We Asked, You Said, We Did

Below are some of the issues we have recently consulted on and their outcomes.

We Asked

Our aim was to gain a better understanding of price discrimination for export of services and how prices could be affected by exchange rates.

You Said

Information received varied across service sectors, consistent themes were identified.

We Did

Feedback obtained will be used to assist development of the Services Producer Price Index (SPPI).

We Asked

We asked for people’s views on our new experimental balanced measure of regional gross value added (GVA). This new development is designed to provide a single best estimate of regional GVA, combining the best parts of the existing income and production measures.

We wanted to be sure that users of regional GVA statistics welcomed the single measure, and to identify any concerns that people have with the methods, test results and our proposed presentation of the statistics in future publications.

You Said

We received 23 written responses from a wide range of people representing central, local and devolved government, private companies and think tanks, universities and schools. In addition, we met with many other stakeholders to present our consultation and listen to their views, at events held in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. The main feedback was:

  • Respondents strongly supported the introduction of a single balanced measure of regional GVA, and some requested that we continue to publish the pre-balanced income and production measures, at least for the first few years.
  • A majority of respondents were happy with the method we have used, and some offered suggestions for potential enhancements to the methodology.
  • A majority of respondents were happy with the test results, and some offered suggestions for parts that could benefit from further attention.
  • A majority of respondents were happy with our plans for the presentation of the data, and some offered suggestions for additional supporting information.

We Did

We intend to:

  • Publish the first experimental balanced estimates of regional GVA on or around 13 December 2017.
  • Publish the pre-balanced income and production estimates alongside the balanced estimates, at least while the balanced estimates remain experimental statistics.
  • Publish nominal and real estimates of balanced GVA for 80 industries at the NUTS1 level, and 71 industries at the NUTS2 level.
  • Publish real estimates of balanced regional GVA one year earlier than before.
  • Publish the existing set of income components at all geographic levels from NUTS1 down to local authority district, consistent with the balanced GVA estimates.
  • Consider the various suggestions made by respondents, with a view to introducing further improvements in future publications, as resources permit.

We Asked

To enable ONS to publish more detailed birth statistics for England and Wales than currently available, whilst also improving timeliness, we proposed to make explorable datasets for live births available in NOMIS from the 2017 data year. Consequential changes were also proposed to our annual publication tables, and some new tables were outlined. We consulted users with these proposals to ensure birth statistics continue to meet user needs as much as possible. 

You Said

There were a total of 15 responses received from a variety of organisations that monitor, formulate or influence policy and plan services both at the national and local level. We also received responses from academics, charities and a private company.
 
The key points to note from the responses to the consultation are:
 
  • Respondents welcomed detailed birth statistics being made available as explorable datasets in NOMIS; however some were concerned about locating particular birth statistics in the future. 
  • Four respondents were concerned over plans to combine i) births to married couples with births to cohabiting couples and ii) sole registered births with births jointly registered by parents who live at different addresses. They considered the distinction between these groups important for both demographers and policy makers interested in changing family forms and living arrangements. 
  • Three respondents requested that much more detailed data be made available as explorable datasets; for example live births by single year of age of mother and father with other characteristics available for cross tabulation, or the addition of parity and exact multiplicity.
  • One respondent noted that they would like to have parents’ occupation coded on 100% of live births, currently only 10% are coded.
  • Three respondents noted that they used tables which were proposed to be discontinued.

We Did

As a result of this consultation, we will take the following actions:
 
  • Make available the five explorable datasets on NOMIS , outlined in Annex B of our Response to the ONS consultation on proposed changes to birth statistics. We intend to make 2017 data publicly available in NOMIS in July or August 2018.
  • Make changes to our published tables as outlined in Annex C of our Response to the ONS consultation on proposed changes to birth statistics. These changes are based on those originally proposed in our consultation but take account of the responses we received. 

We Asked

This consultation proposed an alternative model for the publications of GDP estimates; the full details of the model can be found in the consultation document.

In summary, this model would give two estimates of quarterly GDP using data from all three of the Output, Income and Expenditure approaches around six weeks and 13 weeks after the end of the preceding quarter. This would be a change from three estimates of quarterly GDP, published four, eight and 13 weeks after the end of the preceding quarter.

In addition, the Index of Services publication would be moved two weeks earlier to become part of the Short Term Economic Indicator theme day, enabling the publication of monthly GDP estimates that would include both a three-month rolling estimate and an estimate for the latest month.

You Said

The clear majority of respondents were in favour of the proposed changes to the GDP publication model, saying that the higher quality first estimate of GDP along with the early view of Income and Expenditure data will mean the figures are more reliable and helpful, and ultimately lead to greater confidence in the GDP estimates.

However, a small number of respondents expressed concerns over the loss of timeliness in the proposed first estimate of GDP.

