1. Introduction

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has a programme of research and development aimed at improving and maintaining the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) and CPIH (a measure of consumer price inflation including owner occupiers’ housing costs) – ensuring that they continue to meet user needs, make use of new and innovative methods and are compliant with EU regulations (the CPI is governed by European legislation, but, where appropriate, compliance changes will also be considered for implementation into CPIH).

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) is also a measure of consumer price inflation. However, the RPI uses a formula which does not meet international best practice and as a result its designation as a National Statistic was cancelled in 2013. The RPI will continue to be maintained through routine changes, but methodological improvements will only be made if, to not do so, would inhibit the improvement of CPI and CPIH. From 2017, we will only publish RPI-related data which is essential to the needs of users.

The CPI and CPIH work programme feeds into the higher ONS business plan (National Accounts and Economic Statistics (NAES) directorate, Economic Transformation, “Better statistics better decisions”. We have allocated appropriate resources.

The aim of this development plan is to provide you with information on the plans in place for CPI and for making CPIH the main measure of inflation, how this work feeds into the ONS business plan and to show that appropriate resources have been allocated to this plan and that we are aware of the potential risks.

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2. Business plan

The strategy for UK statistics “Better statistics, better decisions” sets the collective mission for the official statistics system as “high quality statistics, analysis and advice to help Britain make better decisions”. This strategy is reflected in the directorate business plan for National Accounts and Economic Statistics (NAES), which sets out how the directorate will contribute to fulfilling the strategy for UK statistics. The purpose of the Prices business plan is to set a local vision and set of objectives that aligns the work programme of prices with that of the NAES directorate and UK statistics.

The vision for prices aims to align the work programme with the wider vision for NAES and ONS, reflecting the need to continually improve what we do and to make the shift towards the transformation, both in our systems and people, needed in the delivery of inflation statistics. The vision for Prices division is therefore:

Delivering. Improving. Transforming

Delivering: Quality and relevant price statistics that are produced

Improving: Efficiently to meet customers' needs

Transforming: Keeping pace with evolving methods, sources and digital processes

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3. Work programme

3.1 Introduction

The work programme has been updated to reflect decisions reached by the National Statistician1 following the 2015 consultation on consumer price statistics2. The consultation followed a review led by Mr Paul Johnson (commonly referred to as the Johnson Review) which took a comprehensive look at how inflation is measured in the UK and made a series of recommendations about the future development of these statistics3. The programme and priorities also reflect the priority placed on the use of alternative data sources by Professor Sir Charles Bean’s review of economic statistics (commonly referred to as the Bean Review)4.

We expect that our top priorities for the next few years will be to:

  • gain accreditation of CPIH as a National Statistic and refocus commentary on this measure
  • continue to develop the use of alternative data sources such as web scraping and point of sale scanner data
  • publish annual measures of income and price change as experienced by different household types
  • research the concepts and issues raised by the Household Inflation Index (HII) report5 and implement these into inflation measures where this is deemed appropriate
  • consider ways to address the formula differences between RPI and CPI

For us to be at the cutting edge of international research for consumer price indices, the programme will need to continuously evolve in light of new priorities. Therefore we will review and update this work programme periodically and an update will be provided each September to the Authority Board via the National Statistician.

In updating the work programme, we will seek the guidance of the Advisory Panels on Consumer Prices and engage with experts and users of these statistics.

3.2 High priority

High priority items are the cornerstone of the development programme and if necessary will be prioritised over the delivery of medium and low priority items. High priority items are listed in order of implementation (of the first deliverable).

3.2.1 Use of alternative data sources

Overview

Improvements in technologies have resulted in new, alternative, sources of price data which could be used in the compilation of price indices. There are 2 main alternative data sources which could be used, specifically:

  • point of scale scanner data - often referred to as scanner data, collected by retailers as goods are scanned across the till; these data are often considered the gold standard for consumer prices statistics as the data include both price and volume information

  • web scraped data - collected using automated robots which scan retailers’ websites and extract price information

The Johnson Review and Bean Review recommended that ONS should give priority to obtaining these data, developing methods and capabilities to use them. The National statistics Quality Review (NSQR)6 of the Living Costs and Food Survey (LCF) made several recommendations on accessing scanner and web scraped datasets, and this work will need to be carefully co-ordinated. ONS currently has several streams of research looking at these alternative sources of data. These are:

Since May 2014, we have scraped daily prices from 3 large supermarket websites, collecting around 150,000 prices monthly for 35 grocery items. Preliminarily indices using this data were published in September 20157 and the indices were updated again in May 2016. Following this publication, we will work towards a more regular release of these indices.

