Members in attendance
- Dame Kate Barker (Chair)
- Jonathan Camfield (Lane Clark & Peacock)
- Matthew Corder (ONS)
- Grant Fitzner (ONS)
- Richard Gibson (Barnett Waddingham)
- Michael Hardie (ONS)
- Jenny King (Which?)
- Simon Kirby (Bank of England)
- Ashwin Kumar (Manchester Metropolitan University)
- Jill Leyland (Royal Statistical Society)
- Sofia Poni (ONS)
- Ian Rowson (Independent Policy Analyst)
- Daniela Silcott (Pensions Policy Institute)
- James Smith (Resolution Foundation)
- Geoff Tily (TUC), for items 1-2
- Thomas Yeomans (HMT)
- David Beckett (ONS)
- Natalie Romano (ONS)
- Abi Casey (ONS)
- Chris Payne (ONS)
- Ian Boreham (ONS)
- Emily Hopson (ONS)
- Helen Sands (ONS)
1. Introduction, apologies, and actions
- The Chair welcomed everyone to the Stakeholder Panel meeting.
- The minutes from the previous Stakeholder Panel meeting (27 January 2023) were approved.
- It was agreed that reference to the Johnson Review recommendations in action point 3 should be made in the next annual report rather than in a separately-published paper.
- It was agreed that action point 16 should be marked as complete as this work was being carried out as part of ONS’s regular contingency planning.
- It was agreed that action point 17 should be marked as partly complete as the paper on HCIs has now been circulated. However, it was also agreed that time would be set aside in July’s Stakeholder Panel to discuss the paper in more detail.
Action: Set aside time on the agenda for July’s Stakeholder Panel so Jill Leyland and John Astin’s paper on HCIs can be discussed.
2. Update on Alternative Data Sources and Rents Transformation
- Sofia Poni gave an update on the implementation timeline for second-hand cars and groceries alternative data sources into headline statistics. These new timelines will be published in summer 2023.
- Sofia Poni gave a general update on Alternative Data Sources and proposed amending the transformation timelines so that groceries scanner data will be incorporated in March 2025, rather than March 2024. This is to ensure there is adequate time for systems development, quality assurance and testing. The Panel fed back that they were happy with this proposal while noting the importance of communicating the technical changes to the public in a way that is easy to understand.
- Abi Casey gave an update on rental price transformation, which included information on plans for communicating the changes to the public and to key stakeholders. The Panel fed back that they were content with the proposed engagement approach.
- Parts of the following discussion have been redacted due to the market sensitive nature of the subject.
3. Update on the development of Household Costs Indices
- Chris Payne summarised progress towards the quarterly publication of the Household Costs Indices (HCIs) which are due to be published later this year. He also gave an update on longer-term plans and prioritisation.
- Chris Payne explained that it would not be possible for ONS to publish both the HCIs and the CPI and CPIH-consistent subgroups because of the resource required to resolve challenges in updating the annual weights, meaning publication of the latter two had temporarily been suspended.
- Following a resourcing review at the UKSA board, it was now apparent that once the HCIs have been published later in the year it would not be possible for further development work on HCIs to take place given the resource available. Chris then set out a list of topics he was particularly interested in receiving feedback on.
- Although the view wasn’t unanimous, a majority of Panel members fed back that for HCIs, for the time being the preference was to have a two-month lag with more reliable data rather than a one-month lag where data would likely need to be revised on a regular basis. However, it was noted that this decision could be revisited in the future.
- Although the view wasn’t unanimous, a majority of Panel members thought that in the long term HCIs should be published on the Prices theme day. However, in the short term there was agreement that it should be published on an alternative day.
- Although the view wasn’t unanimous, a majority of Panel members thought that publication of the HCIs in September should take precedence over publication of the CPI-H and CPI-consistent subgroups.
- Although the view wasn’t unanimous, a majority of Panel members agreed that publication of CPI-H and CPI-consistent subgroups was a useful interim step, but as they were less useful than HCIs in terms of describing households’ experiences that there was not an ongoing need for them after HCIs begin to be published on a regular basis.
- It was agreed that the all-household aggregate measure should have a reasonable degree of prominence in the publication tables.
- It was agreed that Panel members would e-mail Chris Payne with their thoughts on the level of detail that should be provided in the HCI publication tables.
- It was agreed that Dame Kate would write a letter to the National Statistician to register the Panel’s disappointment that HCIs weren’t going to be developed further. The letter should be copied to Robert Chote and should also explain that the Panel will discuss in July which areas of focus would be most important for continuing development of the HCIs. Finally, the letter should acknowledge that the Panel see only a part of the picture when it comes to the decisions taken by ONS, that the Panel are very supportive of the good work that has been done by ONS and that the Panel are supportive of the decision not to implement groceries scanner data until 2025.
Action: Panel members to provide their thoughts by correspondence to Chris Payne on the level of detail that should be provided in the HCI publication tables.
Action: Dame Kate to write a letter to the National Statistician to express the Panel’s views on HCIs.
4. Update on RPI
- The following discussion has been redacted due to the market sensitive nature of the subject.
5. Annual Report preparation
- David Beckett summarised the timetable set out in the Panel’s Terms of Reference for publishing annual reports and then summarised some of the key points in the draft annual report for 2021 and 2022.
- The Panel fed back that they were happy with the report subject to a couple of minor changes.
6. AOB / Summary
- It was noted that Sofia Poni was leaving the Panel and the Chair thanked her for her work.
- The Chair thanked Panel members for their contributions to today’s meeting and the ONS for their presentations and papers.
The next Panel meeting will take place at 10:30 on 14 July 2023.