Improving the Public Value of Health and Care Statistics in England

In 2015, we became concerned that there were issues within the statistical system that needed to be addressed to enhance the public value of health and social care statistics. We discovered from a series of Patient Experience assessments published in 2014 that areas for improvement were replicated across a suite of statistics published by different producers, indicating a systemic problem. These concerns led to a suite of co-ordinated activity undertaken by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) to improve the coherence and accessibility of health and social care statistics in England.

As part of this systemic review the Office for Statistics Regulation took the lead on:

  • identifying key issues of coordination and leadership within the statistical system;
  • obtaining acknowledgement of the issues by the organisations involved in producing these statistics;
  • asking producers to take ownership of the issues and commit to improvement; and
  • facilitating discussions to develop actions for the statistical system.

The report summarises the key findings, action taken and recommendations from this suite of activity.

Following the publication of the report we stepped back from convening producers and setting the agenda, allowing those producing the statistics in England to take leadership in setting the strategic direction for health and care statistics. During this time, we retained regulatory oversight to assist improvements with health and care statistics.

In April 2019, we took the decision to close the formal part of this systemic review. We felt that this was an appropriate decision given the progress we had seen over the previous 12 months, and our increasing confidence that producers of health statistics across the UK are looking to collaborate and support each other better. At this point we continue to keep in touch with the EHSSG to ensure that progress continues at a satisfactory rate and the EHSSG continues to deliver against its action plan.

 

Related links

Letter to producers, setting out the recommendations which they needed to act on to maintain momentum (March 2018)

Health and Social Care Statistics in England: update on Systemic Review

In 2015, following a series of assessments, we identified a range of systemic issues affecting health and care statistics in England. Fundamentally, there was no single individual or organisation with clear leadership responsibility and this had led to problems with the coherence and accessibility of these statistics. To bring about change, we have engaged with the system intensively over the past two years, with staff from the Office for Statistics Regulation convening and leading three Round Table meetings and two conferences seeking buy in to improvements and practical steps to bring about change.

We held the first Round Table meeting on 22 February 2016 involving senior decision makers in the health sector, then published a discussion paper ‘Health Statistics – Direction of Travel’ in March 2016 reflecting broad recognition of the issues we had identified. To kick-start engagement with the statistics user community, we ran a successful ‘Health and Care Statistics Summit’ in July 2016. To keep momentum going, we convened a second Round Table in December 2016 and the third Round Table in May 2017. Participants agreed that the short term focus would be on strengthening the system through the collaborative work plan set out by the English Health and Social Care Statistics Steering Group (EHSSG). This cross-producer group was set up in response to our intervention and is a key player in implementing operational change. It has published a vision and action plan and works through a set of theme groups.

In November 2017 we hosted a conference ‘Putting users’ needs at the heart of improving health and social care statistics’. This brought together eight EHSSG theme leads with users interested in statistics in their area and was judged by participants to be a useful model that could be replicated in future. However, many users are unaware of the positive work that statisticians are doing to improve health and social care statistics. This affects the confidence users have in the system and we can see that they are still frustrated with the pace of change.

As we stand back from our intensive convening role, we are pleased at the foundations that have been laid through the work of the EHSSG and are keen to see that the full potential of the group is realised. We have published a report on progress made and sent a letter to producers, setting out a series of recommendations which they need to act on to maintain momentum. Progress against these recommendations will be reviewed as part of our 2018/19 Regulatory Portfolio and we will intervene if progress is not sufficient. Considering the scale of the task, we expect to monitor progress for at least two years. We will also use compliance checks and assessments to look at statistical outputs and how they are developing.

Health and Care Statistics in England – The Statistics Authority’s direction of travel

In February 2016 the UK Statistics Authority convened a meeting – a Round Table – of many of the leaders of the English health and care system to discuss how English health and care statistics could be enhanced to better serve the public good: how the statistics might be improved, in order to support better decision making.

Health and Care Statistics in England – The Statistics Authority’s direction of travel summarises the outcomes of the Round Table.

There was support for the UK Statistics Authority’s strategy for UK Statistics – Better Statistics, Better Decisions – which starts from the independence and professionalism of statisticians as the essential pre-requisite to trustworthiness, and looks for systems of statistics which then demonstrate the following attributes:  HelpfulInnovative;  Professional ;  Efficient; Capable.

