Coherence of statistics

Statistical coherence is about drawing together outputs on the same topic to better explain the part of the world they describe. This can be across the four countries of the UK where policy making has been devolved (such as housing) or where multiple producers are publishing statistics on the same topic (such as income and earnings).

Across the Government Statistical Service (GSS), statisticians are working together to improve the coherence of our statistics. There is a wide range of data sources and a vast amount of analysis being produced across government and the four UK nations. We must challenge ourselves not to simply publish a set of numbers but to explain how our data sources relate to each other and how they can be combined with other statistics to better explain the world.

Working with producers of official statistics across the UK, we have produced a work programme which summarises the work underway on several statistical topics. We want to provide transparency and accessibility, making it easier to see what is being done to improve coherence and to provide an opportunity for you to give feedback.

Our work programme covers:

  • the teams leading each workstream
  • the main achievements improving coherence during 2020 to 2021
  • the coherence plans that teams have set for 2021 to 2022
  • how you can find out more about work in a particular area

 

Improving the coherence and availability of Adult Social Care (ASC) statistics.

Coherence work leads

The GSS Four Nations Health Group (Department Health and Social Care, NHS Digital, NHS England, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, Office for National Statistics (ONS), Public Health England, Scottish Government, Welsh Government) and ONS Health Analysis and Life Events Division.

Email: social.care@ons.gov.uk

Main achievements for 2020 to 2021

Coherence plans for 2021 to 2022

Further information

For more information you can view our Health and Care Statistics page and our Adult Social Care Statistics page.

Improving the accessibility, breadth, and quality of UK statistics on climate change and its impact.

Coherence work lead

The Climate Change Statistics Steering Group (Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Cabinet Office, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Natural England, Department for Trade, HM Treasury, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Number 10, ONS) and ONS Environment, Net Zero and Natural Capital Division.

Email: gss.coherence@ons.gov.uk

Main achievements for 2020 to 2021

  • Held cross government climate statistics round-table meetings that helped agree the way forward and relevant priorities, including supporting the development of a Climate Change Platform.
  • Undertook a framework review and data audit of UK climate change statistics to understand relevance and priority.
  • Established the Climate Change Platform as an ongoing project with associated governance supported across government departments and other relevant bodies, and as a leading pilot for the Integrated Data Platform (IDP).

Coherence plans for 2021 to 2022

  • Bring stakeholders from across government, non-departmental public bodies, and devolved administrations together to share information and collaborate on statistics and analysis and improve coherence.
  • The previous point will be achieved through the governance of the Climate Change Platform project (Steering Group, Advisory Group, and workstreams) and a group on wider environmental data and analysis linking ONS and cross government work with the Devolved Administrations (referred to as the DA+ group).
  • Improve dissemination of climate change-related statistics from across government, including through a prototype platform using the IDP in time for COP26 in November 2021.
  • Improve our understanding and highlight gaps in existing climate change-related indicators and data, agreeing a statistical framework for use across government.
  • Develop a range of analysis products using the data and statistics drawn into the IDP to address gaps and areas of new analysis.

Ensuring coherence in statistics created to assess the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coherence work lead

The ONS Statistical Coherence and Inclusion Division.

Email: stat.hopoffice@ons.gov.uk

Main achievements for 2020 to 2021

  • Published Coronavirus (COVID-19): 2020 in charts.
  • Introduced a monthly release across the GSS to bring together the COVID-19 story for the inquiring citizen.
  • Point of contact created for GSS Heads of Profession on COVID-19.
  • Facilitated a coherent and joined up analytical response to COVID-19.

Coherence plans for 2021 to 2022

  • Ensure regular production of cross-GSS COVID-19 statistics.
  • Review the GSS’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic and identify successes and areas for improvement.
  • Provide support and advice on improving the coherence and communication of COVID-19 statistics.

Further information available

Read the ONS’ future analytical work programme in response to COVID-19. Our Policy and guidance hub contains guidance on COVID-19.

Improving the coherence and availability of Crime statistics.

