Select Committee on Treasury Second Report


1. The Treasury Committee established a Sub-committee in 1998 to scrutinise the work of the various bodies for which Treasury Ministers are accountable. The Sub-committee has completed inquiries into the Office for National Statistics (ONS),[2] the Inland Revenue,[3] the Valuation Office Agency,[4] HM Customs and Excise,[5] and the Government's cash and debt management.[6] A report on the work of the Sub-committee since it was established was published as part of a report on the work of the Treasury Committee in December 2000.[7]

2. The proposed new arrangements for National Statistics were one focus of the Sub-committee's inquiry into the Office for National Statistics and their implementation was followed up in sessions of oral evidence with the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and officials of HM Treasury and the ONS on 1 March 2000 and with the Statistics Commission, the National Statistician, and the Minister again on 16 November 2000.[8] Prior to the second evidence session we requested written memoranda from a range of interested parties and we are publishing many of those we received, and the minutes of both oral evidence sessions, with this Report. We identified a number of weaknesses in the management and structure of Government statistics. The Government has responded by introducing changes and innovations which, as far as they go, we support, although we are dissatisfied that the Government has not placed the new arrangements on a statutory footing, something to which we return in the concluding paragraph. We focus below on a small number of key issues which are central to National Statistics and will determine the extent to which the new arrangements are successful.

2   Treasury Committee, First Report, 1998-99, Office for National Statistics, HC43 (hereafter ONS ReportBack

3   Treasury Committee, Sixth Report, 1998-99, Inland Revenue, HC199 Back

4   Treasury Committee, Tenth Report, 1998-99, Valuation Office Agency, HC420 Back

5   Treasury Committee, Second Report, 1999-2000, HM Customs and Excise, HC53 Back

6   Treasury Committee, Sixth Report, 1999-2000, Government's Cash and Debt Management, HC154 Back

7   Treasury Committee, First Report, 2000-01, The Work of the Treasury Committee and Treasury Sub-committee, HC41 Back

8   See paragraph 4 for a definition of National Statistics Back

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