Furthermore, some respondents expressed concerns over the implications of monthly GDP (based on the Output measure) estimates. For example, there were concerns that the availability of both monthly and quarterly GDP estimates could result in confusion, and that monthly GDP had the potential to be misinterpreted.

We Did

We will move to using the new GDP publishing model in 2018, with the first estimate of monthly GDP (for the reference month of May) being introduced in July 2018 and the first quarterly GDP estimate (for quarter 2 2018) under the new model being introduced in August 2018.

We will develop a package of products to be released as part of the new monthly and quarterly publications under the new model in collaboration with users, with the aim of providing a clear and coherent picture of economic activity.

We will take a number of steps to ensure that any negative impact on data content in the first estimate of GDP is minimised. For example, we will be reviewing our survey and broader data processing timetables as well as our estimation and forecasting methods.

We will publish an article in Spring 2018 explaining the changes to the publication model in more detail, the products that we will produce under the new model and a clear schedule of publication dates from the date of implementation.

We Asked

We asked for people’s views on which causes of death are appropriate to include in the National Statistics definition of deaths related to the misuse of alcohol.

We hoped that the consultation would result in a harmonised approach, across government and the devolved administrations, to measuring deaths which are wholly attributable to the misuse of alcohol.  

You Said

We received 20 responses to the consultation from a range of organisations including academics, government departments and agencies, and charities. The main feedback was:

  • respondents strongly supported the need for a harmonised approach across government to measuring deaths caused by alcohol misuse;
  • the majority of respondents recommended that ONS use a revised indicator of alcohol-specific deaths;
  • several respondents voiced concern with excluding unspecified hepatitis and cirrhosis and fibrosis of the liver from the revised indicator, noting that more UK based evidence on the aetiology of these deaths is needed before they are discounted entirely.  

We Did

We intend to:

  • use a revised definition of alcohol-specific deaths from the date of our next publication. This definition will also be used respond to Parliamentary Questions, and to media and customer data requests;
  • publish a brief article to communicate the definition change, the reasons for it, and its impact on the existing time series;
  • in the first publication based on the new definition, include figures on the previous definition. Subsequently, ONS will no longer publish statistics based on the previous definition;
  • in each statistical release we will report deaths from unspecified hepatitis and cirrhosis and fibrosis of the liver – for information. We will also signpost to published data which shows the wider burden of alcohol misuse on other causes of death;
  • facilitate further work with public health agencies and the devolved administrations to ensure greater consistency in terminology.

We Asked

We asked users of the business prices publications, Producer Price Index (PPI) and Services Producer Price Index (SPPI) to comment on some ONS’ proposed process improvements to the publication and consider any impact these improvements would have on their use of the statistics.

We consulted on five proposals:

  • Removal of the net sector aggregate for both PPI and SPPI
  • Aggregation and publication of PPI for both domestic output, exports and total output prices
  • Inclusion of proxies in the aggregate SPPI to represent the whole service sector
  • Review the demand for seasonal adjustment in the PPI and SPPI series’
  • Streamlining data made available in PPI and SPPI statistical releases 

You Said

We received five written responses, three of which were completed online and two offline responses. These responses were from a range of external users of the business prices data. The comments included within the responses were extremely useful. The main feedback was:

  • The net sector aggregate is used in calculations within some organisations that are main users of our data. These organisations require more clarity on the comparison between the current Net sector and Gross sector indices and any discrepancies between them, to consider their future use.
  • All consultation respondents were interested in seeing a publication of the PPI with a domestic, import and export splits.
  • Respondents were unsure about the inclusion of proxies to aggregate the whole service sector within SPPI, stating further information on what these are and whether there would be a marker to identify which of the indices are proxies would be useful.
  • Seasonal adjustment of the outputs was not considered to be key, and there was not a great demand for any further seasonal adjustment.
  • Streamlining the data and publishing at a higher level may cause problems for some users of business prices therefore further information on how this would be represented is needed.

We Did

To date:

  • Met with two users of Business Prices based on their responses and discussed their requirements in more detail. We have also corresponded with a third respondent.
  • Considered the use of seasonal adjustment alongside the International Monetary Fund (IMF) PPI manual.

We intend to:

  • Conduct more correspondence with users of business prices on their requirements from the PPI and SPPI publications.
  • Conduct events/interactions to keep users of business prices informed of progress on the process changes.
  • Produce and communicate a plan and timeline for producing PPI on a domestic, import and export basis.
  • Investigate if the use of proxies within the SPPI would add value to the overall aggregate and communicate further with users of business prices once the investigation is complete. 
  • Work with users and stakeholders of business prices to develop the correct balance in what we are publishing. 

We Asked

Following a reduction in the level of funding for the Crime Survey for England and Wales we asked for your opinions of the proposed options for achieving the cost savings required. We would like to thank all respondents for taking the time to respond to the consultation.