Coherence work lead

GSS Crime and Justice Working Group (Home Office, Ministry of Justice, ONS) and ONS Centre for Crime and Justice.

Email: Crime.statistics@ons.gov.uk

Main achievements for 2020 to 2021

  • New Ministry of Justice (MoJ) analysis looking at links between police charges and courts, providing more commentary to highlight likely blockages in the system during the pandemic through court backlogs.
  • Additional monthly breakdowns published by MoJ to illustrate court recovery following the initial lockdown, providing more refined analysis of the cases outstanding in the system.
  • Collaboration between the Home Office, MoJ and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to understand the case flows during the pandemic, and document these in MoJ Official Statistics.
  • Publication of new responsive articles during the pandemic; Coronavirus and crime in England and Wales.
  • Creation of a pilot GitHub repository to share code and improve coherence.

Coherence plans for 2021 to 2022

  • Additional working groups set up with MoJ, Home Office and CPS to better understand data crossover and overarching system pressures.
  • Continued rollout of the Common Platform by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), a new digital system for better recording information around court cases.
  • Continued development and transformation of the Crime Survey to ensure we adapt to the changing circumstances related to the pandemic and to improve availability of crime statistics.
  • Incorporate additional administrative data (hospital episode statistics) related to crime harm into crime statistics, and compare this new data with existing data sources.
  • Collaboration between ONS, Home Office and Ministry of Justice to look to publish a knife crime landscape tool.
  • Review consent procedures of the Crime Survey ahead of future possibilities of data linkage.
  • Collaboration with the Centre for Equalities and Inclusion on inequalities in crime experience for the Inclusive Data Taskforce (IDTF).

Further information available

Read Improving crime statistics for England and Wales.

Improving harmonisation, coherence, and accessibility of equality statistics across the UK, particularly in relation to protected characteristics groups, those at greater risk of disadvantage, socioeconomic status, and geography.

Coherence work lead

The ONS, Statistical Coherence and Inclusion Division.

Email: Equalities@ons.gov.uk

Main achievements for 2020 to 2021

  • The ONS Centre for Equalities and Inclusion has been working with equalities data stakeholders across the UK and internationally to discuss developments, collaborate, and highlight data gaps
  • Regularly updated the Equalities Data Audit.
  • Audited disability data for the Cabinet Office Disability Unit.

Coherence plans for 2021 to 2022

  • Work collaboratively with others to address critical equalities data gaps identified by the Inclusive Data Taskforce.
  • Improve accessibility of equality statistics via publication of an equalities data navigator tool.
  • Improve harmonised approaches to equalities data in keeping with the recommendations of the Inclusive Data Taskforce.

Improving the harmonisation, coherence, and accessibility of health statistics across the UK.

Coherence work lead

GSS Four Nations Health Group (Department Health and Social Care, NHS Digital, NHS England, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, ONS, Public Health England, Scottish Government, Welsh Government) and ONS’ Health Analysis and Life Events Division.

Email: gss.health@ons.gov.uk

Main achievements for 2020 to 2021

  • Formed Four Nations Mortality Theme Group to ensure coherence of recording and reporting COVID-19 mortality statistics.
  • Worked with multiple stakeholders to inform the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) of the health and mortality impacts of COVID-19.
  • Set up a forum to share best practice on the collecting and reporting of health statistics, with a focus on COVID-19 statistics.
  • Launched a new health landscape online tool to enable users to find health statistics in one place.

Coherence plans for 2021 to 2022

Further information available

For more information, visit our Health and Care statistics page.

Increasing collaboration across the four countries of the UK; improving the coherent picture of the UK housing landscape.

Coherence work lead

GSS Housing, Planning, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Statistics Steering Group (Department for Communities (NI), Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, ONS, Scottish Government, Welsh Government) and ONS Statistical Coherence and Inclusion Division.

Email: gss.housing@ons.gov.uk

Main achievements for 2020 to 2021

Coherence plans for 2021 to 2022

  • Support 2021 Census analysis of housing and homelessness questions
  • Continue to develop the possibilities from linking official and commercial housing and homelessness datasets across the UK.

