Another Statistics Canada chief quits over cuts and control

Philip Cross, StatsCan’s chief economic analyst, has resigned, citing the reduction of reliable basic information from the Census, and the politicisation of the national statistics agency.

The resignation comes 18 months after the head of StatsCan Munir Sheikh left, forced by the Federal Government to take responsibility for its decision to replace the Census detailed questionnaire by a voluntary household survey. The Federal Government felt that a compulsory census was invasive of privacy, a comment also made by journalists supporting a ‘Mind your own business’ campaign during the 2011 UK Census.

The unknown bias in the Canadian voluntary household survey is blamed for serious uncertainty in Canada’s price index. The consequences of the decision to make the NHS voluntary have only begun to manifest themselves, say economists in Canada. Statistics Canada has had a long deserved worldwide reputation for its independence and authoritative contributions to official statistical methods.  These cuts to the Canadian Census and other surveys caused an outcry and fears of similar downgrading of the statistical base in other countries, as reported in previous entries to this Reduced Statistics blog.

Further cost cuts, due to be announced in this spring’s federal budget, mean the Canadian agency is preparing for the possibility of layoffs.

Consultations, consultations

If January is your slow month, now’s the time to act on these current data user consultations:

(1) Beyond 2011 – Public Consultation

Businesswoman consulting a partner

Opening date: 17 October 2011
Closing date: 20 January 2012
Department: Office for National Statistics
Category: General

The User Needs Consultation aims to ensure that we have a clear understanding of users’ needs and priorities.

The views expressed will be critical in determining how we develop our assessment criteria, how we evaluate alternative approaches and what option we recommend for further development beyond 2014.

The User Needs Consultation document can be downloaded from our website (626 Kb Word document) .

This document provides brief discussion and guidance on the questions included in the questionnaire and we would appreciate it if you could look at it before responding.

Thanks in advance for your help on this.

Please complete the questionnaire online  – or use the questionnaire included in the consultation document and return electronically to beyond2011@ons.gov.uk by 20 January 2012.

If you would like to share your views on the issues behind the Beyond 2011 Public Consultation you can join the conversation on the Royal Statistical Society Statistics User Forum.

(2) Lifestyles Surveys Consultation Review

As you will be aware, the NHS Information Centre (IC) publishes the following Lifestyles survey publications:

The findings are used to provide an insight into the health and behaviour of people in England. The longevity of the surveys also enables changing trends to be studied over time. They can be used to help decision makers improve policies and services and ultimately improve the health of population in this country.

The NHS IC has launched a public consultation on the Lifestyles surveys with the following aims:

  • to engage with the users of the surveys to develop a more complete understanding of the use made of this data
  • to ensure the surveys are relevant and meaningful to the needs of users
  • to seek the views of users on the content and format of the publications

This consultation will run for 12 weeks from Friday 30 December 2011 to Friday 23 March 2012. Please ensure you submit any comments prior to the closing date so they can be considered.

Further details, along with the full consultation document are available at www.ic.nhs.uk/work-with-us/consultations/lifestyles-surveys-consultation-review

General Lifestyle (Household) Survey ends

On 30th June, ONS announced that it the General Lifestyle Survey (previously the General Household Survey) will be discontinued from January 2012, with some questions transferred to other surveys.

In reponse to consultation, the ONS states:

” ONS welcomes all of the responses received and notes the concerns. These responses will be taken into consideration during the next steps of this project. Given the need to harmonise UK and EU poverty indicators, and ensure efficient data collection, we propose that the GLF ceases to run in its current form from January 2012.
Statistics on Income and Living Conditions required by European law (EU-SILC) will be collected via the Family Resources Survey (FRS) with a standalone survey providing the longitudinal SILC element. GLF questions not covered by EU-SILC will be collected using a separate survey, subject to continued funding for non-EU-SILC variables. Over the next six months, ONS will explore the exact format for this survey to best meet users’ needs. Details will be made available later in the year.”

Full details are available from the ONS website in the ‘Response to the future of the GLF survey consultation’ http://www.ons.gov.uk/about/consultations/closed-consultations/the-future-of-the-glf-survey/

UK Statistics Authority insists on doing its job

A meeting of Learned Societies heard that the UK Statistics Authority had found that the government was breaking its own code of practice on consultation, and was not willing to inform the Authority of proposed changes to official statistics; The Authority is required by law to advise on the impact of changes in statistical production. The same meeting heard that government departments are doing their own thing when implementing cuts, some cutting outputs with minimal or no public consultaton, and others involving users in extensive reviews. Not all are sharing their plans with the head of the government’s statistical profession, the National Statistician. 

