Second Further supplementary memorandum
from Mr Philip Redfern
I have read the oral evidence to the Sub-committee
and believe that an important point has been missed in the discussion.
The effective use of administrative data to improve population
statistics hinges on the data's accuracy, and therefore depends
on the existence of a population register which is uniquely capable
of improving data accuracy. Let me spell this out.
Witnesses who appeared before the Sub-committee
have urged ONS to explore the better use of administrative data.
But these data will yield reliable population statistics only
if they are accurate and up to date (qualities demanded by data
protection legislation). Witnesses failed to articulate the necessary
condition for a step change in data quality: namely, the discipline
and inter-agency coordination that a population register would
bring to citizens, public agencies and the Statistics Board. Without
the coordination provided by such a register, money and effort
devoted to the use of administrative data will achieve little.
4 March 2008