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Are you a user or producer of business statistics?

Most people will have heard the Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong song with the line “You say to-mau-to, I say  to-mah to”.

How does this relate to the world of business statistics?

There are many departments across government producing and using business statistics and inevitably along the way some differences have arisen in definitions and production. For example, do you know that there are currently a number of different ways to collect turnover on government business surveys?

The Harmonisation team has launched a new cross-government group, the Business Harmonisation Task and Finish Group (BHTFG) to harmonise Business Statistics across the UK. The purpose of the group will be to provide strategic direction for the design, development and maintenance of common business definitions, inputs and outputs for business statistics across the GSS. We have already had success with harmonising social surveys over the last few years, and now hope to continue this success with the use and production of business statistics.

The inaugural meeting of the group was held in December and was well attended. There are now representatives from a range of government departments – ONS, BEIS, DEFRA, DFPNI, GDS, NISRA, Scottish Government and Welsh Government and this is growing as the profile of the work increases. If you are a producer and are not yet involved, we need you! Please get in contact to have your say in shaping this exciting collaborative work to harmonise business statistics.

Are you a user who has specific examples of areas they have found challenging or confusing in comparing business statistics? We would love to hear from you to help us inform the prioritisation of this work.

Please contact the Harmonisation team at ONS for further information, to submit examples or to express an interest.