describing improvements to the methodology used to measure
output of public services. These improvements stem from work
resulting from the Atkinson Review.
proposed improvements essentially represented incremental
changes to the existing methodology, they would be submitted to
the usual rigorous ONS quality assurance procedures. Those that
passed these procedures would be incorporated into this year's
Blue Book. He undertook to give advance notice, describing these
changes and their effects, well in advance of the Blue Book itself.
These articles meet that commitment.
The first article 'Improvements in the methodology for measuring
[http:www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/article.asp?id=1144] sets out these
changes. They affect Health, Education, Personal Social Services,
Administration of Social Security and Public Order and Safety - Fire
There are significant changes to the measurement of output of
Adult Personal Social Services. Accordingly, the second article
'Improvements to the National Accounts measure of output of adult
[http:www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/article.asp?id=1145] sets out the
methodological changes and their effects, for this item, in more
The improvements include:
-- Health: More comprehensive data including an increase in
the number of treatment categories covered for England,
from 1,732 to 1,929; and inclusion of data from Northern
-- Education: Pupil attendance replacing pupil registration, as
a better measure.
-- Personal Social Services: Includes a wider and more
detailed coverage of output activities for adults.
-- Administration of Social Security: The old measure
represented less than 50 per cent of spending. The new
measure covers over 90 per cent.
-- Public Order and Safety - Fire Services: More detailed data
on the most serious fires.
Len Cook, the National Statistician, said: I am glad to be able to
announce these improvements. They represent significant steps in
the ongoing programme to improve measurement of public sector
output and productivity.'
The changes described in these articles are being applied to the
UK National Accounts annual growth for the years 1996 onwards.
The associated revisions will be incorporated in the Quarterly
National Accounts, published on 30 June 2005, consistent with the
Blue Book 2005 (the full Blue Book data and text will be published
on 22 July 2005). Todays articles deal only with revisions arising
from work stimulated by the Atkinson Review, and should not be
taken to be an estimate of the total revisions for the public sector
that will be included in Blue Book 2005.
Overall, revisions described in the articles do not affect the annual
estimates of GDP growth, rounded to one decimal place.
1. In December 2003, the National Statistician, Len Cook, commissioned an
independent review of the measurement of government output and productivity
from by Sir Tony Atkinson. Sir Tony produced an interim report on 19 July 2004
and his final report on 31 January 2005. This put forward an overall framework for
improving measurement in this area and 54 detailed recommendations. The
National Statistician has given a broad welcome to Sir Tony's proposals.
2. Sir Tony's review stimulated a number of workstreams, both during the review
itself and subsequently. The changes reported in this article stem from this work.
They do not include changes to data for government provided services which will
be in the Blue Book as a result of other ongoing work within ONS.