In 2015, web-based platforms for extracting data from websites began to become widely available. They use a point and click interface which enables analysts to create web scrapers without the need for specialist programming expertise. This form of web scraping is now used to support the production of hedonic models which are used to quality adjust 4 high-tech goods in the basket. The hedonic models require detailed attribute data which have historically been collected manually from websites. Where possible web scraped data extracted using this technology have been used to replace this data collection.

This technology has also been used to pilot web scraping for 10 centrally collected items in the CPI basket. The scrapers have been designed to replicate the manual online collection so existing index number methodology can be applied. The pilot started in January 2016 and the scrapers are run once a month. Depending on the success of the pilot, import.io could be used as a monthly price collection tool from early 2017.

Recently we have obtained web scraped data for clothing websites from a company called WGSN. The suitability of this data for creating price indices will be assessed and a report published in mid-2017.

We are investigating the potential use of a database of rail fares transactions owned by the Association of Train Operating Companies, to improve the rail fares item in CPI. Whilst not strictly speaking scanner data, this database does have many similar characteristics to retailer transaction data, that is it holds a near census of transactions.

Finally, whilst previous efforts to obtain scanner data have proved unsuccessful, there are renewed efforts within ONS, led by senior managers, to obtain such data from retailers. The timeframe to implementation is dependent on the acquisition of data and in the interim the use of web scraped data is the priority. However, if scanner data are received, the balance of priorities between web scraping and scanner data will be reviewed.

Implementation

Regular publication of indices produced using prices scraped from supermarket websites; Late 2016

Import.io potentially used as a monthly price collection tool; Early 2017

Report on using WGSN data (web scraped from clothing retailers) to create price indices; Mid 2017

Recommendations to Eurostat on use of web scraped data in UK consumer price indices; July 2017

Implementation of improvements to rail fares; Early 2019

3.2.2 Developing an Index of Household Payments

Overview

The concept of an Index of Household Payments (IHP) was first proposed by Leyland and Astin (as the Household Inflation Index, HII), culminating in a paper8 submitted as a response to the 2015 consultation on consumer price statistics. Suggested differences from existing measures of price change include the potential inclusion of asset prices and interest payments, plus giving each household’s expenditure equal weight. Following the consultation the National Statistician decided that the IHP could serve as an important complement to the suite of consumer price indices.

We have conducted research into the concepts and issues raised by Astin and Leyland’s paper and, in August 2016, released a discussion paper9. We are currently considering responses to this paper, alongside the advice of our advisory panels, which will feed into the future development of the index.

Implementation

Consider responses to the discussion paper; End 2016

Publication outlining final decisions on the production of IHP; Mid 2017

Initiate new collections; Mid 2017

Release experimental IHP index as part of a wider analysis of income, expenditure and price change; End 2017

3.2.3 Measures of income and price change as experienced by different household types

Overview

Research published in 201410 shows that different household groups can experience different rates of inflation. Following the 2015 consultation on consumer price statistics, the National Statistician reached the decision that ONS should produce comparable measures of income and price change for different household groups on an annual basis in one publication. The initial publication will take place in 2017. We will ensure that we engage fully with users to gain feedback that will shape the further development of the measures in line with user needs.

The research on the inflation rates experienced by different household groups is based on the same price data sourced from the CPI (and CPIH). The indices could be developed further by differentiating between different products purchased, producing specific prices indices for each household group. Household sub-groups will also be produced for the IHP work, and so this item will be co-ordinated with the previous one.

Implementation

Annual publication of measures of income and price change as experienced by different household types, followed by gathering of user feedback; 2017

3.2.4 CPIH regaining its National Statistics status

Overview

CPIH is a measure of consumer price inflation including owner occupiers’ housing costs (OOH). CPIH uses an approach called rental equivalence to measure OOH. Rental data collected by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) for England, as well as comparable data collected by the Welsh government and Scottish government, are used in the calculation of OOH. In August 2014, the National Statistics status of CPIH was suspended due to shortcomings identified in the methodology used to produce the rental indices for OOH. Improvements were implemented in 2015 and the reassessment of CPIH as a National Statistic commenced in September 2015.

