Office for National Statistics written evidence to the International Development Committee’s inquiry on UK Government support for sustainable development Goal 16

Dear Mr Twigg,

I write in response to the International Development Committee’s call for evidence for the inquiry UK Government support for Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace and Justice).

As the Committee are aware, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the UK’s National Statistical Institute, and largest producer of official statistics. We aim to provide a firm evidence base for sound decisions, and develop the role of official statistics in democratic debate. The ONS is responsible for sourcing and reporting UK data for the Sustainable Development Goal indicators on behalf of the UK Government.

The ONS provided written evidence to the Committee’s previous inquiry on the Sustainable Development Goals in early 2019. In response to the Committee’s new inquiry on this topic, the following short note provides an update on our work in the specific area of Goal 16.

I hope this evidence is helpful to the Committee. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

Yours sincerely,
Iain Bell
Deputy National Statistician and Director General for Population & Public Policy

 

 

Office for National Statistics – Written Evidence to the International Development
Committee: UK Government support for SDG 16 inquiry (September 2019)
Background and the ONS role

1. As the UK’s national statistical institute, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for the reporting of data which enables regular monitoring of UK progress towards the 244 global
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators. The comprehensive framework for SDGs fits with our Better Statistics, Better Decisions strategy which sets out the official statistics system collective mission of providing high quality statistics, analysis and advice to better inform policymaking.

Sourcing and analysing data for the SDGs which covers the economy, environment and society, and is also broken down to show a more complete picture for the UK, will enable better-evidenced policy decisions.

2. We are:

• Sourcing the appropriate UK data for the global indicators.
• Providing data to the international organisations responsible for each indicator, known as Custodian Agencies, who are responsible for reporting the data to the United Nations.
• Analysing the data so that it can be understood in context.
• Making the data available to everybody through the development of an online tool and supporting reports.

Progress and developments from the ONS since last SDGs inquiry

3. Since the publication of the Committee’s report on ‘UK progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The Voluntary National Review’ (VNR) in July 2019, the ONS has made significant progress in the reporting and analysis of the SDGs, sourcing the appropriate UK data for the global indicators, putting that data into context and making that data available to everyone.
4. Within the ONS supported the UK government to deliver its first VNR, ensuring the process was underpinned by information and data, which were reported from a range of sources, including:
a. The ONS’ National Reporting Platform, an online tool capturing UK data on the UN’s Global Indicators.
b. Other government sources to fill in the gaps between UK data and the Global Indicators, to help provide a fuller picture of UK progress towards the Goals.
c. Non-government sources to provide further objectivity and context.

Within each goal specific chapter, including the one for Goal 16, data picture boxes were also used to help illustrate progress.

5. Since the publication of the VNR, the ONS has continued to update and increase the number of indicators for which we report data. As of September 2019, data are reported for 182 (75%) of the
global SDG indicators. This is one of the highest proportions in the world. Headline UK data are reported for all of the Global Indicators that underpin three of the Goals (Goal 5, Goal 7 and Goal 13).

6. Over 70% of the 182 reported Global Indicators have data for at least one disaggregation such as sex, age, or geographic location, reaffiriming the UK’s commitment and efforts to ‘Leave No One
Behind’. The ONS are an Inclusive Data Charter (IDC) champion and embedded within the team are two technical advisors who have a role in making the SDG data more inclusive.

7. All data are published and publicly available via our National Reporting Platform (NRP). The site is based on the open source ‘Open SDG’ platform. The Open SDG platform is the result of
collaboaration between the US Government, the ONS, and the nonprofit Center For Open Data Enterprise (CODE). Countries including Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Germany, Jamaica, Poland
and Namibia have already adopted and are benefiting from our approach.

8. The UK is also collaborating with other countries to develop statistical capacity and share expertise, and to help others measure progress towards the Goals. Across networks of analysts , the UK is committed to finding innovative solutions to the measurement challenges all countries face in monitoring progress on this ambitious agenda.

