The Office for National Statistics (ONS) currently publishes a number of market-sensitive economic statistics. These statistics, along with all other ONS releases, are currently published at 09:30, in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics.
The ONS holds secure ‘lock-in’ briefings for accredited newswires, where they are given access to these market-sensitive releases prior to publication in a secure environment within the ONS offices in London. This arrangement allows for an orderly release of information that would otherwise be difficult through other channels, ensuring fair and equal access to these statistics.
The developing COVID-19 pandemic make the continuation of secure briefings no longer possible. The ONS plans to move to publication of market sensitive releases at 07:00 without briefing accredited newswires ahead of publication, with the first releases affected being Prices statistics, being published on Wednesday 25 March.
An exchange of letters between the ONS and the Office for Statistics Regulation on this matter is available on the Office for National Statistics website.
Only market-sensitive releases that were published alongside a lock-in briefing are affected by this process change. All other statistics will continue to be published at 09:30 as usual.
The publications affected by the new processes are:
- Quarterly and monthly GDP – including the associated services, production, construction and trade publications
- Consumer price inflation – alongside the related Producer price inflation publication
- Labour market overview
- Retail sales
- Public sector finances
- Quarterly national accounts, alongside Balance of payments and Sector and financial accounts
Other releases linked to these publications, such as House Price Index or Consumer trends, that are not considered to be market-sensitive will continue to be published at 09:30 as previously.