The Round Table agreed that at its best the health and care statistical system in England satisfies these criteria but concluded that generally the service provided for users by the decentralised system was incoherent and inconsistent.


List of annexes

Annex A – Round table attendees

Annex B – Health Statistics Landscape

Annex C – Health round table paper

The Robustness of the International Passenger Survey

The Authority published the Monitoring Review Report ‘The Robustness of the International Passenger Survey’ in June 2013.

Annex 1 provides a brief summary of the report and documents actions taken in response to the recommendations.

Statement from the UK Statistics Authority

The published Monitoring Review Report contained 7 recommendations for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Home Office, and the National Statistician, to progress.

As of January 2016, all of the recommendations have been satisfactorily completed.


The Robustness of the International Passenger Survey – Original report

Statistics Relating to Transfers from the Asset Purchase Facility Fund

The Authority published the Monitoring Review Report ‘Statistics Relating to Transfers from the Asset Purchase Facility Fund’ in June 2013.

Annex 1 provides a brief summary of the report and documents actions taken in response to the recommendations.

Statement from the UK Statistics Authority

The published Monitoring Review Report contained 4 recommendations for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to progress.

As of January 2016, all of the recommendations have been satisfactorily completed.


Statistics relating to transfers from the Asset Purchase Facility Fund – Original report

Real Terms Estimates for Health Expenditure in England over the Spending Review Period, 2010-11 to 2014-15

The Authority published the Monitoring Review Report ‘Real Terms Estimates for Health Expenditure in England over the Spending Review Period, 2010-11 to 2014-15’ in June 2013. Annex 1 provides a brief summary of the report and documents actions taken in response to the recommendations.

Statement from the UK Statistics Authority

The published report contained 3 recommendations for HM Treasury and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to progress.

As of January 2016, all of the recommendations have been satisfactorily completed.

Statistics for Parliamentary Constituencies – Final Update

The Authority published the Monitoring Review Report ‘Statistics for Parliamentary Constituencies’ in March 2012. Annex 1 provides a brief summary of the report and documents actions taken in response to the recommendations.

Statement from the UK Statistics Authority

The published Monitoring Review Report contained 9 recommendations to be progressed.

As of January 2016, all of the recommendations have been satisfactorily completed.

At the time of publication, the Authority found that statistics at parliamentary constituency level did not meet user needs. Between 2012 and the General Election in 2015, producers have responded to the resultant recommendations that were set out in the Monitoring Review. In some cases the actions taken have not directly aligned with the Authority suggestions; however, they have been in the spirit of improvement and addressed the underlying need. The Authority recognises that these actions have been taken given limited resource availability and competing business priorities. We are encouraged by the commitment of the producers to make continued improvements in this area and while some of the recommendations could be seen as still open; in particular recommendations 4 and 5 that relate to possible future constituency boundary changes; we feel the infrastructure is in place to deal with future change if required.

Given this, the Authority deems that the recommendations from this review have been addressed within what could reasonably be expected of the producers.


Statistics for Parliamentary Constituencies – Original report

Monitoring Review Progress Report – Coherence and Accessibility of Official Income and Earnings Statistics

This Monitoring Review Progress Report aims to highlight work in response to recommendations made within the Authority’s Monitoring programme. Relevant parties and partners who have been assigned actions are encouraged to inform the Authority of progress on a regular basis or after any substantive action has been undertaken. The Monitoring Review Progress Report also gives the Authority the ability to provide further comment on progress if it is deemed appropriate.

Population estimates and projections: a comparison across the UK

Monitoring Review 4/15

Introduction

Population estimates and projections are among the UK’s most prominent National Statistics, providing important input into national and local planning activity and to a large number of other economic and social statistics. For this reason, the UK Statistics Authority assessed whether these statistics continue to comply with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. The statistics are produced across the UK by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Welsh Government, National Records of Scotland (NRS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). In July 2015, the Statistics Authority published Assessment reports 3091 , 3102 , 3113 and 3124 , which examine these statistics for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively. These reports confirm that the population statistics for each constituent country are designated as National Statistics, subject to the relevant producer bodies implementing certain requirements set by the Statistics Authority. The producer bodies have already begun to address these Requirements. This comparison paper brings together the main similarities and differences between the four producer bodies that we found during the course of this assessment.