The CPIH assessment report was published on 3 March 201611. The report includes a number of requirements that need to be implemented for CPIH to regain its status as a National Statistic. ONS reported to the UK Statistics Authority on 26th September 2016 on the actions that it has taken to address these requirements. ONS will be publishing the new CPIH supporting documentation in October 2016, which will be used over a period of time to monitor the behaviour of the index, and increase awareness and confidence in CPIH. We hope for CPIH to be awarded National Statistic status in the first half of 2017.

As part of the reassessment process, we have used the Authority’s Administrative Data Quality Assurance Toolkit12 to implement the required level of quality assurance for all sources of administrative data used in CPIH (and CPI). In particular this includes the administrative rental data sources used for OOH. Other publications will include a CPIH Compendium, which provides information for users on the rationale behind rental equivalence and the methodology used to construct it, a Users and Uses article, which details how the various measures of inflation are used and by whom and a quarterly article which compares the different approaches to measuring OOH costs.

Before CPIH regains its National Statistics status it will be subject to a formal period of close scrutiny before the regulation committee is asked to consider whether ONS has met the requirements and CPIH can be badged as a National Statistic. The National Statistician considers that, subject to regaining its National Statistic status, the CPIH should become the preferred measure of inflation and the focus of ONS commentary.

Implementation

Evidence submitted for the CPIH assessment report; September 2016

Publication of CPIH supporting documentation; October 2017

Monitoring period; Late 2016 to Mid 2017

CPIH badged as a National Statistic; TBC

3.2.5 Inclusion of Council Tax in CPIH

Overview

Following the 2015 consultation on consumer price statistics, the National Statistician reached the decision that Council Tax (and domestic rates for Northern Ireland) should be included in CPIH and that this should take place with the 2017 basket update.

Consumer price statistics are rarely revised. However, once CPIH has regained its status as a National Statistic, the back series will be revised to re-introduce CPIH on the best possible footing.

Implementation

Inclusion of council tax in CPIH; March 2017

3.2.6 Develop a reconciliation between CPIH and RPI and review the existing methodology for reconciliation

Overview

With the move towards making CPIH the preferred measure of inflation, we will develop a reconciliation between CPIH and RPI, and use the opportunity to review the reconciliation method used. We will seek the advice of the Advisory Panel on Consumer Prices – Technical and other expert users.

Implementation

Reconciliation between CPIH and RPI published; Early 2018

Improved reconciliation method; 2019

3.2.7 Addressing the formula effect

Overview

In 2010, we made a number of changes to the methodology used to collect clothing prices. These changes meant that the gap between RPI and CPI, which use different formulae at the lowest level of aggregation13, widened.

Constructing price indices for clothing items can be problematic. This is because the high product turnover associated with fashion items makes it difficult to identify comparable replacements. We will continue to explore the measurement of clothing prices through analysis of the web scraped clothing data provided by WGSN (see use of alternative data sources), as well as considering other ways that the measurement of clothing price changes could be improved. We will seek the advice of its advisory panels in this matter.

Implementation

Report on using WGSN data to create price indices; Mid 2017

Further research into clothing price indices; 2019

3.3 Medium priority items

Medium priority items form an important part of the work programme but if necessary delivery may be delayed for high priority items. Medium priority items are listed in order of implementation (of the first deliverable).

3.3.1 Short-term European compliance issues

Overview

The UK CPI is also the UK’s Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP). The HICP is a measure of inflation produced by all EU member states in line with EU regulations. We are working to ensure compliance in a number of areas including:

  • introducing a lower level of aggregation, called COICOP5

  • implementing a temporal sample for fresh fruit and vegetables

  • addressing compliance issues related to the double chain link

COICOP5 (Classification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose) is a new level of disaggregation which sits below the class (or COICOP4) level indices already published. The need to introduce these changes into CPI is driven by the implementation of new European legislation. COICOP5 will be introduced in CPI and CPIH in March 2017.

Prices for fresh fruit and vegetables are collected on a single Index Day, a Tuesday, in or around the middle of the month. To address temporal sampling requirements, a second collection day for fresh fruit and vegetables is in pilot. In 2016, the pilot was rolled out to a full collection with implementation in the CPI and CPIH in 2018, following a parallel run in 2017. The results and recommendations for implementation will be presented to the Advisory Panels for Consumer Prices in 2017 for consideration.

The CPI (and CPIH) uses a double chain link to introduce new class level weights in January, and new item level weights in February. Eurostat has been considering whether this approach is compliant with HICP regulations. An independent report written for Eurostat on this issue concluded that ONS should price-update weights twice a year to remove differences between the UK CPI and European HICP methodologies. In a meeting with Eurostat in December 2015 it was agreed that ONS would implement the recommendation for the HICP. As the UK CPI and HICP are one and the same the change will also apply to the CPI and CPIH.

