ONS responds to consultation on statistical output cuts

Written by Oz Flanagan on . Posted in News

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has received over 660 responses to the consultation they initiated last September to look at which statistical products should no longer be produced. This is due to a funding cut of £9 million from its annual budget.

The statistical outputs that the ONS are legally obliged to issue make up 80% of its budget. These cuts will affect the remaining 20% of products that will be curtailed in order for the ONS to balance its budget.

The ONS has split these outputs into three categories. The first one is named ‘high impact outputs’, which have been supported by a wide range of respondents and will continue to be produced. These include:


  • Production of General Lifestyle Reports (Smoking, Drinking and General Health) and associated data. However these will be based on a smaller sample size and some key estimates will move from an annual to a two-yearly reference period. General Lifestyle outputs on Households, Families and People; and Marriage and Cohabitation will cease
  • Small area income and poverty measures
  • Annual statistical bulletin on Cancer Survival in England
  • Weekly figures on Deaths Registered in England and Wales
  • Monthly figures on Deaths Registered by Area of Usual Residence, England and Wales (Provisional)
  • Annual statistical bulletin on Childhood, Infant and Perinatal Mortality in England and Wales
  • Production of statistics on Unexplained Deaths in Infancy in England and Wales
  • Production of statistics on Gestation-specific Births and Infant Deaths in England and Wales
  • Annual statistical bulletin on Suicides in the United Kingdom
  • Production of statistics on Excess Winter Mortality in England and Wales (Provisional and Final)
  • Annual statistical bulletin on Avoidable Mortality in England and Wales
  • Production of statistics on Deaths Related to Drug Poisoning in England and Wales
  • Annual statistical bulletin on Alcohol-related deaths in the United Kingdom
  • Outputs on Health Expectancies at birth and at age 65 for the United Kingdom and Constituent Countries, update to years 2009–11
  • Sub-national estimates of Disability-free life expectancy at birth and at age 65 for Upper Tier Local Authorities, 2006–08 to 2009–11
  • Outputs on social inequality in health expectancy by NS-SEC and area deprivation 2010–12, England

The second category includes outputs which received widespread support but which the ONS will be unable to fund themselves, therefore alternative sources of funding from other agencies or organisations will be sought. These outputs are:

  • The Labour Disputes Survey
  • The Quarterly output on individuals' internet use
  • The bi-annual Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) profiles
  • The bi-annual Local Profiles
  • Production of statistics on Deaths involving MRSA in England and Wales
  • Production of statistics on Deaths involving Clostridium difficile in England and Wales
  • Production of quarterly births and deaths statistics
  • Production of quarterly conception statistics
  • Validation of all Disability-free life expectancy (DFLE) estimates based on Annual Population Survey using Census 2011 data for Upper Tier and Lower Tier LAs and area deprivation deciles and exploration of Clinical Commissioning Group Estimates
  • Small area analysis of Health Expectancy by MSOA 2009–2013, England (started this financial year but not completed until 2015)
  • Production of trends in intercensal mortality, NS-SEC, sex, English regions and Wales, update to 2009–11
  • Production of trends in social inequality in life expectancy at birth and at age 65, update to period 2007–11, England and Wales
  • Decennial Analysis of social inequality in all-cause and cause specific mortality by NS-SEC and sex, 2010–12 England and Wales
  • Decennial Analysis of social inequality in alcohol-related causes of death by NS-SEC and sex
  • Decennial Analysis of social inequality in preventable causes of mortality by NS-SEC and sex

Finally, the ONS has identified seven outputs as being ‘lower impact outputs’ which will cease to be produced from 31 March 2014. These include:

  • Integrated Household Survey core questions in the Living Costs and Food Survey; these questions will continue to be asked in the Annual Population Survey
  • The UK Business output; similar information is published in ONS's Business Demography publication which it will continue to publish
  • Annual statistical bulletin on Injury and Poisoning Mortality in England and Wales; the statistics within this bulletin are available in other publications
  • Production of ONS adoption statistics; adoption statistics will continue to be available from the Ministry of Justice
  • Reduce the scope of the sub-national life expectancy statistics bulletin; in future the bulletin will cover only England and Wales rather than the UK, however, Scotland and Northern Ireland figures are available elsewhere
  • Annual statistical bulletin on cancer incidence and mortality in the UK. Figures on cancer incidence for England and cancer mortality for England and Wales will continue to be produced by ONS, mortality and incidence figures for all other constituent countries are available elsewhere
  • Outputs on Inequality in Disability-free life expectancy (DFLE) at birth and at age 65 for National Index of Multiple Deprivation 2010 deprivation deciles of small areas, 2006–08 to 2009–11, this output is in development and this work will no longer continue

The Royal Statistical Society responded to the ONS during the consultation period and is currently assessing the implications of these changes.

Official Statistics Office for National Statistics (ONS)

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