The Chair of the UK Statistics Authority Sir Michael Scholar expressed disappointment in a letter to Minister Francis Maude last October 2010 that the government was unwilling to allow the Authroity to advise on the impact of proposed changes to statistics, listing 17 examples where the statistics of one government department informed the work of others.

The UK Statistics Authority issued the first of its Statistical Expenditure reports, in which it investigates “any changes to departmental statistical work programmes where there are questions about whether user needs have been fully considered; where adequate consultation may not have been carried out; where the effects on other departments or other statistical series may not have been taken into account; or on the rationale underpinning the proposals more generally.”

The first Statistical Expenditure report is attached to a letter to Eric Pickles on 8th April 2011, the Minister for Communities and Local Government, which demands that the government responds to the needs expressed in consultation over the Citizenship Survey. The survey has been cut completely, with fieldwork ending on March 31st 2011, in spite of users’ clear identification of its importance in ‘providing  evidence on the Big Society, extremism, cohesion and integration, fairness in the criminal justice system, discrimination, the impact of immigration, volunteering, well-being, and many other issues’.

Scottish Surveys reduced

A review of Scotland’s surveys, started in 2008, has turned into a cost-cutting exercise resulting in greater efficiency, fewer outputs and less precision. The full Scottish Household Survey Review is not yet published, but the Scottish House Conditions Survey will become a module within the general Scottish Household Survey. The Scottish Health Survey sample will be reduced by one third and will no longer include a nurse’s visit. The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey will be reduced in size, no longer providing data for local authority areas, and be carried out each two years rather than annually.

On the brighter side, the three surveys will be harmonised and from 2013 pooled data will provide some estimates for smaller populations than previously possible.

The changes will take place from the end of 2012. Summary by the Scottish Government.

Calling all NOMIS users: save your data

The UK Office for National Statistics are consulting on alternatives to NOMIS. All current NOMIS users may consider and respond to the ONS consultation document regarding access to Labour Market and related statistics.

The plans are unlikely to satisfy any user interested in geographic areas other than the normal administrative and electoral hierarchy, or using information for very detailed variable definitions, or a wide range of options. The proposals are based on the common denominator of current uses. Data that cannot be provided for all local authorities will not be provided for any (out goes detailed analysis for large authorities). Variable values will be pre-banded (out go unusual age-groups even if they are wide ones). Such needs would be met by the ONS Virtual Data Laboratories, which are accessible to approved researchers, on approved projects, at ONS sites.

The ONS Data Explorer is proposed to meet many users’ needs. As explained further in the document, some needs will not be met by the ONS Data Explorer, and ONS needs to hear “what the importance of this data is to users, how they make use of it and the impact on the general public. It is these users that ONS particularly want to hear from to better understand this usage of the more detailed data currently available.”

Responses should be sent by 20 May 2011 to Bob.Watson@ons.gov.uk

UK General Lifestyles Survey, formerly GHS, under the axe

Following the General Lifestyles Survey (GLF) User Meeting hosted by the Economic and Social Datasets Service in March, see www.ccsr.ac.uk/esds/events/2011-03-23/glfnotes.doc for a note of the ONS presentation regarding the future of the survey.

In summary:

– ONS confirmed that the FRS will be the vehicle for the EUSILC questions (currently on GLF) from 2012 onwards

– The NHS Information Centre are proposing to withdraw funding for the 2011 GLF

– ONS propose replacing the GLF from 2012 with a new survey based on the Opinions survey

Given this new information, you may wish to reply to the GLF consultation document (even if you’ve already done so previously):

www.ons.gov.uk/about/consultations/open-consultations/eusilc-integration-into-frs/

(thanks to ESDS for this information)

General Household Survey – saveable?

The UK General Household Survey (with the General Lifestyle Survey) will be cut if users do not express an over-riding need for it, according to the Economic and Social Data Service.

Consultation by the ONS lasts until 6th May, respond as directed here.

The Economic and Social Data Service is running a day workshop on the survey on March 23rd at the Royal Statistical Society in London, including an opportunity to express views on its future. Book now here.

Details revealed: UK government social research and statistics cuts

 

Freedom of Information requests have revealed that from four UK government departments, 70 individual research projects and statistical data collections have been cancelled or curtailed since May 2010. Over £8.9 million of research and statistical data collection spend has been cut since May 2010.

