Select Committee on Treasury Minutes of Evidence

Letter from Chief Statistician, Office for National Statistics to the Clerk of the Treasury Committee


  Following on from the launch of the UK Centre for the Measurement of Government Activity (UKCeMGA) in July of this year, I would like to draw your attention to a forthcoming release from the Centre. On Monday 31 October at 9.30 am, UKCeMGA will be publishing its first Education Public Service Productivity article—this is the second in the series following on from the Health Productivity article published in October 2004 and marks the resumption of the Public Service Productivity Series.

  The article has been subjected to independent review by a Quality Assurance Panel under arrangements with which boil the UKCeMGA Advisory Board and I are content.

  In addition, a second Health Productivity article is planned for early next year which will be followed by further articles on the other functional areas that were explicitly considered in Sir Tony Atkinson's Review.

  You will be aware that my predecessor, Len Cook, gave a public undertaking as to how he would deal with proposals for methodological changes to the treatment of public output in the National Accounts that involved significant change from existing methodology. In particular, he noted that it was his intention to submit such proposals to ONS's internal quality assurance procedures only after there had been an opportunity for external debate and it had been possible to assess the outcome of that debate. I propose to continue with this undertaking. To help facilitate such debate in the relevant areas, UKCeMGA is organising with the relevant sponsoring public service departments a series of consultation seminars to discuss public service productivity development work with experts in the field—analysts and practitioners. The aim of these seminars is to ensure that this work is made available for as wide a consultation as is possible.

  Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to note that the first meeting, of UKCeMGA Advisory Board took place in September. Should you wish to know more about the discussion that took place at the meeting, the papers and minutes are published on the UKCeMGA webpage, as they will be for all future meetings.

  I am also writing to the Clerk if the Education and Skills Committee.

26 October 2005

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