Public service data collections

These data collections are produced by the Public Services Analysis Team (PSAT) at the Office for National Statistics (ONS). They bring together data on spend, inputs, outputs and outcomes which help build an understanding of public service efficiency. There are currently four data collections covering: education, health, work and pensions and criminal justice.

The data collections are presented in two ways. Each data collection has a webpage which hosts an interactive data dashboard and written content with data tables.

The data collections

Health

Education

Work and Pensions

Criminal Justice

Who owns these data collections?

Although we have engaged with departments during the production of these data collections, it is important to note that they are an ONS product rather than that of the government departments or the Government Statistical Service (GSS).

Information about the data collections

These data collections are produced by the Public Services Analysis Team (PSAT) at the Office for National Statistics (ONS). They bring together data on spend, inputs, outputs and outcomes which help build an understanding of public service efficiency. There are currently four data collections covering: education, health, work and pensions and criminal justice.

A huge array of data exists to help build the picture of public service efficiency, released in separate publications by a range of public service bodies, making it difficult to view through an efficiency lens. As a result, conversations tend to be about which data to use as opposed to what messages we can take from the data.

The data collections bring relevant data together in one place to enable users, from the departments and Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT) through to the public, to have a shared understanding of the efficiency story. They are not intended to have comprehensive coverage of all relevant data, but instead provide an overview and a starting point for those who wish to undertake further analysis. Depending on the specific efficiency question being addressed, other data not included in the dashboard may be more appropriate to use.

Caution should be taken when comparing indicators from the four aspects of efficiency (spending, inputs, outputs and outcomes), as they may not be comparable due to differences in the definitions used or coverage of services. For instance, output indicators may not cover all the activities funded by the expenditure recorded in the spend indicators.

The relationship between different aspects of efficiency will also be affected by a range of external factors. It is therefore important not to assume that changes in spending and inputs to a public service are the only factors that drive changes in outputs and outcomes. For example, the education data collection includes spending and inputs on public funded education. However, the outcome measure of exam results will also be impacted by parental involvement and private tutoring. Finally, changes to spending and inputs often take time to have an impact, so there may be a delay before changes seen in spending and inputs feed through to outputs and outcomes.

Decisions as to what statistics to include in the dashboards were taken by reviewing the Single Departmental Plans and through discussions with the departments and HMT. We decided not to use data held in the HMTs OSCAR (Online System for Central Accounting and Reporting) system for the dashboards’ spend segments. This is because the most recent public OSCAR release does not contain the level of detail needed to populate the dashboards to a sufficient level.

The data collections do not include any new data. They draw on a broad range of existing National Statistics and official statistics as well as published management information, bringing them together into an interactive tool under the efficiency headings. Data within each collection is chosen for its suitability for understanding that service and so data for different service sectors is not always comparable. For example, spend data in the education data collection may not be directly equivalent to spend data displayed in the health data collection.

 

The dashboards

The data collections are published on the GSS website as the dashboard component is currently built in Power BI and cannot be hosted on the ONS website.

Using the dashboards

We have published a user guide for the public service data dashboards which outlines dashboard functionality information. Please note, the functionality of the dashboards may be affected if JavaScript is not enabled in your web browser.

Dashboard development status

The dashboards are being released as an experimental ‘Beta’ product to gain feedback that we will use to inform the next stage of development. We are continuously striving to improve the quality of these dashboards and would welcome feedback on how they are being used and what improvements we should consider for future iterations. We are also addressing accessibility issues related to the dashboards.

Contact us

If you have any queries or would like to provide feedback, please contact:
publicservicesanalysis@ons.gov.uk

You can also provide feedback by completing our survey.