Simon Tanner of Research as Evidence Ltd made the requests and passed his report to Radical Statistics. The government has cut the evaluation of Academy Schools and there is no clear indication if alternative work is underway to assess the impacts of the new ways public money is being channelled into these forms of private-sponsored schooling.

Simon Tanner says: “Key Government Ministers (Education (Gove), DCLG (Pickles and Shapps) and Health (Lansley and Burstow)) have proved themselves to be somewhat disingenuous in their use of existing evidence to justify new policy moves.  How do we know they have authorised the cutting/curtailment of the right projects and what plans have they to address any information gaps they have created to check their new policy moves are working and assessing outcomes in an independent, rigorous, and factual way.  This could be a double whammy of waste – wasted research monies on unpublishable/unusable research from curtailed research and waste on spending on policy moves that early evidence could show may not do, or be doing, what was expected of them.

The cuts in research and statistics are those of the first eight months (to December 2010) of the Coalition government. They do not include surveys and projects stopped at the end of this financial year, such as the Citizenship Survey, nor others that are under discussion such as the General Household Survey. This is the tip of an iceberg that will hide the impact of public service reductions and management transformations.

The rest of this post points to the information that Simon Tanner has collated and the FOI responses in full.

Download Cuts to government social research projects: Presentation at Radical Statistics Conference 26th February 2011 (.pdf, 458Kb)

Download Full report (.pdf, 337Kb), also reproduced below

Summary of FOI Requests on Cancelled and Curtailed Research Projects since May 2010

(Prepared by Simon Tanner, first published on Radical Statistics blog 25th February 2011: http://radstats.wordpress.com/reducedstatistics/)

The Freedom of Information (FOI) request

Summary of Cuts in Research Spending (£s)

Key Points

Further Questions

Summary table of four Departments with key points for each

Individual Departmental Responses:

Department of Communities and Local Government

Business Innovations and Skills

Department of Education

Department of Work and Pensions

This summary reports on the findings of Freedom of Information Requests made to four Central Government Departments in December 2010 requesting information on cancelled and curtailed research projects and statistical data collection since the election of the Coalition Government on 12th May 2010.

Each Department was sent a standardised request for information by email (or via their main website) in December 2010.  The request took the following form:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to make a formal request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

I would like to request the following information about BIS.

Since 12 May 2010 please identify the total number, contracted cost and project title of:

1) All planned and ongoing (projects that started prior to May 2010) research projects that have been cancelled.  

2) All planned and ongoing (projects that started prior to May 2010) statistical data collections that have been cancelled

3) All ongoing (projects that started prior to May 2010) research projects that have been stopped before the full contracted research design was completed

For the curtailed projects in 3) above:

4) Identify the total difference in £s between the original contracted research costs and the total paid to contractors to the point of cancellation.

 

Table 1a: Summary of Cut in Research Spending by Government Department between May – December 2010 by Number of Projects

Department Number of Projects Cancelled Number of Statistical Data Collection Cancelled Number of Projects Curtailed Total number of cancelled and curtailed projects
Communities and Local Government 15 2 3 20
Business, Innovation and Skills 0 0 3 3
Education 13 7 14 34
Work and Pensions 6 1 6 13
Total 34 10 26 70

Sources: Freedom of Information Requests Dec 2010.  Departmental Resource Accounts 2009/10

 

Table 1b: Summary of Cut in Research Spending by Government Department between May – December 2010 by Value (£ 000’s)

Department Projected Cut Due to Cancelled Projects (£ 000’s) Cut in Spend Due to Curtailed Projects(£ 000’s)[1] Spend on Curtailed Projects(£ 000’s)[2]
Communities and Local Government Not supplied 177.3 Not supplied
Business, Innovation and Skills 0 192.5 103.5
Education 7,497.1 0 0
Work and Pensions 321.4 728.9 612.4
Total 7,818.5 1,098.8 715.9

Sources: Freedom of Information Requests Dec 2010.  Departmental Resource Accounts 2009/10


Table 1c: Summary of Cut in Research Spending by Government Department between May – December 2010 as % of 2009/10 Research Spend

Department Research Spend in 2008/09 (£ 000’s) Research Spend in 2009/10 (£ 000’s) Specified Total Cut in Research Spending(£ 000’s) Total Cut as % of Spend in 09/10
Communities and Local Government[3]  23,117  30,581 177.3 0.6
Business, Innovation and Skills[4]  1,323  3,341 192.5 5.8
Education[5]  11,599  13,263 7,497.1 56.5
Work and Pensions[6] 14,524 18,929 1,050.3 5.5
Total 50,563 66,114 8,917.4 13.5

Sources: Freedom of Information Requests Dec 2010.  Departmental Resource Accounts 2009/10

Responses were received for each of the Government Departments shown in Tables 1a – 1c above (specific responses from each Department can be found at Appendix 2, Appendix 1 contains an overall summary. 

