1. Subnational statistics and analysis

"Local insight for everyone" is the vision for the Subnational Statistics and Analysis (SSA) division at the Office for National Statistics (ONS). We aim to improve the availability, access and range of statistics and analysis that provide insights at subnational levels of geography.

SSA work together with the ONS Local and Coherence division to take forward the ambitions set out in the Government Statistical Service (GSS) subnational data strategy. These are:

  • produce more timely, granular and harmonised subnational statistics

  • build capability and capacity for subnational statistics and analysis

  • improve the dissemination of subnational statistics

The SSA division delivers across the strategy's ambitions in different ways:

  • developing new insights, analysis and levels of geography that are meaningful to people (for example, towns and high streets)

  • developing more timely and granular subnational statistics (making these UK-wide wherever possible)

  • delivering state of the art data visualisation tools and changing the way local users navigate the ONS website to easily be able to find, visualise, compare and download the data they need

  • building capability across government through the use of shared platforms, advice on issues such as metric selection, and approaches to handling geography in analysis

The sections below set out what we do and how to contact us. We also publish a detailed workplan of ONS' current and future work related to subnational statistics and analysis.

Centre for Subnational Analysis

The ONS Centre for Subnational Analysis is responsible for developing new and innovative analysis by subnational geographies across a range of policy relevant topics. These provide different insights into local and locally targeted national policy issues.

Our geographies of interest include built-up areas (towns and cities), urban rural classifications, travel to work areas, retail geographies and International Territorial Levels (ITLs). Examples of subnational analysis include releases on the night-time economy,  productivity, educational attainment and the understanding towns series of articles.

Collaborating internally and externally is important to achieve this. We work closely with the ONS Geospatial team to help develop new, improved iterations of subnational geographies. Externally we work on projects with other government departments, devolved administrations, and city and regional stakeholders as well as internationally with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Developing subnational statistics

To support the levelling up policy decisions and evaluation we also have a development team whose aim is to improve the availability and quality of subnational statistics across the ONS and GSS.

We look to identify and address gaps in the evidence base for levelling up under a range of social and economic metrics. For housing, we provide insight into housing issues in the UK, from national to small area level, working with a range of stakeholders to meet demand for additional and improved statistics using multiple data sources. We also develop granular economic statistics where possible, allowing economic insight at small area levels such as our work on gross value added (GVA) and regional estimates of publicly funded research and development.

Other functions of the development team include:

  • monitoring and evaluating the delivery of the levelling-up work to our stakeholders, aiming to continually improve the ONS subnational and local services

  • ensuring analysis is reproducible at lower levels of geography by embedding coding good practice and maximising the benefits of reproducible analytical pipelines

Subnational data and dissemination

The GSS subnational data strategy provides a framework to guide the GSS in producing and disseminating subnational statistics in a more timely, granular and harmonised way.

To meet the strategy's vision, we are transforming the way in which we produce and visualise our statistics, making local data more accessible to a wide range of users. Working alongside analysts across government, our aim is to develop a full suite of subnational dashboards and data assets that will support decision making and analysis in a coherent and consistent way.

Working closely with our Digital Publishing colleagues, we are developing Explore Subnational Statistics (ESS), a public-facing digital dissemination service to find out more about local areas across the UK, allowing users to find, visualise, compare and download subnational statistics in one place. In February 2022 we launched ESS Alpha prototype - the subnational indicators explorer - with ESS Beta in development.

We support the use of subnational data, ensuring priority datasets are available for projects on analytical platforms, such as the Integrated Data Service. We have also published analysis to inform local users how they could identify similar local authorities using clustering methods.

How to contact us

For any questions or feedback relating to subnational data and statistics, please contact us at subnational@ons.gov.uk.

Back to table of contents

2. ONS Local

The ONS Local service was established by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in spring 2023 to work alongside the Subnational Statistics and Analysis (SSA) division. It is an analytical advisory service for local leaders with dedicated analysts based across the UK. We ensure that local leaders have access to data, statistics and analysis, to support evidence-based decision-making across local government. 

Find out more about the ONS Local service offering.

How to contact us

If you have any questions or would like to collaborate on a regional project, then contact us at ons.local@ons.gov.uk or reach out directly to our regional leads.

Back to table of contents

3. Coherence of UK statistics

The ONS Coherence team is working with analysts from across government to improve the coherence of UK statistics.

Statistical coherence is a cross-cutting theme from the Code of Practice for Statistics. This is about bringing together outputs on the same topic to better explain the part of the world they describe. The ONS Coherence team works on projects that aim to improve the coherence of UK statistics. This can be across the four countries of the UK where policy making has been devolved (such as housing) or where multiple producers are publishing statistics on the same topic (such as income and earnings).

We work closely with analysts from across the Government Statistical Service (GSS) to support understanding of the different statistical outputs that are produced about the populations of the UK and create new UK-wide data in high-priority areas of shared interest across UK administrations. We also provide advice to those who are improving coherence, including connecting people with the relevant stakeholders in the devolved administrations.

Find out more about Statistics across the UK.

A summary of our current priorities are published within the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Coherence Workplan.

How to contact us

If you have any questions or want to get in touch with the Coherence team, please email gss.coherence@ons.gov.uk.

Back to table of contents