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British Crime Survey

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there are plans to transfer responsibility for the British Crime Survey to the Office for National Statistics, as recommended by the Statistics Commission. (193578)

There are currently no plans to transfer responsibility for the British Crime Survey to the Office for National Statistics.

The Statistics Commission recommendation was part of a package of proposals to increase public trust in Home Office crime statistics and address any perception that there was a lack of independence in their production. The same issues were considered by the independent Smith review which included cross-party nominees. The Smith review concluded the Home Office should retain responsibility for the survey but recommended some changes to the governance of crime statistics.

Since the recommendation by the Statistics Commission was made, more fundamental changes to the governance of official statistics are taking place. The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, which comes into effect on 1 April 2008, provides a new statutory framework to ensure the independence of National Statistics of which the British Crime Survey is a part.

To further strengthen these arrangements, on the same date within the Home Office, responsibility for the production of statistics from the British Crime Survey and other statistics will transfer to the Chief Statistician who has direct professional accountability to the National Statistician for the political independence of such statistics.