The statistics board—known as the UK Statistics Authority—has sought a repayable cash advance from the contingencies fund of £33,000,000. The cash advance is required to support additional resource expenditure including the census data collection transformation programme (CDCTP) throughout 2019-20. The need for additional funding for 2019-20 is particularly due to revisions to the timing of the programme budget as set out in the programme full business case as approved at a Treasury approval point in July 2019. The revisions were identified as the financial modelling matured from the previous outline business case. The overall multi-year programme budget has not increased.
As a non-ministerial department, the authority has its own principal accounting officer and is responsible for its own estimates, separate to the Cabinet Office.
However, a written ministerial statement is required to give Parliament notice of the authority’s intention to seek an advance from the contingencies fund, and can only be made by a Minister.
These funds will be included in the supplementary estimates that will be published in February. The funds will only be released once the Supply and Appropriation Bill receives Royal Assent which is scheduled for March 2020. This is a standard process, available to all Departments if the required criteria are met and regularly used to allow cash to be drawn down prior to Royal Assent of the Supply and Appropriation Bill.
Parliamentary approval for additional £29,462,000 resource, £601,000 capital and £2,937,000 cash will be sought in a supplementary estimate for the statistics board. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £33,000,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the contingencies fund.