Implementation

Introduction of COICOP5; March 2017

Implementation of price-updated weights twice a year; March 2017

Introduction of temporal sampling for fresh fruit and vegetables; Early 2018

3.3.2 Developing measures of accuracy for CPIH

Overview

Due to the complex survey design, calculating standard errors for CPIH and specifically the growth in CPIH is very challenging.

There are 2 dimensions to the sampling: selection of items and selection of outlets. The sampling involves purposive sampling of both items and outlets. The CPIH weights come from a variety of sources. Some are administrative sources, some are survey-based. They are then put through national accounts balancing. This all makes the estimation of sampling errors difficult.

Also, CPI weights are price-updated using movements in the appropriate CPI index, so there is an interaction between weights and prices. Annual rates of change in the price index are ratio estimates, usually over a chain link, so there may be correlations between prices in successive periods that need to be taken into account.

Estimates of the variance due to the variance in the LCF data used as weights are currently being investigated. These will give an indication of some part of the accuracy of CPIH.

Implementation

Survey methodology bulletin article on standard errors arising from expenditure weights; Quarter 2 2017

Further analysis and refinement; Quarter 1 2018

Estimates of the sampling errors associated with central items; Quarter 3 2018

3.3.3 Monitoring of quality adjustment and quality change

Overview

One of the more difficult issues in producing consumer price inflation statistics is the accurate measurement and treatment of quality change due to changing product specifications. The Johnson Review considered quality change and recommended ONS provides more information to explain how quality change is monitored. In response to the 2015 consultation on consumer price statistics some users suggested that ONS should devote more resources to improving and monitoring methods of quality adjustment. In particular the quality adjustment of services could be given more consideration. The Bean Review14 also considered quality change and found that the issue is likely to grow in importance with the “spreading tentacles of the digital revolution”.

To address these findings we will launch a project to review quality adjustment methods used in consumer price inflation statistics and provide more detail on how quality adjustment is monitored.

Implementation

Report on quality adjustment methods used and how quality adjustment is monitored; Late 2017

3.3.4 Improvements to CPIH methodology

Overview

There are a number of ways in which the owner occupiers’ housing costs (OOH) component of CPIH could be further improved. We intend to explore these potential developments to further improve the effectiveness of CPIH as a measure of inflation. These are described in this section.

When the OOH component in CPIH was developed in 2011 using administrative data sources for England, Wales and Scotland, comparable rental data for Northern Ireland were not suitable. At the time the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) received private rental data biannually, covering the Belfast Metropolitan Region only. As a result the existing CPI private rental data series for Northern Ireland has continued to be used. Since then the coverage across Northern Ireland has improved and the data are now available monthly. ONS has received an extract of these data from NIHE and started analysis with the ultimate aim of producing a rental index suitable for inclusion in OOH in 2018.

Currently, dwelling stock data from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) are used to mix- adjust rental data to reflect the OOH market. However, the property type split is not available on a regional basis, so the same property type split is applied across all regions. We will explore other potential sources of data to improve the stratification.

The Johnson Review15 identified that recent research into the measurement of rental equivalence has suggested using a flow measure (new lets only), rather than a stock measure (new and existing lets). We will also explore the appropriateness of using this new approach to measuring rental equivalence costs.

Implementation

New rental data source for Northern Ireland implemented in OOH; Early 2018

Improved property type split for stratum weights; 2018

Present findings from investigation into stock and flow measures of rental equivalence; 2019

3.3.5 Improvement to the transparency of CPI and CPIH

Overview

The Johnson Review made 2 recommendations around transparency, specifically the review suggested that ONS provide more information to explain:

  • why prices for some items are sourced from the internet, while others are obtained from local shop-based collections16
  • what criteria are applied when deciding on the formula used to combine items at the lowest level of aggregation17

To address these recommendations we will review how these decisions are made and publish information on how this works in practice.

Implementation

Improvement to the transparency of CPI and CPIH; Mid 2018

3.3.6 Regional indices

Overview

Relative Regional Consumer Price Levels (RRCPL) are an example of a spatial price index which can be used to compare relative price levels to the UK for the 9 regions of England, as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. ONS published RRCPLs every 6 years using data collected to calculate Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) Spatial Adjustment Factors (SAF). The next SAF collection is taking place in 2016 and the data may potentially be used to publish the RRCPL in 2017.

