RSS contributes to Scottish Parliament inquiry into economic data

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This week one of our fellows has been giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s inquiry into the quality of economic data, following a written submission from the Society itself (PDF).

RSS fellow, Professor Martin Weale, is a leading expert in UK National Accounts and appeared before the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee on Tuesday 26 September 2017 (the full session is available to watch on Scottish Parliament TV).

The inquiry follows last year's Independent Review of UK Economic Statistics by Professor Sir Charles Bean, the conclusions of which were welcomed by the RSS. Since then, the RSS has been encouraged to see the great strides ONS has subsequently made in developing the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCOE) and the Data Science Campus, both of which should be to the betterment of statistics for the Devolved Nations.

The RSS also supports retention of the UK governance system rather than creating an independent Scottish statistical system, saying, 'it is not clear what additional benefits full autonomy would bring'.

The RSS, like the UK Statistics Authority, strongly urges that Scotland’s current rules on pre-release access be revised, as they have been for statistics that are produced by the ONS. At the moment, Scottish Government ministers and officials have five days of access to wholly Scottish devolved statistics before they are formally released. 

The RSS position was also supported by Professor Campbell Leith from the Royal Economic Society, also giving evidence at the session, who said: 'It is increasingly seen as good practice to avoid pre-release systems'.

Watch the session in full here:

Sir Charles Bean Pre-release access to statistics