The aim of the Pension Statistics Task Force (PSTF) is to help re-build confidence in existing pensions statistics by implementing a future work programme that will lead to a statistical product that more fully meets the current requirements of pension policy users.
The PSTF is an interdepartmental body whose membership is drawn from the Inland Revenue, Department for Work and Pensions and the Office for National Statistics, with close support at working level from the Treasury.
An Advisory Group, drawn from HMT, IR, DWP, GAD, ONS, Pensions Commission, OPRA, FSA, Pensions Institute, IFS, ABI and NAPF, has been set up to provide advice and quality assurance of the PSTF work programme.
This paper was prepared before the publication of the Pensions Commission report. PSTF will be taking into account recommendations in that report as well as views of the Advisory Group in developing and prioritising the work programme.
1. Revised estimates of pension contributions and other economic statistics
The article, 'Private Pensions and the National Accounts' (published first in June 2004), set out revised estimates of pension contributions, drawing attention to problems with the wider NA treatment of pensions and looking to the possible impact on GDP and other key economic statistics.
The PSTF will continue to monitor the results of the changes to MQ5 surveys and assess the need for further development.
2. Production of four analytical reports
Four work packages are planned, looking at stories, data issues and gaps, leading to analytical articles covering:
Demography and the labour market;
Government and macro-economic issues
3. Development, production and publication of Pension Trends
Pension Trends will be a new flagship publication that will draw on the best available sources to illustrate the economic and social issues surrounding pensions for a wider audience. This will be published in September 2005.
4. Guide to presentation of pension statistics
A web based guide to pension statistics is now live on the National Statistics website. This will be developed further as the quality and range of pension statistics improves.
The PSTF will be monitoring the development of pension statistics and considering ways of improving their presentation by developing a framework.
5. Securing improvements to data
This work builds on the initiatives begun under the Pensions Statistics Review Committee. It will include addressing issues identified in the PSTF work programme.
PSTF was originally envisaged as lasting about a year; some initiatives, particularly on data, may take longer.
The PSTF will also look to establish a permanent mechanism for maintaining expertise on pensions within government, particularly ONS, to ensure statistics remain accurate and relevant. This may involve a continuing role for advisory group.