The regular collection of prices for consumer price inflation statistics is optimised for measuring inflation at the UK level. Prices are collected locally in 141 locations spread across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the 9 regions of England. As a result, the number of locations visited per region is small, making the data less suitable for regional indices. Additionally, the prices for many products are collected centrally with no regional breakdown. The viability of using the existing price data to produce more geographically disaggregated price indices will be re-assessed.

Implementation

Feasibility report on the creation of regional breakdowns of consumer price indices; Mid 2018

3.3.7 Location boundary review

Overview

The current sample frame used to select locations for the local price collection was drawn over 10 years ago. While the sample has been updated using rotation of locations and selection of outlets, the location boundaries need to be updated to reflect changing expenditure patterns.

Four new locations boundaries are being piloted in 2016 and in 2017 and 2018 another 8 and 15 new location boundaries will be piloted respectively. Depending on feedback received from collectors in the field, the new boundaries could be rolled-out over a 5-year period starting in 2019. Advice will be sought from the Advisory Panels for Consumer Prices in 2018.

Implementation

Roll-out of new boundaries; January 2019

3.4 Low priority items

The delivery of low priority items may be delayed or even stopped to ensure the delivery of high and medium priority items. Low priority items are listed in order of implementation (of the first deliverable).

3.4.1 Discounts

Overview

Retailers are offering an increasing array of discounts to attract customers. Single product discounts (available to all consumers without conditions) are captured in consumer price statistics. However, many other types of discounts, such as multi-buy offers or loyalty schemes are excluded. The Johnson Review recognised the difficultly of accurately reflecting all discounts in consumer price statistics and recommended that ONS carry out more work in this area, ultimately seeking to reflect a wider range of discounts in its consumer prices statistics.

In 2017, we will pilot the collection of discounts data on items which are already collected locally. Field collectors will be asked to record information on discounts (including multibuy discounts) on the handheld devices. The pilot will be run on all food and drink items, with the facility to expand to other product groups in the future. The functionally on the handheld devices has been developed, and field testing is currently underway. In the interim, web scraped data is being used to explore the prevalence of discounts for the 3 supermarkets collected.

Implementation

Pilot discount collection; January 2017

Analysis of discounts in web scraped data; 2017

Analysis of discount data collected locally; 2018

Implement outcome of pilot; 2020

3.4.2 Weights

Overview

The Johnson Review made a number of recommendations to improve the weights used in consumer price inflation statistics. In early 2014, we improved the commentary in the annual weights article to explain why weights differ and the publication was also brought forward to coincide with the implementation of the annual weights in the consumer price inflation publication. The review also recommended that ONS consider:

  • whether weights for some items should be based on more than one year of data to smooth irregular movements (and what causes those movements)18

  • whether the stratification of items by shop type can be improved19

We have developed a proposal to use a 3-year moving average to smooth the weights for 3 volatile items with irregular movement in the CPI and CPIH baskets. Insurance weights are currently based on 3 years’ data, although this is due to the insurance regulation rather than volatility. The Advisory Panel for Consumer Prices – Technical considered these proposals in May 2016, and we will be conducting more analysis.

We will also seek to introduce an appropriate stratification where weights for different types of shops are available and can be updated.

Implementation

Further analysis on smoothing volatile weights in the CPI and CPIH; 2017

Update shop type weights in the CPI and CPIH; Early 2018

3.4.3. Medium-term European compliance issues

Overview

The UK CPI is also the UK’s Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP). The HICP is a measure of inflation produced by all EU member states in line with EU regulations. We are working to ensure compliance in a number of areas. Specific items20 within CPI and CPIH which are being considered for improvement are:

  • package holidays

  • airfares

In 2015, Eurostat published the UK Compliance Report21 which stated that ONS’s method for package holiday collection is non-compliant. This is because price relatives for package holidays are calculated by comparing the price in the current month with the price the same month a year ago, rather than comparing the price with January. Additionally, in 2014, Eurostat made recommendations for the treatment of airfares and package holidays which highlighted several possible areas for improvement including last-minute deals, booking fees, treatment of seasonal items and booking methods.

In the UK, airfares are a particularly volatile index and we are investigating whether volatility due to one-off events, such as Easter and school holidays, could be better captured with a temporal collection of airfare prices.

