To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many times the Office for National Statistics met the local authorities participating in the Improving Migration and Population Statistics project; what the outcome was of those meetings; and when he expects the project to be completed.
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.
Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated
As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning the participation of local authorities in the Improving Migration and Population Statistics (IMPS) project. (67408)
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is currently working in partnership with four Local Authorities (LAs) to investigate whether there are local data sources that could be used to assist the compilation of the nationally produced population estimates. The four LAs are Barnet, Derby, Hammersmith & Fulham and Welwyn Hatfield. These authorities were selected from four groupings of LAs which each scored highly on different characteristics associated with difficulties in estimating population accurately.
Initial meetings were held with the four selected LAs in December 2005 and January 2006. At these meetings each of the LAs agreed to work with ONS to gain a better understanding of how they use the population estimates, what other local information and data sources they use, what particular issues affect population estimates within their LA and what methods and local data sources they use to overcome these issues.
A further round of meetings is currently under way to review progress and a final round of meetings will be held at the end of the studies in summer 2006. ONS will review the findings to see if any improvements can be applied to the mid-year population estimates processes or quality assurance procedures, either for all LAs or for groups of LAs. ONS will publish the outcome of the studies and evaluate their success, including a review of the criteria and approach for selecting LAs.
ONS has been reporting progress to LAs more generally, and providing them with the opportunity to feed into the IMPS project, primarily through meetings of the Central and Local Government Information Partnership (CLIP).