 

[1] Difference between contracted cost and amount paid to contractor up to curtailment.

[2] Total amount paid to contractor up to curtailment of project.

[3] DCLG Resource Accounts 2009/10, p.82.  Available at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/corporate/pdf/1636736.pdf

[6] Work and Pensions Resource Accounts 2009/10 p.95.  Available at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/resource-acs-2009-10.pdf

The key points from analysis of these responses shows that:

  • 70 individual research projects and statistical data collections have been cancelled or curtailed since May 2010;
  • Over £8.9 million of research and statistical data collection spend has been cut since May 2010;
  • 84 per cent of the cut (over £7.4million) has taken place at the Department for Education;
  • This equates to over half (56.5 per cent) of all research and development spend made by the Department for Education in 2009/10;
  • The Department for Education has cancelled projects including the Evaluation of Academies (£400k), TELLUS survey (£1.3 million), and Survey of Disabled Children’s Services indicator (£2.8m);
  • Overall these Departments have spent almost £750k (£715.9k) on research which has been curtailed before the full methodology has been completed;
  • The Department for Education has curtailed the most projects, 14 in total, that include an evaluation of trust schools, secondary school admissions, and a systematic review of conduct of serious case reviews though they claim no payments have been made against the curtailment of these projects;
  • The Department for Work and Pensions has curtailed the highest value of projects curtailing six projects in total valued at over £3.3million (if completed) with over £612k being spent on this incomplete work.  Curtailed projects included Lone Parent Policy Evaluation (£1.9m original cost, £0 spent), Local Employment Provision Evaluation (£555k original cost, £246k spent up to cancellation), and JobCentre Plus Mystery Shopping (£325k original cost, £228k spent up to cancellation);
  • Cancellation of research projects can be mitigated by the reuse of those funds on new studies but recent figures on Government spend on research post-May 2010 show that this potential recycling is variable across Departments.  In Education research spend to Dec 2010 was at 78% of the 2009/10 level, whilst Business, Innovation and Skills had spent just 27% of the 2009/10 budget;
  • Curtailed research presents a more serious issues as projects curtailed on non-methodological reasons could equate to wasted funds making results unusable or unpublishable;
  • Figures provided to us show that over £715k was spent of curtailed projects to Dec 2010 which is likely to underreport spend on these projects and figures do not include curtailed work on the recently curtailed TellUs or Citizenship surveys;
  • Impacts could be severe on contractors who include non-profit organistaions and university departments, already facing potentially damaging cuts to other funding sources being denied in excess of £1.1 million from the curtailed projects
  • It is critical that reasons for curtailment are provided on an individual project basis so full assessment of this activity can be undertaken.


Further Questions

The questions that arise from this analysis are as follows:

  1. On what basis were decisions to cancel projects made?
  2. On what basis were decisions to curtail projects prior to the completion of the agreed research design made?
  3. Where has the money cut subsequently been utilised?
  4. How much is expected to be spent by each Department on Research and Development activity in 2010/11?
  5. What impact do Ministers expect these cuts to have on evidence based policy making within their Department?

 

Appendix 1: Departmental Summary

Department Comments Total No. of Research Projects Cancelled Total No. of Statistical Data Collections Cancelled Total No. Projects Curtailed Key Points
Education A question mark against the curtailed work previous Departmental policy was to pay a %age of the overall fee at commissioning.  FOI response suggests this has changed. 13 7 14 £7.49 million worth of research and statistical projects cancelled including Evaluation of Academies (£400k), TELLUS survey (£1.3 million), and Survey of Disabled Children’s Services indicator (£2.8m).Curtailed projects include evaluation of trust schools, secondary school admissions, and a systematic review of conduct of serious case reviews but it is claimed no spend on these contrary to my knowledge of Departmental procedures (though these may have changed).