Further information available

For more information visit the Housing, homelessness and planning statistics page. You can also read about the cross-government housing and planning statistics work programme and homelessness and rough sleeping work programme.

Read the blog post ‘Understanding the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on housing and homelessness’.

Improving the coherence and accessibility of income and earnings statistics across the GSS.

Coherence work lead

The GSS, Income and Earnings Statistics Coherence Steering Group (Department for Work and Pensions, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, ONS, Scottish Government, Welsh Government) and ONS, Statistical Coherence and Inclusion Division.

Email: gss.income.earnings@ons.gov.uk

Main achievements for 2020 to 2021

  • Formed a cross departmental income and earnings coherence steering group to coordinate work in this area.
  • Produced a new vision for improving the coherence of income and earnings statistics.
  • Producers have provided a range of contextual analysis into the effects of COVID-19 on household finances.
  • Published an article looking in more depth at how people’s experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic differed depending on their position in the income distribution before March 2021.
  • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published monthly statistics on the COVID-19 support schemes such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which provided £49.4 billion of support in 2020 to 10 million employments.
  • New local area child poverty statistics, jointly developed by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HMRC, and published by DWP, replaced previous official statistics produced individually by both departments.

Coherence plans for 2021 to 2022

  • Engage with users to promote the coherence work.
  • Work with the OSR to formally close their 2015 review on income and earnings statistics recommendations.
  • Publish the work plan and promote income and earnings coherence work with users.
  • Improve the signposting and accessibility of income and earnings statistics.
  • Scope out a new online interactive tool where users can explore the complex landscape of income and earnings statistics in one convenient location.
  • Provide a cross-GSS vehicle to help producers address the recommendations in OSR’s review of income-based poverty statistics.

Further information available

For more information visit our income and earnings statistics page.

Putting administrative data at the core of our evidence on international migration and population.

Coherence work lead

The ONS Centre for International Migration, Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Email: pop.info@ons.gov.uk

Main achievements for 2020 to 2021

Coherence plans for 2021 to 2022

  • Continue with the development of modelled admin-based migration estimates to produce estimates to input into the 2022 (reference 2021) mid-year estimates and sub-national projections.
  • Develop our understanding of post-Brexit immigration system data for measuring international migration in the longer term.
  • Focus on top user priorities, such as the impact of Brexit and COVID-19 on migration patterns for relevant subgroups.
  • Continued collaboration across the statistical system to ensure coherence across the population system.

Further information available

For more information, visit the population and migration statistics overview. Also, read the recent updates for population and migration statistics system transformation.

Improving coherence and reducing trade data gaps across the four nations of the UK.

Coherence work lead

Transformation programme (jointly funded by ONS and the Department for International Trade).

Email: NA.UK.Trade.Project@ons.gov.uk

Main achievements for 2020 to 2021

Trade achievements

Investment achievements

  • Procurement of Orbis data (compiled by Bureau van Dijk) consisting of information on UK businesses, such as the industry they operate in, location and global company structures to provide a more detailed local picture and enable further understanding of complex cross-border ownership structures (read the article on the use of the Orbis data).
  • Published experimental insights into foreign owned UK companies (PDF 712KB).
  • We set up a regular production of a dashboard of trade indicators to inform government policy decisions in the context of Brexit.

Coherence plans for 2021 to 2022

  • Improve the quality of trade in services data
  • Develop the International Trade in Services survey.
  • Explore the area of digital trade, focussing on Digital Intermediary Platforms.
  • Develop the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) survey.
  • Provide data and narrative covering the impacts of Brexit on trade and investment.
  • Improve the availability and quality of data on sub-national trade working in collaboration with the devolved governments.

Further information available

Read the Trade Development Plan and the FDI Development Plan.

 

Contact us

For general questions about statistical coherence, please email gss.coherence@ons.gov.uk.

For questions about a specific statistical topic please use the relevant contact details.

If you want to find out more about our statistical coherence work, please read the National Statistical blog post ‘Public data for public good – making sure official statistics are joined up‘.