2022/23 Performance Summary

This section presents some highlights of the organisation’s performance in 2022/23. More performance information can be found in the 2022/23 Annual Report and Accounts, which will be published in July 2023 after it’s been laid before Parliament.

ONS has continued to work alongside and as an integral part of the GSS, worked together on the development of the Integrated Data Service, the Inclusion and Diversity Task Force, the GSS subnational and quality strategies, the delivery of Reproducible Analytical Pipelines, and collaborating to inform policy decisions on key topics across government. This approach to delivery will continue to be a key element to achieving the UKSA Strategy.

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Integrated Data Services Programme

The Integrated Data Services (IDS) Programme launched its first private beta in May 2022 with an improved cloud platform and service enhancements for a new tranche of users. The next release, an initial public beta followed quickly in July 2022 and the next iteration of public beta was released in March 2023. A group of super early adopters received access to Census 2021 data with the ability to join to other ONS data and run exploratory analytical projects in the IDS environment, and to provide the programme team with early user feedback, critical to ongoing development.

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The last of nine Census 2021 topic summaries was released in January 2022 with widespread reach including events such as the ‘Let’s Count’ campaign in English and Welsh schools, over 5,100 media pieces including in 28 new minority or specialist media outlets, 82 million social media impressions and over 5.2 million views of the Census Maps product. The release on sexual orientation and gender identity received positive coverage with media outlets noting this was the first time this information had been provided on a voluntary basis at such scale.

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Ukraine Humanitarian Response

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent humanitarian response, the Ukraine Humanitarian Response Insight Survey was set up in collaboration with the Cabinet Office, Home Office and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This survey was used to inform policy responses and charted the experience of Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK, highlighting where they were staying, how they were accessing services, what support they required and their intentions for staying in the country. A follow-up survey revealed the experiences and intentions of hosts to provide ongoing support including help settling into UK life, and access to private rented accommodation.

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Cost of Living

Significant work was undertaken in response to the widespread increase in the cost of living, including:

  • data and analysis on energy, health, supply chains, labour market and cost of living, including experimental analysis that tracked the online price of 30 lowest-cost grocery items, used to inform and monitor winter risks preparedness helping to evaluate government policies and packages of support;
  • a new survey on the impacts on higher education students, and a Cost of Living Insights Tool that helped users access the latest insights, interpret complex trends and personalise the data to their region and personal characteristics;
  • the “Understanding the cost of living through statistics” event considered how the UK economy was being affected and what it meant for different households; and
  • a Winter Panel of 5,000 households was set up to answer questions on cost of living, housing, energy, heating homes, impact on health, access to treatment and impact on work, caring and life.
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Population and Migration Statistics

The latest admin-based ethnicity research covering 2016-2020 was published and ONS provided local authorities with mid-2022 estimates from the Dynamic Population Model that provides timely access to changes in demographic behaviour.

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COVID-19 and Future Health Monitoring

Our COVID-19 Infection Survey (CIS) won the 2022 Campion Award for Excellence in Official Statistics, while our work on Long COVID was highly commended. The award, run by the Royal Statistical Society, recognised outstanding innovations or developments in the production of UK statistics that improve the service to users.

The CIS moved to a new digital operating model in 2022 and in March 2023 celebrated over 11.5m swabs to monitor for COVID-19 infection, and 3.3m tests for antibodies. A total of 280 publications related to COVID-19 have been released that have informed policy decisions, with the COVID insights tool and data visualisations being used for both public information and policy decisions. Analytical outputs on priority topics covered new variants, regional and characteristic analysis, long COVID rates, and more recently wider respiratory pathogens.

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Subnational data

The Senior Subnational Data group was re-launched to support the delivery of the Government Statistical Service subnational data strategy and underpinning workplan that will deliver new and improved subnational statistics over the next 18 months. New experimental regional capital estimates were published alongside an update to the subnational indicators explorer. Our ONS Local project in collaboration with Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DHLUC) has provided a service of ONS expertise across the UK supporting shared learning and delivering optimal impact from our data.

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Prevalence estimates of domestic abuse and sexual assault for the whole of the population (including under 16-year olds) were produced and published for the first time in July 2022, in the Crime in England and Wales release. In building on our work to improve the evidence base on violence against women and girls (VAWG) we developed and published a protype data dashboard, introduced new questions on harassment into the crime survey and developed new questions on controlling and coercive behaviour which will be trialled as a split sample from April 2023.

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Economic Statistics

A new system to improve and modernise our headline measures of consumer price inflation was developed that is capable of processing billions of price points as part of the monthly publication round. In addition, research was published detailing the impact of using new data sources in Consumer Prices Index (CPI) and Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH).

A suite of publications was released showcasing our “Beyond GDP” plans, including an ‘inclusive income’ workplan, which brings in the missing capital such as human and natural capital into a single measure, new quarterly climate change insights, and a proposal for an approach to estimating quarterly greenhouse gas emissions.

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International Leadership

As the internationally recognised National Statistical Institute of the UK, ONS continued to play a leading role in several international forums, including the United Nations (UN) Data Science Leaders network, the UN network of Chief Economic Statisticians, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) group on the modernisation of statistical legislation, as well as leading a global work programme on improving statistics on aging and older people.

ONS has established new partnerships with national statistical systems in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America, aligning with wider Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office global priorities, including through our Official Development Assistance budget. These partnerships have continued to deliver statistical modernisation, including improved quality digital censuses, modern statistical strategies, and new and sustainable capability in data science and in statistical leadership in key UK partner countries.

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Organisation / Employer

ONS has continued to build on our reputation for being an employer of choice. Externally, we have won a number of awards including two Glassdoor awards: Top 50 Best Places to Work in 2023, a first for any Civil Service department; and the top employer in the UK for work-life balance for the second consecutive year. We also received a gold award from Mind for a second year, recognising our approach to supporting colleague mental health and ensuring healthy working environments and practices. We are a UK Top 30 Working Families organisation and a Disability Confident leader, and recently won the highest award at the Public Sector Smarter Working Awards for our holistic, exemplar approach to people, environment and technology. We have also won industry awards for our People practices.

In addition, the Civil Service Commission named the ONS as Highly Commended for the inclusion initiatives built into our recruitment process to improve accessibility to the Civil Service for under-represented communities in their inaugural Mark of Excellence Awards.

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ONS has now established office space in the Darlington Economic Campus (DEC), a new presence in Manchester, and re-located its London office as part of the Government Property Agency (GPA) strategy. Our Sustainable Offices project has reduced the office space we occupy in both our Newport and Titchfield offices as well as continuing to fund Lifecycle Replacement and NetZero projects to ensure they remain well maintained, safe, sustainable and as efficient as possible.

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