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Migration: Statistics

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make it her policy to use data held by local authorities to improve migration statistics. (206840)

I have been asked to reply.

The information falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 22 May 2008:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking whether data held by local authorities will be used to improve migration statistics. (206840)

Over the last 3 years the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has conducted a series of studies with Local Authorities to investigate the possibility of using local data to improve official population and migration estimates. The final report of these studies was published in February 2008. Its recommendations are being taken forward as part of the wider cross government programme of work to improve population and migration statistics, the principle purpose of which is to take forward the recommendations of the 2006 Interdepartmental Task Force on Migration Statistics.

On 4 February 2008, the Minister for Local Government announced to the House that this cross-Government programme would be put in place, driven by senior officials from central Government and the Local Government Association, and led by the National Statistician. The involvement of the Local Government Association will provide Local Authority representation in this extensive work programme and ensure an appropriate focus on the use of local data.

ONS is keen to engage with local authorities throughout the development of the improvements and is holding a workshop jointly with the LGA on 23 May to seek views on the programme.

In addition, ONS discusses the methods and data sources used to produce population statistics with local authority representatives who are members of the population statistics subgroup that exists under the aegis of the Central and Local government Information sharing Partnership liaison arrangements.