Statistics policy

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on statistics policy. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

10.03.2015Understanding statistics on employment, unemployment and earnings
This note explains the meaning of different concepts within labour market statistics and identifies the key measures and sources to use.
15.10.2014Chart format guide
This guide and sets out some best practice principles for statistical charts and conventions used by the statistics section of the House of Commons Library
01.03.2013Social Indicators
A compendium of the latest social statistics. This edition includes articles on: Why has crime fallen around the world?; International Year of Statistics.
01.03.2013International Year of Statistics: Social Indicators article
A brief article on Statistics2013 - the International Year of Statistics. This is an article in the March 2013 edition of the Social Indicators research paper.
27.04.2012Measuring well-being
How is measurement of well-being or "happiness" being investigated in the UK to complement more traditional measures of progress?
11.08.2010Unemployment by Constituency: changes to working-age rates
From August 2010, the ONS has switched from using the 'working-age' population to using the whole population aged 16 to 64 as the basis upon which a variety of headline labour market statistical indicators are presented. This note provides details on the change and looks at its effect on the Library's JSA claimant rate.
29.07.2010How to spot spin and inappropriate use of statistics
Statistics can be misused, spun or used inappropriately in many different ways. This is not always done consciously or intentionally and the resulting facts or analysis are not necessarily wrong. They may, however, present a partial or overly simplistic picture. This guide details some common ways in which statistics are used inappropriately or spun and some tips to help spot this. The tips are given in detail at the end, but the three essential questions to ask yourself when looking at statistics are -Compared to what? -Since when? -Says who?
11.01.2010How to understand and calculate percentages
08.12.2009The UK system of official statistics
03.12.2009Indicators of hospital performance published by the Care Quality Commission and Dr. Foster Research
This note examines measures of hospital standards and patient safety published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Dr. Foster Research Limited and critically appraises the methodology underpinning their assessments. Concerns have been raised about the lack of consistency between the CQC and Dr. Foster ratings; in the final section, a comparison is made between the two, and some explanations for the discrepancies are offered.


30.03.2015Measuring Living Standards
This POSTnote outlines different approaches to setting and measuring thresholds and their strengths and limitations. It also summarises research on recent trends in living standards and the key factors that influence them.
17.09.2012Measuring National Wellbeing
This POSTnote summarises the latest research on measuring national wellbeing, its components and causes, and examines some policy implications.

Early Day Motions

That this House is concerned that 95 per cent. of Institute of Fiscal Studies 5.1 million funding comes from so-called research grant contracts, details of which are not itemised in ...
That this House recognises the importance of the appropriate use of statistics in policy-making and in public discourse; further recognises that parliamentarians and other policymakers ...
That this House notes the two official measures of inflation, the Retail Prices Index and Consumer Prices Index, and the disparity in figures between the two measures; further notes ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses