What you need to know

The 2008 System of National Accounts (SNA), is undergoing an international review. The review will directly affect the long-term composition of UK National Account statistics. Here is everything you need to know about the process and what this means for you.

What is the SNA?

The SNA is the internationally agreed standard set of recommendations on how to compile measures of economic activity. The SNA describes a coherent, consistent and integrated set of macroeconomic accounts in the context of internationally agreed concepts, definitions, classifications and accounting rules.

The UK previously adhered to the European System of Accounts (ESA) but, following our exit from the European Union, the UK Statistics Authority is re-negotiating the UK-EU relationship in this space. As a result, the SNA will have an influential role on the development of UK national accounts and will be the best avenue for the UK to inform the direction of forefront concepts and rules.

How did we get here?

It has been over 10 years since the introduction of the current version of the SNA and in this time, there have been rapid developments in technology and changes to the economy.

The process is overseen by the Inter secretariat Working Group on National Accounts (ISWGNA), whose objective is to enhance cooperation among international organisations. Members include:

  • European Commission

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

  • United Nations

  • World Bank

The ISWGNA is supported by the Advisory Expert Group on National Accounts (AEG) which consists 15 national experts, of which the UK (Office for National Statistics (ONS)) is one of them.

During its 51st session, the UN Statistical Commission requested for the ISWGNA to develop a roadmap for the revision of the 2008 SNA for adoption by the commission in 2025. Progress of the update can be read on the UN Towards the 2025 SNA website.

UK government contribution

As a member of the AEG and other thematic task teams, and on behalf of the UK Statistical System, the ONS is contributing to the global consultations under the SNA Update. Upcoming issues and consultations can be viewed on the UN Towards the 2025 SNA website.

Contributing to the consultation

If you would like to discuss any of these consultations with the ONS, please contact us at sna.consultations@ons.gov.uk.

Bodies outside the UK National Statistical System are also free to respond to the consultations themselves. This can be done by visiting the UN Consultation page where consultations and their accompanying documents are listed.