1. Overview of the economic statistics sector classification update

Our economic statistics are produced in accordance with international rules and guidance. Central to this are the rules set out in the United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA) 2008, the European System of Accounts (ESA) 2010 and the accompanying Manual on Government Deficit and Debt (MGDD) 2022. These include rules on classifying statistical units (organisations or bodies) and the transactions they engage in. A summary of these, and our approach to their application, can be found on our Economic statistics classifications web page.

Our Forward work plan dataset (XLSX, 43.7KB) sets out the organisations and transactions that we expect to assess and classify in the next 12 to 18 months. Please note that classification priorities can change quickly, and the expected dates of completion are only indicative at the time of publication. The forward work plan does not cover all cases that will arise over the next 12 to 18 months. Cases that are likely to have a smaller statistical and policy impact will be assessed as resources allow. The cases scheduled in this article have been prioritised because of the impact they will have on important statistics, and their importance to public policy.

There is high demand for classification assessments, and we progress many active cases at the same time, with new cases often arising. These include confidential assessments of government and devolved administration policy proposals, as explained in our Classification process methodology.

We do not announce or discuss such policy proposal assessments, to give policymakers the space to develop policy. However, in each December publication, we provide the number of policy proposal reviews that were carried out during the preceding calendar year. As with other classification decisions, when a policy is implemented, it will be classified and included in the Public sector classification guide dataset (XLSX, 672.8KB).

From March 2024, the Public Sector Classification Guide (PSCG) includes a separate worksheet entitled Non-Institutional Units. This contains a list of organisations that, following a classification review, were found not to meet the criteria to be an institutional unit.

These organisations classified as not meeting the criteria to be an institutional unit are classified as part of their controlling body, in accordance with ESA 2010, 2.24 to 2.25. They were previously included in the Organisation/Institutional Unit worksheet, within the information section of their controlling bodies.

We have introduced this new worksheet for two reasons: to provide more transparent and accessible representation of classification reviews carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS); and because some institutional units have many organisations that will be included in their PSCG entry as non-institutional units, and there are limitations on cell size.

In March 2024, we transferred all the non-institutional units that have been classified as part of the Ministry of Justice as their controlling body, to the new worksheet. Over the coming months, we will gradually transfer other previously classified non-institutional units to the dedicated worksheet. Meanwhile, they are still available to find within the existing Organisation/Institutional Unit worksheet, within the entries of their controlling bodies.

Proposed change of publication date

We are planning to move the publication date of the PSCG and forward work plan to an earlier date in the month. This enables us to combine with the current Recent and upcoming changes to public sector finance statistics article, which is available on the 15th working day of each month (or, occasionally, on the 16th working day). Publication dates are announced for public sector finances in advance in the ONS release calendar. We expect to implement the change in the publication date in July 2024. There are no other planned changes to the information that is currently provided.

If you have feedback or questions about this planned change of publication date, or suggestions for improvement to any aspect of the PSCG, please contact us by email at econstats.classifications@ons.gov.uk.

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2. Forward work plan

There have been no additions to the Forward work plan this month.

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3. Classification update

Integrated Care Boards in England (En Bloc)

The Integrated Care Boards (Establishment) Order 2022 (PDF, 61KB) established 42 Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) in England, which are local partnerships responsible for joined up health and care services.

The assessment concluded that, in accordance with United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA) 2008, 4.2 and European System of Accounts (ESA) 2010, 2.12, ICBs in England have the requisite autonomy of decision to be institutional units. In accordance with SNA 2008, 4.80 (b) and ESA 2010, 20.309 (a), ICBs in England are under public sector control, for reasons including that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care approves the appointment of the chair of each board. ICBs in England are non-market producers, as they are majority funded by NHS England.

Therefore, all ICBs in England have been classified to the central government subsector (S.1311) effective from 1 July 2022, the date The Integrated Care Boards (Establishment) Order 2022 came into force, and ICBs in England were established.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (En Bloc)

Clinical Commissioning Groups were the predecessor organisations to ICBs in England. They are now listed as disbanded or deleted entities on the Public Sector Classification Guide, effective from 1 July 2022, the date The Integrated Care Boards (Establishment) Order 2022 came into force, and ICBs in England were established.

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5. Cite this article

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 31 May 2024, ONS website, article, Economic statistics sector classification – classification update and forward work plan: May 2024

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Contact details for this Article

Economic Statistics Classifications team
Telephone: +44 1633 456763