9. We will publish the report Sustainable Development Goals in the UK, an update on progress: November 2019 on 7 November 2019, which will review progress and set out our plans for the
coming year. It will include an update on progress and future plans in relation to: data acquisition (highlighting that we are now able to report data for 75% of headline indicators); the ONS Inclusive Data Charter Action Plan and the challenges surrounding sourcing disaggregated data; improvements to the data platform, including a programme of user testing, as well as the adoption of the site by other countries this year; engagement and reporting to explain and make publicly available analysis of the SDG data; and data innovations, such as the development of automated
data acquisition, and further use of geo-spatial techniques. We will send the Committee a copy of the report when published.

Goal 16 – Peace and Justice

10. We are currently reporting headline data for 16 of the 23 global SDG indicators underpinning Goal 16 – Peace and Justice. The seven indicators for which we are not reporting are:
i. 16.2.1 – Proportion of children aged 1-17 who experienced any physical punishment and/or aggression by caregivers in the past month
ii. 16.2.2 – Number of victims of human trafficking per 100,000 of the population by age, sex and form of exploitation
iii. 16.4.1 – Total value of inward and outward illicit financial flows (in current US dollars)
iv. 16.4.2 – Proportion of seized, found or surrendered arms whose illicit origin or context has been traced or established by a competent authority in line with international instruments
v. 16.6.1 – Primary government expenditures as a proportion of original approved budget, by sector (or by budget codes or similar)
vi. 16.8.1 – Proportion of members and voting rights of developing countries in international organizations
vii. 16.10.1 – Number of verified cases of killing, kidnapping, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention and torture of journalists, associated media personnel, trade unionists and human
rights advocates in the previous 12 months

A detailed summary of Goal 16 indicators with current sources is provided at Annex A.

11. Working in close collaboration with topic experts, which include the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, efforts are ongoing to improve the provision and quality of data reported. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is an important data source for Goal 16. It provides a better reflection of the extent of household and personal crime than police recorded statistics because the survey includes crimes that are not reported to, or recorded by, the police. The survey is also a better indicator of long-term trends because it is unaffected by changes in levels of reporting to the police or police recording practices. For example, the Centre have provided where possible, SDG crime indicators broken down by: ethnicity; sex; age; disability; country of birth; region; and household income. The availability of detailed disaggregated data for all indicators is limited by the current sample size of the CSEW. The ONS are also working in partnership with the Devolved
Adminstrations to improve the availability of data for the whole of the UK.

12. A key focus has also been on indicators for which data are not currently provided. This includes indicators on modern slavery, human trafficking and child exploitation. The ONS Centre for Crime and Justice have made progress exploring research methods and identifying data sources to support these indicators. Stakeholders including the Home Office’s Modern Slavery Unit and  Bernard Silverman, a leading academic expert on modern slavery, helped shape the research. There are plans to publish an article discussing an approach to measuring modern slavery using proxy
indicators in Spring 2020. This article will represent an important milestone as we look to report data for indicator 16.2.2.

13. In order to meet the challenge of providing disaggregated data it will be necessary to consider the viability of using non-official data sources, including qualitative and citizen generated data. The ONS SDG team are looking to establish robust criteria to understand the quality of these data sources and provide users with transparent assessment of the strengths and limitations of the data.

14. Focusing specifically on crime data around children, the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice will publish a new compendium in January 2020 bringing together available data on child abuse
(including abuse experienced by adults when they were children) from a range of data sources. Work is also underway to assess the feasibility of undertaking a prevalence survey of current levels of child abuse. This will help to fill data gaps for indicator 16.2.1.

15. Of the remaining five indicators which the UK are currently not reporting data for, the ONS are continually working across the GSS to improve the data provision. We are actively investigating the viability of sources to report against these indicators and will update the Committee on our progress at the end of March 2020.

16. The ONS will continue to engage with the Praia Group on Governance Statistics. The group, set up in 2015, provides an invaluable opportunity to address the issues of conceptualization, methodology and instruments in the domain of governance statistics.

