30 May 2008
The UK Statistics Authority has pledged urgent action in response to MPs' calls for improvements in migration and population data.
Responding to the Commons Treasury sub-committee's damning report, Counting the population, published on May 23, authority chair Sir Michael Scholar said: 'We will be seeking to ensure that the Office for National Statistics, together with several government departments, achieves rapid progress in improving statistics.'
The authority, which regulates the ONS, came into existence last month. It was set up to give government statistics greater independence from ministers.
Scholar said ONS head Karen Dunnell, the national statistician, was already leading a cross-government programme to improve migration estimates. But he said the authority recognised concerns about the time it took to make substantive improvements. It was also concerned about whether enough was being done to provide the ONS with the raw data needed to produce reliable estimates.