ONS approach to measuring and reporting SDGs in the UK

Closed 21 Sep 2017

Opened 29 Jun 2017

Feedback Updated 11 Dec 2017

We Asked

ONS is required to report data for the UK against global sustainable development indicators and we asked for your views on:

1.   How ONS should report progress?

2.   Criteria for data selection.

3.   The approach to prioritising data development.

We want to make information available on global indicators available to all, we are keen to use the full range of data available and we want to be confident that our approach to reporting and prioritising areas for development is right. Therefore, it is important for us to listen and consider your views.

We would like to thank respondents for taking the time to respond to this consultation.

You Said

We received 111 responses to the consultation from a wide variety of respondents representing national and local government, charities and the voluntary sector; international organisations, the private sector and academia.

Some of the key findings:

·        Respondents were supportive of the proposed mechanisms on how ONS should report progress and went on to expand with further detail that aligns with the current programme of reporting and development work.  

·        Respondents suggested additional criteria that they thought should be considered for determining the suitability of data sources, some of which included looking at international comparability; looking at other frameworks; wider collaboration and the potential to look at hard to reach groups.

·        There were many initiatives respondents thought that could help with assessing progress towards global indicators, some for these included new data sources; suggestions of new questions for surveys; collaboration; harmonisation of questions and supporting frameworks.

·        Geographical breakdowns to the lowest level possible were highlighted as a priority for data development.

·        Respondents felt that evidence from user engagement and information gathering activities were important principles to use to develop data to plug gaps.

·        Some of the additional criteria that respondents suggested for prioritising data development centered around what was relevant and a priority for the UK, collaboration, internationally comparable indicators and to look at links across targets.

We Did

Progress so far:

We have developed an interactive reporting platform to disseminate (downloadable) data with charts which was launched on the 9th November and is still under development.

We also published our first report on the 9th November which looks at progress made towards measuring the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators in the UK.

·        We have started to release a series of publications which have included a short piece on neonatal and under five mortality which looked at the UK in comparison with other European countries and a SlidesShare on renewable energy. We have also begun to highlight the importance of SDGs by aligning with significant outputs on relevant topics and communicating through social media. All of our publications are available on our reporting platform under a Publications tab.

We are working closely with various stakeholders to discuss the possibility of collaborating on outputs and have begun to collaborate with business. We have also been looking at the potential of using data from non government organisations.

We would like to thank everybody who took the time to respond to our consultation and ONS will take on board the suggestions and feedback provided as we continue to develop data sources, data gaps and prioritise our approach to reporting. 

Results Updated 11 Dec 2017

Please use the link below to read our reponse in full.



The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been designed to “leave no one behind” and bring an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030. The 17 goals agreed at a United Nations Sustainable Development World Summit are the result of over 2 years of intensive consultation. The goals are underpinned by 169 global targets and 244 global indicators, against which each country is required to report progress.

As the UK’s national statistics institute, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for collection, collation, analysis, presentation and dissemination of data for regular monitoring of UK progress against the global indicators. Our role is to preserve transparency and ensure technical rigour in this process. To achieve this, we need robust statistics underpinned by sound methods that reflect national priorities and challenges.

We want to approach these tasks in ways that are meaningful and we need your help to determine the best way to do this. This consultation marks an important step in what we hope will be an ongoing dialogue with you to ensure that our focus and priorities continue to reflect the changing world in which we live.



Why We Are Consulting

We want to make information on global indicators available in the most accessible way possible. We are keen to use the full range of data available, whilst ensuring data are fit for purpose, and we want to be confident that our approach to reporting and prioritising areas for data development is the right one. We want to hear your views.

What Happens Next

This consultation forms part of an ongoing dialogue we would like to have with you. Alongside the consultation, we hope to run a series of workshops with interested stakeholders. If you or your organisation would like to be involved, please email us at sustainabledevelopment@ons.gov.uk

We will use the results of the consultation to help shape our approach to monitoring and reporting UK progress against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will publish a response within 12 weeks of the consultation end date.

We plan to publish our first annual report on SDGs in late 2017 and anticipate the need to further consult as the work evolves.  


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