Annex A: Detailed summary of Goal 16 indicators
Indicator nameRelevant links if anyMost recent dataReported breakdowns
Indicator 16.1.1 Number of victims of intentional homicide per 100,000 population, by sex and ageNumber of victims
of homicide per
100,000 population
1.24 per hundred
thousand
2017/18, England and
Wales
Age, sex, region, police
force area
Indicator 16.1.2 Conflict-related deaths per 100,000 population, by sex, age and causeConflict-related
deaths per million
population
0.0151 per million
population
2018, UK
Indicator 16.1.3 Proportion of population subjected to (a) physical violence, (b) psychological violence and (c) sexual violence in the previous 12 monthsProportion of
population
subjected to
physical and
sexual violence in
the previous 12
months
Physical violence
(includes wounding,
assault with minor injury
and assault without
injury): 1.75%
Sexual violence (refers
to any sexual assault
including attempts):
2.7%
2017/18, England and
Wales
Sex, ethnicity, violence
type, age, household
income, disability status,
region, highest
qualification
Indicator 16.1.4 Proportion of population that feel safe walking alone around the area they liveProportion of
population who feel
safe walking alone
after dark
75.2%
2017/18, England and
Wales
Ethnicity, sex, age,
disability status, country
of birth, region,
household income.
Indicator 16.2.1 Proportion of children aged 1–17 years who experienced any physical punishment and/or psychological aggression by caregivers in the past monthCurrently not
reported by the UK
Indicator 16.2.2 Number of victims of human trafficking per 100,000 population, by sex, age and form of exploitationCurrently not
reported by the UK
Indicator 16.2.3 Proportion of young women and men aged 18–29 years who experienced sexual violence by age 18Proportion of
adults aged 18 to
29 years who
experienced abuse
as a child before
the age of 16
16%
2015/16, England and
Wales
Abuse category, sex
Indicator 16.3.1 Proportion of victims of violence in the previous 12 months who reported their victimization to competent authorities or other officially recognized conflict resolution mechanismsPercentage of
Crime Survey for
England and
Wales incidents of
violence reported
to the police
44.3%
2018/19, England and
Wales
Type of violence
Indicator 16.3.2 Unsentenced detainees as a proportion of overall prison populationPrison population
remanded in
custody, as a
proportion of
overall prison
population
11.1%
2019 Q1, England and
Wales
Sex, age, nationality
Indicator 16.4.1 Total value of inward and outward illicit financial flows (in current United States dollars)Currently not
reported by the UK
Indicator 16.4.2 Proportion of seized, found or surrendered arms whose illicit origin or context has been traced or established by a competent authority in line with international instrumentsCurrently not
reported by the UK
Indicator 16.5.1 Proportion of persons who had at least one contact with a public official and who paid a bribe to a public official, or were asked for a bribe by those public officials, during the previous 12 monthsNumber of
corruption related
offences
20
2019 Q1, England and
Wales
Corruption offence type
Indicator 16.5.1 Proportion of persons who had at least one contact with a public official and who paid a bribe to a public official, or were asked for a bribe by those public officials, during the previous 12 monthsNumber of
corruption related
offences
20
2019 Q1, England and
Wales
Corruption offence type
Indicator 16.6.1 Primary government expenditures as a proportion of original approved budget, by sector (or by budget codes or similar)Currently not
reported by the UK
Indicator 16.6.2 Proportion of population satisfied with their last experience of public servicesAverage quality
rating of public
services
6.31, mean quality
rating of public
services, 2016, UK
Sex, age, region, income
quartile, disability status,
country of birth
Indicator 16.7.1 Proportions of positions (by sex, age, persons with disabilities and population groups) in public institutions (national and local legislatures, public service, and judiciary) compared to national distributionsEmployment by
age and gender
84.2%
2016, UK
Country, region, sector,
age, sex
Indicator 16.7.2 Proportion of population who believe decision-making is inclusive and responsive, by sex, age, disability and population groupPercentage of
population
agreeing they can
influence decisions
affecting their local
area
25%
2018/19, England
Sex, age, ethnicity,
disability status, region,
urbanisation, citizenship,
household income
Indicator 16.8.1 Proportion of members and voting rights of developing countries in international organizationsCurrently not
reported by the UK
Indicator 16.9.1 Proportion of children under 5 years of age whose births have been registered with a civil authority, by agePercentage of
births that have
been registered
with a civil
authority
100%
2010-2016, UK
Indicator 16.10.1 Number of verified cases of killing, kidnapping, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention and torture of journalists, associated media personnel, trade unionists and human rights advocates in the previous 12 monthsCurrently not
reported by the UK
Indicator 16.10.2 Number of countries that adopt and implement constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to informationRelevant UK
policies (not
exhaustive list)
Freedom of Information
Act 2000
The Environmental
Information Regulations
2004
The Data Protection
Act 2018
Indicator 16.a.1 Existence of independent national human rights institutions in compliance with the Paris PrinciplesRelevant UK
policies (not
exhaustive list)
Human Rights Report
Fulfilling the Paris
Principles
Indicator 16.b.1 Proportion of population reporting having personally felt discriminated against or harassed in the previous 12 months on the basis of a ground of discrimination prohibited under international human rights lawProportion of
population who
were victims of
hate crime
0.162%
2015/16 to 2017/18,
England and Wales
Type of hate crime, sex,
age, ethnicity, disability
status, household
income, area type.