Implementation

Implementation of improvements to airfares; Early 2018

Implementation of improvement to package holidays; 2019

3.4.4 Develop alternatives to the use of RPI data

Overview

Following the 2015 consultation on consumer price statistics, the National Statistician decided that ONS would publish the bare minimum of RPI-related data necessary to ensure the critical and essential needs of existing users are met. To aid users in finding alternatives to the use of RPI data we will:

  • develop a new method for calculating average prices using CPIH

  • shift the long run (1750 onwards) inflation series from RPI to CPIH

  • update the personal inflation indicator (PIC) to CPIH

  • develop and publish a hierarchy of historical indices

Implementation

Alternatives developed to the use of RPI data; Mid 2018

3.4.5 Improvements to OOH(NA)

Overview

We currently produce an experimental net acquisitions index for Eurostat, as part of a pilot to incorporate owner occupiers’ housing costs (OOH) costs into the HICP. Currently there is no weight for the component “existing dwellings new to the household” sector, which means that it is given a zero weight in the aggregation. Moreover, the weight for the “acquisition of new dwellings” component includes new dwellings outside the OOH sector (that is, the weight is gross acquisitions, rather than net). Wewill explore data sources that could be used to improve this experimental index.

Implementation

Improved methodology for the net acquisitions index; 2019

3.4.6 The extent to which consumers substitute between outlets

Overview

The Johnson Review recommended that ONS should research the extent to which consumers substitute between outlets. For example, this would capture how prices for the same goods have changed with the move from corner shops to supermarkets and from supermarkets to online providers.

Implementation

Report on the extent to which consumers substitute between outlets; 2019

Notes for Work programme:
  1. Letter from John Pullinger to Andrew Dilnot in which he sets out his emerging thoughts on the future of consumer price statistics.
  2. 2015 consultation on consumer price statistics.
  3. Details of the Johnson review and the final report.
  4. In July 2015, the Chancellor of the Exchequer commissioned Professor Sir Charles Bean to conduct an independent review of the quality, delivery and governance of UK economic statistics. The terms of reference, final and interim reports from the Bean review can be found on the GOV.UK website.
  5. The concept of a HII was first proposed by Leyland and Astin, culminating in a paper submitted as a response to the 2015 consultation on consumer prices.
  6. The NSQR of Living Costs and Food Survey is available on our website.
  7. Research indices using web scraped data paper and appendix tables.
  8. Towards a Household Inflation Index.
  9. Developing an Index of Household Payments.
  10. Variation in the inflation experience of UK households: 2003 to 2014.
  11. CPIH assessment report.
  12. The Authority’s Administrative Data Quality Assurance Toolkit.
  13. CPI and RPI: increased impact of the formula effect in 2010.
  14. Details of the Bean review and the final report.
  15. Details of the Johnson review and the final report.
  16. Ibid, Recommendation 11.
  17. Ibid, Recommendation 12.
  18. Ibid, Recommendations 15-16.
  19. Ibid, Recommendations 17.
  20. Items for improvements can be identified via a number of avenues including, but not limited to, internal reviews, feedback from price collectors and auditors, Eurostat assessments and user feedback.
  21. UK Compliance Report.
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4. Resources

Prices division has allocated resources to deliver the business as usual production of CPI and CPIH, as well as the projects for improvement and development that form the work programme. Prices division is led by a Deputy Director and consists of a number of teams which contribute to the production and development of Consumer Price Indices.

CPI production branches conduct work to enable the publication of the suite of consumer price indices which includes CPI and CPIH. These consist of 2 teams, one focusing on commodity analysis and the other on user engagement. Both are led by a Grade 7.

Housing Market Indices conduct work to enable the publication of the suite of housing statistics (HPI and IPHRP). This team is led by a Grade 7 and has recently acquired a permanent AO position to assist with production.

Systems support process the monthly CPI index and provide systems support. It is led by a Grade 7.

Prices development undertakes work to improve the development and maintenance of Consumer Price Indices. The team is led by a Grade 7.

Prices economic analysis is a new team which provides economic support to the division and conducts economic analysis.

The Quality and Contract Management team regularly reviews risks associated with the work program, resources and how these align with the business plan. These risks are documented and assigned a status dependent on the severity of the risk, and the appropriate actions are detailed and assigned to relevant owners.

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5. Conclusion

This work plan has been published to give you a greater understanding of the planned development work associated with consumer price statistics. The work has been prioritised in line with regulatory requirements and known user needs.

We welcome your communication both in terms of this development work plan and more widely in relation to the Consumer Price Statistics publication and outputs.

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Contact details for this Article

Chris Payne
chris.payne@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455321