 

Department Comments Total No. of Research Projects Cancelled Total No. of Statistical Data Collections Cancelled Total No. Projects Curtailed Key Points
BIS BIS works on a devolved research function model with teams managing and administering work in individual directorates. 0 0 3 Two Employment Relations research contracts pertaining to Insured Legal Advice were curtailed, with some of the planned work now being performed in-house. One element of this Insured Legal Advice research was scaled back from £44,000 to £17,500; and the external evaluation was scaled back from £44,000 to zero.In the Higher Education policy area one project that has been stopped. It is worth noting that this was due to a low response rate to survey and not for financial reasons. The project’s title was: ‘Amplifying the voice of Muslim students – BIS-FOSIS-NUS Muslim student survey 2009’. Its original project cost was £221,399 and this has been reduced to £144,393.

 
 

Department Comments Total No. of Research Projects Cancelled Total No. of Statistical Data Collections Cancelled Total No. Projects Curtailed Key Points
Communities and Local Government Limited cost information provided 15 2 3 £177,373 has been cut through curtailing research on Fire Service and Resilience research and Housing Option Trailblazers.Cancelled projects include: Evaluation of HIPs, Review of Gypsies and Travellers Accommodation Guidance, and Expert Panels for Housing, Planning and Regeneration.
Work and Pensions   6 1 6 £321,400 worth of projects cancelled since May 2010 including Progress2Work Link Up Evaluation, and DWP Tell Us Once Programme.Almost £3.3m worth of research has been curtailed before the completion of the full research design with £612,448 being spent on incomplete research.  Projects included Lone Parent Policy Evaluation (£1.9m original cost, £0 spent), Local Employment Provision Evaluation (£555k original cost, £246k spent up to cancellation), and JobCentre Plus Mystery Shopping (£325k original cost, £228k spent up to cancellation).

 

Appendix 2: Departmental Responses to FOI Requests

Department for Communities and Local Government Response

10 January 2011                                             

Simon TannerBy email                                                 Our Ref:     f0004312Your Ref:   

Dear Simon,

I am writing in response to your e-mail of 7 December 2010 requesting information from the Department of Communities and Local Government about details of cancelled research projects. 

Your request has been considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Answers to your questions are as follows:

Response to Q1

1)     All planned and ongoing (projects that started prior to May 2010) research projects that have been cancelled. 

Project title
Maximising the utility of Fire and Resilience Data and Information
Evaluation of Part M(Access to and use of buildings) of the Building Regulations
Evaluation of Part P – Electrical Safety – of the Building Regulations
Evaluation of Part H – Drainage and Waste Disposal – of the Building Regulations
Evaluation of Part E – Resistance to the Passage of Sound – of the Building Regulations
Evaluation of Part K (protection from falling collision and impact) of the Building Regulations
Evaluation of Part N (Glazing-safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning) of the Building Regulations
Building Regulations – Drivers for Change
Co-ordination of the Communications Strategy for the 2010 Evaluation of the Building Regulations
Review of G&T (Gypsies and travellers)Accommodation Assessment guidance
(2 New) Expert Panels for: Housing & Planning and Regeneration
Policy Impact & Evaluation Expert Panel
Economic and Social Research Council/Cross-Government Subjective Wellbeing and Public Policy Research Centre.
Assessing the effectiveness of spatial transport planning policy and implementation
Evaluation of the effectiveness of Home Information Packs (HIPs)

 

 

Response to Q2

2)     All planned and ongoing (projects that started prior to May 2010) statistical data collections that have been cancelled.

  • The Place Survey
  • The Local Authority Tenant Satisfaction Surveys (STATUS)

 

Response to Q3

3)     All ongoing (projects that started prior to May 2010) research projects that have been stopped before the full contracted research design was completed.

Project title
Expert Panel for Fire and Resilience Directorate
Supporting Performance Improvement in the Fire and Rescue Service
Evaluation of Housing Option Trailblazers

 

Response to Q4

For the curtailed projects in 3) above:

4)     Identify the total difference in £s between the original contracted research costs and the total paid to contractors to the point of cancellation.

Project title Total difference between original contracted cost and total paid to contractor at point of cancellation
Expert Panel for Fire and Resilience Directorate £47,500
Supporting Performance Improvement in the Fire and Rescue Service £38,500
Evaluation of Housing Option Trailblazers £91,373

 

Please note that:
i) The information provided applies to projects and statistical data collections for the DCLG-centre.
ii) It is centrally-held information on social research projects and statistical data collections.
iii) With regard to question 1 (All planned and ongoing [projects that started prior to May 2010] research projects that have been cancelled) we have taken this to mean social research projects that have reached tender stage but have subsequently been cancelled before contract award.