 

Office for National Statistics written evidence to the International Development Committee’s inquiry on UK progress in the sustainable development goals

Dear Mr Twigg,

I write in response to the International Development Committee’s call for evidence for its inquiry on UK progress in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As the Committee may be aware, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the UK’s National Statistical Institute, and largest producer of official statistics. We aim to provide a firm evidence base for sound decisions and develop the role of official statistics in democratic debate.

ONS previously provided oral evidence to this Committee’s first inquiry regarding the SDG’s, in November 2015. The following short note provides an update on our work in this area since the publication of the Committee’s report in May 2016. In light of the inquiry’s terms of reference, it also provides additional information on ONS support for statistical modernisation and capability building internationally.

I hope this evidence is helpful to the Committee. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Iain Bell
Deputy National Statistician and Director General for Population and Public Policy | Office for National Statistics

 

 

Office for National Statistics – Written Evidence to the International Development Committee: UK progress in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Overview

1. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) strategy for sustainable development goal reporting is threefold:

  • To source and report data for all the SDG global indicators and develop comprehensive analysis to put the SDGs into context
  • Make our data and analysis coverage more comprehensive to ensure no one is left behind in line with our commitments to the Inclusive Data Charter
  • Make SDGs data available to all using open source products that other countries can reuse for free

2. Alongside this we have launch an ONS International Development Team to plan and lead the provision of high quality technical assistance to build the capacity of the statistical
systems in developing countries.

Progress and developments from ONS since the last SDGs inquiry

Reporting and analysis of the Sustainable Development Goals

Since the publication of the committee’s report on Sustainable Development Goals in the UK in May 2016, ONS has made significant progress towards sourcing the appropriate UK data for the global indicators, putting that data into context and making that data available to everyone. We are currently reporting data for 157 (64%) global SDG indicators. A further 22 (9%) are currently in progress, and for the remaining 65 (28%) we are exploring data sources (only the Netherlands report on more global indicators). Over 40% of the global indicators reported contain at least 1 required disaggregation (a much higher proportion than any other country).

All data are published and available to all via our new National Reporting Platform (NRP) which was launched alongside our first annual report ‘Sustainable Development Goals: progress and possibilities’ in November 2017. Our second annual report ‘Sustainable Development Goals in the UK, an update on progress’  was published in November 2018.

We have started to release a series of narrative publications which have included short pieces on child mortality, partner abuse, people on remand in custody, a slide share on renewable energy, and a broader compendium publication looking at economic statistics related to SDGs.

During summer 2017 we undertook a consultation to understand how stakeholders want us to report on SDGs and how to prioritise filling data gaps. Our response to this consultation was
published on 11 December 2017.

