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Statement of administrative sources

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A link to the Statement of Administrative Sources can be found here (95 Kb Excel sheet) .


Official statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are based on two main sources – data gathered from statistical surveys, including the Census, and data extracted from other organisations’ administrative or management systems.  These administrative and management data will have been initially collected for purposes such as operational monitoring and analysis, policy development, analysis of the effect of policy changes, forecasting, resource allocation, answering Parliamentary Questions and Freedom of Information requests.

By using data which are already available within administrative or management systems, rather than collecting data afresh, we are able to limit the overall burden placed on data providers, and also avoid the costs of mounting dedicated data collection exercises. In addition, the information we extract from such systems often has the advantage of being more timely than statistical data and, when compared with data from surveys (and particularly sample surveys), can also deliver data with a greater breadth of coverage.

The UK Statistics Authority actively encourages public bodies to exploit administrative and management sources for statistical purposes. However the Authority recognises that the statistical advantages of such arrangements can only be fully realised if statisticians have appropriate access to such systems; if statistical purposes are reflected in the design, management, and development of such systems; and if adequate safeguards are put in place to ensure the professional integrity of any official statistics derived from them.

The Authority‘s main requirements are set out in the third Protocol attached to their Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Amongst other things, this Protocol requires all producers of official statistics to publish, in consultation with the National Statistician, a ‘Statement of Administrative Sources’ which lists:

  • the administrative systems they currently use to produce official statistics;

  • information about other administrative sources that are not currently used for statistical purposes but which have the potential to be so used;

  • the arrangements they have put in place to provide statistical staff with appropriate access to such sources; to take account of changes to such systems; to audit the quality of the administrative data used for statistical purposes; and to ensure the security of the resultant statistical processes.

This document, in conjunction with the spreadsheet detailing the Office for National Statistics’ statistical usage of other organisations’ administrative or management sources, forms the Office for National Statistics’ ‘Statement of Administrative Sources’.

1. Statistical usage of our own administrative or management sources

The only management information owned by the Office for National Statistics that feeds into statistical products is the personnel information held on the Atlas System.  The main administrative purpose of this system is to hold Office for National Statistics information on Financials, HR (including the field force), procurement and expenses.

Various feeds of information go into Atlas; these include:

  • Payroll

  • Field Information Management System (FIMS) and

  • Cost & Time System (CATS)

Reports from this system include

  • COINS return to Treasury (Financial) - monthly

  • Cabinet Office sick return - quarterly

  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Public Sector Benchmarking - annual

  • Treasury Benchmarking of back office functions - annual

  • Quarterly Public Sector Employment (QPSE) - quarterly

  • Senior Civil Service (SCS) survey - biannual

  • Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (ACSES) – annual

2. Statistical usage data used to produce Official Statistics

The Statement of Administrative Sources is produced twice a year by ONS and therefore can be seen as a living document and will evolve accordingly.
The below link to the Excel spreadsheet provides details of the various datasets used by ONS to produce Official Statistics including:

  • The Dataset title

  • Details of the external supplier

  • The Geographic Coverage the dataset applies

  • The Statistical Products that is used for

3. Other administrative sources with the potential to be used for statistical purposes

The Office for National Statistics acknowledges that the list below is not comprehensive.  There is a wide range of administrative and management information that could be used to produce official statistics.  Those listed below are the sources that the Office is currently actively pursuing access to.

Name/Title of Data Source Name of  Organisation responsible for this system/ source Purpose of access ONS contact
ONS Acquisition of Integrated Data – OAID

Department for Works and Pensions (DWP)


Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

Access to income and benefits data held for the United Kingdom by HMRC and DWP are essential if the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is to meet demands for an improved population statistics and an alternative to the census. Access to record level information will enable ONS to meet users’ requirements for population and demographic statistics as well as satisfy commitments set out in the recent recommendation on ‘The census and future provision of population statistics in England and Wales’.  In particular, the availability of such data would enhance our analytical capacity, improve existing processing arrangements and provide a better basis for understanding the working age population, benefit claimants, and the labour market.

Tammy-Jo Johnson
01329 444107

Valuation Office Agency-VOA

Valuation Office Agency The Census Transformation Programmes (CTP) and the Social Survey Division (SSD) would like to acquire VOA data to quality check the following: the Address Register, SPDs and social surveys. The data may also be able to replace Census questions and social survey questions depending on quality.

Tammy-Jo Johnson
01329 444107


Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)

 Census Transformation Programme (CTP) have indicated an interest in access to DVLA/DVSA data for activity data and characteristics for admin-data based population estimates.

Access to the data could potentially lead to three main uses/benefits for Census:

Some of the data could directly replace Census questions, which would reduce the cost to ONS and burden on the respondents.
It could help to reduce the cost of follow ups by minimising the amount that are sent to non-residential or business addresses. This would ultimately help to determine whether post or internet follow up would suit the respondent better.
It could greatly improve the quality of the SPDs and the Address Register.
The above points will not only benefit CTP but the wider ONS and external government departments.

There are also likely to be other requirements across the office e.g. Population Statistics, Public Policy Division and Social Surveys.

Michelle Bowen
01329 444115

Corporation Tax

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

Identification of corporate tax risk, direct business tax policy analysis and evaluation.

Michelle Bowen
01329 444115

Real Time Information RTI

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

Provides timely earnings information on employees to allow DWP to assess Universal Credit claims.

Michelle Bowen
01329 444115

4. Information about the Office for National Statistics’ management and handling of administrative or management sources

Arrangements for providing statistical staff (whether inside or outside the organisation) with access to administrative or management sources for statistical purposes

Apart from internal management information ONS only holds administrative information for statistical purposes.  Within ONS access to administrative information is controlled by the relevant Information Asset Owner.  The control is implemented through controlled login to the system holding the data. Further controls are in place to protect data, including physical access controls.  The level of these controls will differ depending on the sensitivity of the data involved.

Outside ONS access to administrative information is regulated by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.  Access is granted to individual researchers and projects under a Data Access Agreement which specifies the terms and conditions under which the information can be processed.  Such access is managed by the Microdata Release Panel within ONS.

Access to Administrative information that is received as a result of Information Sharing Orders (gained under s.47 of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007) is restricted to only those allowed access by the regulation.

Arrangements for auditing the quality of the original source data

Where administrative information is already held by ONS for statistical use, the quality of the source data is reassessed as part of the regular reviews of the wider statistical system that it is a part of.

New data shares quality is tested early in the process of gaining access.  It is assessed by our own staff to ensure it is of sufficient quality for the intended statistical outputs as part of the feasibility study before a formal request is submitted for the information to be made available to ONS.

Procedures for handling changes, and possible discontinuities, in the underlying source data Where possible time series are recalculated to allow a period of comparison if there is a change or discontinuity in the underlying source data.  Such events are always described in any metadata made available with the data and are highlighted and described in any publication of the statistics.
Procedures for ensuring the security of the statistical processes which use administrative or management sources The ONS operates within a strong legal framework that provides safeguards for privacy.  This is provided by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, the Statistics of Trade Act 1947, the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998. 

The ONS complies with the requirements identified by the Data Handling Review and the mandatory requirements stated in the Security Policy Framework. 

ONS also ensures that it has up to date and tested Business Continuity Plans in place to guard against the results of unforeseen threats to its statistical processes.

ONS regularly reviews the risks associated with its statistical processes to ensure appropriate mitigations are in place.

Contact Details

For further information and queries contact the:

Data Sharing and Supplier Management (DSSM)
Office for National Statistics
PO15 5RR

Telephone: 01329 444107


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© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.