of reform in future policy making.

For full details, please refer to the consultation response.

We asked

We asked for people’s views on taking an indicator-based approach to measuring human capital. Human capital is a measure of the skills, knowledge and experience of an individual or population that can be applied to the economy or to society at large.

The key elements of the consultation were developing a new lifetime measurement indicator-based framework, which complements and augments the current Human Capital Stock measure. In practice, this means we will aim to produce a suite of indicators (data summarising the population which can be tracked over time) based on the themes set out in the consultation.The indicators are designed to work together to help everyone from the policy maker to the citizen understand the elements that can enhance an individual’s and the country’s human capital. This will help with making key decisions on investing in people at the right time and in the right place.

We requested general feedback on whether this indicator-based approach would be useful for respondents and the work that they do or if they had suggestions for alternative approaches that we could take. We also asked for feedback on specific aspects of the proposal such as:

  • Whether respondents agreed our proposed themes (Health, Compulsory, further and higher education, Work, Family and Home, Crime, Independent Learning and Personality Traits) were complete and relevant.
  • Whether respondents agreed with our proposed three types of indicator; input, enabling factor and outcome.
  • Whether respondents were more interested in us filling data gaps or creating proxy indicators.

You said

We received over 130 responses to the consultation from a wide range of users including central government, local government, industry organisations, academics, third sector organisations, trade unions, public corporations and individuals. We also held an engagement day with over 40 people attending and providing feedback on our proposals.

Overall, users agreed with our proposed indicator-based approach to measure human capital and were particularly in favour of us expanding our measures to consider the full lifetime of individuals, beyond the economically active population. Users said they would also like us to expand our measure to consider the impact on personal and social well-being, as well as retaining some priority on the economic well-being impacts.

Half of respondents thought the measure would be useful for the work they are planning to do, although some users had concerns around the complexity of the proposal. We received many suggestions for additional approaches which we are beginning to consider.

In terms of the proposed themes, there was a broad consensus from respondents that the health, compulsory, further and higher education, family and home and work themes were most relevant and important. The personality traits and crime themes were less well received as respondents were concerned with some of the terminology used and indicators suggested. Users also suggested additional indicators for us to consider.

The majority of users agreed with the approach of using 3 types of indicators, although some suggested also including wider background indicators.

When asked about anticipated data gaps, there were some common priorities highlighted amongst users including outcomes on skills, knowledge, competencies and attributes, data relating to the health, education and work themes and data relating to young adults and children, or those nearing retirement. Overall, users wanted us to prioritise filling data gaps over creating proxy indicators, but they recognized that proxy indicators were a useful way to allow the work to begin sooner.

We received over 50 responses highlighting that users would be interested in helping us to develop measures through involvement in a technical panel.

We did

We intend to:

  • Begin to develop an indicator-based approach to measuring human capital, which would aim to take a lifetime acquisition approach, and where possible, have a broadened definition which includes impacts on personal and social wellbeing.
  • Develop this indicator-based approach iteratively, focusing on the Health, Family and home, Work and Compulsory, further and higher education themes first
  • Aim to first derive indicators where we have data available, but use proxy measures where this is not possible, looking to fill gaps in the medium to longer term
  • Carry out further work on the personality traits and crime themes to reflect the concerns users had around the use, terminology and suggested indicators for these themes.
  • Consider how to incorporate suggested new factors which users felt did not fit within the proposed theme structure, such as cultural engagement, volunteering and caring.
  • Consider how to incorporate an additional type of indicator to reflect a user need for wider background indicators which give more context for the mechanisms that we are reporting on
  • Engage more widely with different types of stakeholders such as academia, industry and head-hunters.
  • Set up agreed roles and terms of references for each user who is interested in becoming a member of the technical panel
  • Continue to get feedback to make sure we are meeting a wide range of users’ needs through the first iterations published