The consultation responses were supportive of our proposed programme of work and expanded on details that aligned with our development work. Geographic breakdowns to the lowest level possible were highlighted as a priority area for development and respondents suggested further prioritisation should be centred around what is relevant and a priority for the UK.

Inclusive Data Charter and Disaggregation

On 19 March 2018 we published the first UK Data Gaps report detailing the global SDG indicators with no known UK data sources and the biggest data disaggregation gaps for the UK. To coincide with the UK commitment to the Inclusive Data Charter12, on 13 July 2018 we published our data development plans to fill SDG data gaps at both the headline and disaggregation level.

For example, one of the biggest data disaggregation gaps for the UK is migrant status. In September 2017 ONS set out a comprehensive work programme utilising new powers under the Digital Economy Act to improve migration statistics that will deliver by spring 2020. We anticipate the outcome of this work will help fill SDG data disaggregation gaps.

Open source platform to enable re-use

The UK is among the leading countries in its response to SDGs data for global indicators –from reporting data to publishing plans and outputs in an open and transparent way. Supporting the development of statistical capacity to report SDGs data and ensuring the most vulnerable groups are visible in data, both domestically and globally, is central to ONS work on data for SDGs.

Our National Reporting Platform has been developed with our Data Science Campus and in collaboration with the United States. We have deliberately developed an open source solution,
so others can freely reuse our code. Technical guidance on copying our site is available in our wiki webpage. Our approach has also received interest from a number of other countries including Germany, Australia, Poland and Armenia. The National Statistics Institutes in Ghana and Rwanda have formally adopted the platform and are receiving technical support under our
formal partnership on statistical modernisation.

Through ONS collaboration with the US government and the Center for Open Data Enterprise, we have been combining code and features in the UK and US platforms into one produce a
single harmonised open platform. This new version will allow countries to more easily adopt future developments and share resources such as translations. It will also include improved
mapping features, a key requirement for our partner countries.

ONS support for statistical modernisation and capacity building internationally

ONS is supporting statistical modernisation in Africa, funded through a DFID grant. Partnerships have been developed with national statistical offices in Rwanda, Ghana and Kenya, as well as with the UN Economic Commission for Africa. These partnerships have a strong focus on SDG measurement, including filling data gaps, increasing availability of  disaggregated data, user consultation and data dissemination. Early results of these programmes include the launch of the National Reporting Platform of the Ghana Statistical Service on African Statistics Day 2018, at a high-profile event attended by over 300 representatives from Ghanaian ministries, districts and agencies. ONS is continuing to support the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda in transforming and loading data into their reporting platform, which is to be launched soon.

The UK is also a member of a United Nations Task Force on Reporting SDG indicators using National Reporting Platforms (NRPs). The Task Force is working on a document that maps the main features across several existing NRPs and includes case studies showing how different countries have approached reporting their data

We are a Steering Group member of the Conference of European Statisticians’ (CES) Expert Group on Statistics for SDGs and contributed to the development of a roadmap for the development of official statistics for monitoring SDGs, which was launched in June 2017.

We are also co-chair of the UNECE group on Communicating Statistics on SDGS, as well as members of UN groups, reporting platforms and data development.

As a member of the Geospatial Working Group of the United Nations Inter-Agency and Expert Group (UN IAEG), we have worked on the development of the Global Statistical Geospatial Framework – a set of principles developed by the UN Expert Group on the Integration of Statistics and Geospatial Information (UN EG-ISGI) to support the use of geospatial data within the sustainable development agenda.

We have been exploring innovative and globally scalable methods to support SDG reporting, in collaboration with our Data Science Campus and the UN Global Platform for Official Statistics. The first project in this work stream has produced a globally scalable method to monitor SDGs indicator 9.1.1 – the proportion of the rural population living within 2km of an all-weather road. We are currently working with the World Bank, who are the custodians for this indicator, to validate the methods and data sources. We will then be sharing our approach via the UN Global Platform.

Office for National Statistics, January 2019