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Paper 28th August 2002 - BESAC(02)05

BESAC(02)05 - DISSEMINATION OF HOUSING STATISTICS: PROPOSED SUBGROUP

Introduction

1. The purpose of this paper is to propose that a subgroup be set up to review the way in which housing statistics are disseminated to users. Members of BESAC are invited to comment on the suggested remit and membership of the proposed subgroup.

Background

2. The main vehicle for the dissemination of Scottish Executive Housing Statistics has for some time, been the Statistical Bulletin. The SE currently produces a quarterly Bulletin on Housing Trends, an annual Bulletin on Homelessness, an annual Bulletin on Local Authority Housing Income and Expenditure and a biennial Bulletin on Household Projections. These Bulletins are all made available on the Web, in pdf and html format. However, there is a lot more that could be done to make information more accessible to users.

3. Although there is a wealth of information in the Statistical Bulletins and they are all now on the Web, it can still prove difficult for users to get at the information they require. For example if users require information on a different time base - e.g. financial rather than calendar, they would need to trawl back through various Bulletins to add quarterly data in a different way. Also not all statistics are published each quarter and users can never be sure of which Bulletin to turn to in order to find what they need. No doubt there are many more limitations of the current system.

4. A housing stats website is being set up (and is almost finalised), which pulls together in one place all of the Bulletins which have been published by the Housing Stats Branch in recent years. This website will include EXCEL versions of all tables in the publications (aswell as the HTML and PDF versions of the Bulletin). In addition this website will have information about all the housing statistics published by the Housing Stats branch, including blank data collections forms and notes for completion. The web address will be emailed to members as soon as the site is live - expected before the end of August. Once more datasets are on the Web, a link will be provided to them from this website.

Proposed Subgroup

5. The suggested remit of the group is given at Annex 1. Although it is proposed that the groups work is limited to statistics produced by the SE, in time this could be broadened to include information being gathered by Communities Scotland about RSLs if this was considered appropriate.

6. The suggested membership - in broad terms - is outlined in Annex 2. If content with the proposed organisations/groups to be involved, BESAC members are invited to suggest specific individuals to invite onto the subgroup.

Homelessness and RTB Sales

7. The proposed future publication strategy for homelessness statistics (see Annex 3 to paper BESAC(02)8 ) is to have regularly updated information on the web (aswell as six monthly and annual hard copy publications). The homelessness statistics user group will work through the detail of this, but will take advice from this dissemination subgroup where appropriate. The proposal is that information on homelessness should be made available on the Web in a way which would allow users to extract exactly what tables they want. An example of this would be to allow users to be be able to chose whether the analysis is on the basis of applications received in the chosen period or applications assessed in the period.

8. The working group on RTB sales may also be considering the dissemination of this information, and if so will again take advice from this group.

Summary

9. BESAC members are asked to comment on the proposal to set up a subgroup to review the way in which housing statistics are disseminated to users, and to comment on the proposed remit and membership.

Scottish Executive: August 2002

Proposed Remit

Review the way in which SE generated statistics on housing are disseminated to users, and provide advice on suggested changes (advising also on priorities for change where necessary).

In carrying out its work the group should:

  • Take account of the views of as many users as possible
  • Consider what information should be made available regularly on the Web, and in what format it should take and how often it should be updated
  • Consider the need for regular paper publications (e.g. Bulletins), and where there is a need, what is the most appropriate format and frequency.
  • Consider the need for adhoc dissemination of statistics - and how this should be carried out.

In carrying out its work the group will need to bear in mind the National Statistics Code of Practice on Dissemination and the standards for release of data on the SE website.

The subgroup will report to BESAC, the Homelessness Statistics User Group (see paper 8) and the RTB Sales Working Group (see paper 3).

Proposed Membership

SE Housing Stats - Deborah Pegg, Stevan Croasdale, Craig Sclater

Communities Scotland - Registration and Inspection, Christine Dugan, Others??

Local Authority User Reps

?? Housing Best Value Network - R&D Co-ordinator, Angela Currie

Cosla Rep

SE Housing Policy

SE Housing Economics

SE Housing Research

Academic User