You Said

We received a total of 123 responses to the consultation from academics, police forces and police and crime commissioners, local or regional government organisations, other government departments, charities and voluntary organisations. We would like to thank all respondents for taking the time to respond to the consultation.

The main feedback was:

  • A majority of respondents (40%) identified Option D – reducing the response rate to 71% and the sample size by 600 - as the best option of those available for achieving the required cost savings.
  • Many respondents raised concerns regarding the removal of questions related to victims’ experiences of the court system and use of victim services.
  • In particular, 34 respondents (28%) specifically identified the removal of the questions on restorative justice from the 'Victimisation' module as a major concern.

We Did

We have:

  • Reduced CSEW sample size for the 2017/18 survey year by 600 households and reduced the survey response rate to 71% from October 2017 (Option D).
  • Removed the three modules of questions asked of respondents about the performance of, their experiences of and their attitudes to the criminal justice system from October 2017.
  • Retained questions related to victims’ experiences of the court system and use of victim services included in the ‘Victimisation’ module of the CSEW that were previously proposed for removal.

We Asked

ONS publishes annual infant mortality statistics for England and Wales in a number of separate statistical publications. The timing of these outputs varies depending on when the relevant dataset is extracted from our system, and is also affected by the availability of final data from Scotland and Northern Ireland to compile UK data.

Due to the timings of the data extracts and the linkage that is carried out, there are different infant and child mortality figures across publications which can be confusing for users; these were outlined in the consultation document.

To ensure the publication of more timely and fit for purpose final figures, ONS is proposing to change the data extracts used in the creation of infant mortality publications; this will streamline the outputs. ONS will also change some of the tables published to ensure users have the most suitable tabulations available to them.

You Said

There were a total of 45 responses received from a variety of organisations who monitor, formulate or influence policy and plan services. We also received responses from academics, media outlets, charities and private individuals.

The key points to note from the responses to the consultation are:

  • Users prefer figures based on deaths that have occurred in a calendar year rather than figures based on deaths registered in a calendar year but both are still required
  • Users prefer figures based on a birth cohort rather than a death cohort, but both are still required
  • Users require a range of the tables for various purposes utilising both numbers and the rates. Some tables are used more than others
  • Users have specified what other characteristics they require in the tables
  • Users would like to see more data at local authority level and would like figures at country level including UK
  • There was a larger proportion of users who do not use the ONS hierarchical cause groups
  • Users would prefer a single underlying cause of death for perinatal deaths 

We Did

As a result of this consultation, we will take the following actions:

  • ONS will continue to produce figures based on both the year the death was registered and the year the death occurred
  • ONS will streamline the extracts used in the creation of publications. This means we will produce statistics using:

- a death cohort based on registrations in a calendar year (unlinked)

- a death cohort based on occurrences in a calendar year (unlinked)

- a death cohort based on occurrences in a calendar year (linked to birth registrations)

- a birth cohort based on occurrences in a calendar year (birth registration linked to birth notification and death registration)

  • ONS will adapt the tables that are produced from these extracts to incorporate user feedback where possible and these can be found in the consultation response document
  • ONS will produce one set of tables for the birth cohort: Infant mortality (birth cohort), England and Wales. This will merge together the Birth cohort tables for infant deaths (England and Wales) and the Pregnancy and ethnic factors influencing births and infant mortality (England and Wales) 
  • ONS will continue investigations into whether a single underlying cause can be derived for stillbirths and neonatal deaths; and will maintain the ONS hierarchical cause groups until investigations identify a better solution

We Asked

We asked for your views on proposed changes to the household projections methodology.

We hoped that the results of this consultation would help us to produce household projections based on an improved, simplified methodology that continues to meet your needs.

You Said

We received 42 responses to the consultation. The main feedback was:

  • Some users were concerned about the proposal to project the household representative rates using only the 2001 and 2011 Census points and asked ONS to consider and report on alternative options.
  • Some issues surrounding other aspects of the methodology were raised including concern about the proposal for removing gender and marital status from the projection model and the age groups currently used in the model.
  • Variant household projections at local authority level were requested and household projections at the level of detail previously published by DCLG.
  • There was an interest in what household types would be available in the outputs.   

We Did

We intend to:
 
  • Move to using the standard 2011 Census definition for Household Reference Person as soon as possible.
  • Set up a programme of research to look at how the methodology can be improved in the light of the feedback from this consultation.
  • Establish a Household Projections Collaborative Group, including experts from within and outside ONS, to advise and work with us on this research and the longer-term development of the household projections.
  • Use the current methods as a starting point for the next release of the projections in summer 2018. The programme of research, and the Collaborative Group, will help us to identify improvements to the methods that we could make in time for that release.
  • Retain the current level of detail in published outputs and seek further evidence of requirements for variant projections.