1. 1300 – 13:05 (5 Mins) – Introduction – Sir Bernard Silverman
  2. 13:05 – 14:05 (60 Mins) – EAP162 – 2023 progress update – Becky Tinsley
  3. 14:10 – 15:10 (60 Mins) – EAP161 – Residual Bias Adjustment – Steve Smallwood
  4. 15:30 – 15:45 (15 Mins) – Actions Update – Rob Turner
  5. 15:50– 16:05 (15 Mins) – Census Update – Jon Wroth-Smith
  6. 16:05 – 16:30 (25 Mins) – Any other business – Sir Bernard Silverman

Panel Members

  • Sir Bernard Silverman (Chair)
  • Dr Oliver Duke-Williams
  • Dr Nik Lomax
  • Prof David Martin
  • Prof Natalie Shlomo

Office for National Statistics

  • Rachel Skentelbery (ONS Lead)
  • Owen Abbott (ONS Deputy Lead)
  • Cal Ghee (ONS Attendee)
  • Gareth Powell (ONS Attendee)
  • Jon Wroth-Smith (ONS Attendee & Presenter)
  • Larry Bartleet (Presenter)
  • Louisa Blackwell (Presenter)
  • Beck Keane (Presenter)
  • Caroline Graham (Presenter)
  • Andrew Phelps (Presenter)
  • Sabrina Rowlatt (Presenter)
  • Steve Smallwood (Presenter)
  • Becky Tinsley (Presenter)
  • Rob Turner (Secretariat)

1 – Introduction

  1. The chair welcomed attendees to the session

2 – EAP162 – 2023 progress update

  1. ONS presented on current work towards the 2023 recommendation on the future of the population, migration, and social statistics system, including on the future of the census.
  2. The panel discussed the importance of understanding the quality and metadata of administrative data sources.  They raised a concern that, as administrative data sources are not specifically produced with ONS use in mind, there is a potential for issues should data suppliers wish to change their collection and methods. ONS responded that conversations are taking place between ONS acquisition teams and data suppliers to reduce the likelihood of this happening by accident and impress upon suppliers, especially other government organisations, the societal benefit that is gained from the continuing use of the data in this way. ONS further explained that work is underway to develop contingencies in the event that key data becomes unavailable in the future. The panel suggested this could also be mitigated by highlighting the financial cost of removing information from admin data, and potentially contributing to data suppliers to keep this inclusion economical.
  3. The harmonisation of definitions across administrative data sources was discussed. ONS clarified that  there is a unit within ONS looking at harmonisation of key variables. The panel suggested that the unharmonised data might itself be a useful way to quantify the scale of inconsistencies between data sources.
  4. The panel was interested in research into public perception of further linkage of administrative sources. ONS responded that they have carried out focus groups which indicate that these proposals are supported by the public and may conduct further focus groups to look at specific topics.
  5. The panel expressed that they thought the objectives were optimistic, and that substantial work is still needed.
  6. The panel discussed the implications of the change to the sex question guidance for the 2021 Census on the 2023 recommendation, and asked ONS to report back to the panel on how, methodologically, we will deal with differences in definition of variables within sources.
  7. The panel was grateful to be provided with a timeline for updates intended to be provided by ONS and agreed that it would be useful to repeat this progress report on the project as a whole.

Action 81 – ONS to brief panel on how, methodologically, we will deal with differences in definition of variables e.g. sex/gender within data sources.

Action 82 – ONS to bring follow-up progress reports to panel on an annual basis

3 – EAP161 – Residual Bias Adjustment

  1. ONS presented on work for the Residual Bias Adjustment and discussed with the panel the possibility of using alternative administrative data sources to determine sex ratios. The panel agreed with ONS that the Longitudinal Study (LS) is the highest quality source of data currently available to use for this purpose, and suggested improvements to the LS through the linkage to additional administrative data.

Action 83 – ONS to investigate the potential for further linkage to the Longitudinal Study.

4 – Actions Update

  1. The panel agreed to close action 75 following the submission of EAP160.
  2. The panel agreed to close action 80 following discussions with ONS on the recruitment of an additional panel member.

5 – Census Update

  1. ONS provided an update on Census operations.

6 – Any other business

  1. The panel clarified that any comments on EAP160 (provided by correspondence) would be given to ONS within the week following the meeting.
  2. The panel briefly discussed the recruitment of a new member.