UK's data office keen on quality, considers Charlie Bean's suggestions

March 17
8:31 PM 2016

The UK government and Office for National Statistics (ONS) turned keen on improving data quality, taking its central bank Governor Charlie Bean's suggestions into consideration on enhancing statistics. ONS has earmarked GBP 17 million ($24 million) investment for creating new centers of excellence. 

The Office for National Statistics has decided to set up a new campus for Data Science at its headquarters in Newport, Wales. In addition to this, ONS will also create an Economics Center of Excellence in London. ONS will be investing GBP 17 million ($24 million) to develop these facilities.

Bloomberg reports that the British government and ONS are acting upon suggestions from Charlie Bean, Governor, Bank of England (BoE) on enhancing data quality and greater regulatory scrutiny to the statistics office. An independent Regulation and Evaluation Office will monitor the accountability, accuracy and quality of statistics from Office for National Statistics. 

Osborne said in a statement "Funding announced at budget will help ensure UK statistics are fit for the future. These ambitious plans will help the ONS rise to the challenge of an increasingly technological economy and make sure the UK is a global leader. 

Professor Sir Charles Bean commenced working on UK economic statistics on 5th of August 2015 and submitted his report to the UK government. The British government recently announced Bean's review on enhancing quality of data where he suggested UK government to establish UK Statistics Authority. It will take care of future challenges in measurement and production of economic statistics, according to GOV.UK, government's official website.

The economic data affects all walks of life as it influences policy decisions of government and Bank of England while key economic data will affect decisions on pay and pension increase, farming investment and corporate decisions as well.

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his budget speech, said that Treasury would accept Charlie Bean's suggestions. Charlie Bean has presented a government-commissioned report on economic statistics. His suggestions include setting up two new centers. 

Office for National Statistics defines accuracy as it's the difference between an estimated value and the true value. Another definition for timeliness states that it's the time between the data of publication and date to which the data refers. Clarity indicates quality and sufficiency of metadata, illustrations and accompanying advice.

Bean has also recommended to the British government on how to better use administrative data. Bean said it was important to measure contribution of digital activity to the economy. Greater regulatory scrutiny on Office for National Statistics will also help enhancing quality of data. 

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