Office for National Statistics

HM Treasury written question – answered on 12th September 2017.

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Photo of Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the issuing of a provisional ruling by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) as set out in section 6 paragraph 49 of the ONS Classification Process Guidelines, January 2016, requires all relevant documentation to be in near-final form and for a decision in principle in favour of Government support to have been made.

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

The guidance referenced is now archived and the most relevant guidance is “UK economic statistics sector and transaction classifications: the classification process” on the Office for National Statistics website https://www.ons.gov.uk/methodology/classificationsandstandards/economicstatisticsclassifications/ukeconomicstatisticssectorandtransactionclassificationstheclassificationprocess Section 6 of the paper - Government Policy Proposals states – “Most policy proposals are in a near-final form when presented to ONS and will include all the relevant details to enable ONS to make a judgement. Any classification decision based on a near-final policy proposal will be deemed as “provisional” and dependent on the proposal being implemented as described. If the circumstances change, it is the responsibility of the proposing department to inform ONS via the HM Treasury Public Expenditure Classification Branch.

However, on rare occasions, government departments might seek a view on a proposal at an early stage of development. In such cases, ONS will provide provisional advice on the expected classification of the proposal, based on information available at the time. This is subject to the qualification that a final decision will not be reached until such a time as the policy is implemented. In the interim, ONS will only consider alternative versions of the same proposal exceptionally and if substantial and significant changes have been made. Any explanatory article published on the final policy proposal will note how many versions of the proposal ONS considered. Final classification decisions will be published when the policy has been announced or implemented by the government.”

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