Communities and Local Government as an organisation aims to be as helpful as possible in the way it deals with requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. If, however, you are not satisfied with the way in which your request has been handled or the outcome, you may request an internal review within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Information about the Department’s review procedures and how to apply for an internal review of your case is contained on the Department’s website at http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/corporate/pdf/1384250.pdf. This also explains your right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision in the event that you remain dissatisfied following the Department’s review.

Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted this Department’s Internal Review procedure. The Information Commissioner‘s address and contact details are set out in the above leaflet.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Mitch Smith

Procurement Adviser


Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Response

BIS Ref: 11/0057

 

10 February 2011

Dear Mr Tanner

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Request updated on 12 January 2011 which was received by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills on 13 January.

You have asked for information concerning cancelled or curtailed research projects commissioned or to be commissioned by BIS covering the areas of the Department’s Economic and Social Research Strategy.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’), you have the right to:

  • know whether we hold the information you have requested and;
  • be provided with that information (subject to any exemptions under the Act which may apply).

 

The Department does hold information relevant to your request and we are pleased to provide you with the following details.

BIS has identified three incidents of cancelled or curtailed research projects and/or statistical data collections thus far under the new coalition Government (since 12 May 2010).

Two Employment Relations research contracts pertaining to Insured Legal Advice were curtailed, with some of the planned work now being performed in-house. One element of this Insured Legal Advice research was scaled back from £44,000 to £17,500; and the external evaluation was scaled back from £44,000 to zero.

In the Higher Education policy area one project that has been stopped. It is worth noting that this was due to a low response rate to survey and not for financial reasons. The project’s title was: ‘Amplifying the voice of Muslim students – BIS-FOSIS-NUS Muslim student survey 2009’. Its original project cost was £221,399 and this has been reduced to £144,393.

Appeals Procedure

If you are unhappy with the result of your request for information, you may request an internal review within two calendar months of the date of this email. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact us.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioners Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance.

Kind regards

Chris Bryant

 

 

Christopher Bryant

020 7215 1778

 

 

 
 
 

 


Department of Education Response

Dear Mr Tanner,
Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 26 November. You requested the total number, contracted cost and title of projects which, since 12 May 2010, were in the following categories:1) All planned and ongoing (projects that started prior to May 2010) research projects that have been cancelled.2) All planned and ongoing (projects that started prior to May 2010) statistical data collections that have been cancelled.3) All ongoing (projects that started prior to May 2010) research projects that have been stopped before the full contracted research design was completed.For the curtailed projects in 3) above:

4) Identify the total difference in £s between the original contracted research costs and the total paid to contractors to the point of cancellation.

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A copy of the information is enclosed.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar months of the date of this letter.  Your complaint will be considered by an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original consideration of your request. 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office. 

Yours sincerely

Liz Smith

Analytical Management Team

2 St Paul’s Place

125 Norfolk Street
Sheffield S1 2FJ

Email: liz.smith@education.gsi.gov.uk

Tel: 0114 2742238
 

1) Since 12 May 2010, the research projects which are planned and ongoing (that started prior to May 2010) and have been cancelled are listed below.

Ref No. Title Contracted cost
2008003 Evaluation To Assess The Impact Of The Programme Of Support For Schools And Financial Capability £403,179.00
2008063 Evaluation of the Impact of the Languages Review At Key Stage 4 £326,055.50
2008086 Find Your Talent Programme: Evaluation £675,440.00
2008090 TELLUS Survey £1,331,562.00
2008100 Survey of disabled children’s families to measure Disabled Children’s Services Indicator £2,849,026.00
2008149 Evaluation of the Open School for Languages £173,589.00
2009036 Modern Foreign Languages – campaign awareness and message take out tracking £96,500.00
2009037 Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) campaign awareness and message take out tracking £96,500.00
2009149 Evaluation of Academies £400,045.00
2009193 Evaluation of the Children and Learner Strategic Adviser (CLSA) Service £159,933.00
2009198 Customer Tracking Omnibus – Young People Division Communications Indicators £28,140.00
2009222 Teachers Careers: The Behavioural Impact of Changes to the Economy £185,030.00
2009227 Youth Community Action Evaluation £425,542.50

2) Since 12 May 2010, the statistical data collections which are planned and ongoing (that started prior to May 2010) and have been cancelled are listed below.  

Title Contracted cost
Improving Information Sharing and Management Programme benefits survey £11,000 per year
‘Priority’ schools absence data Nil – all work was done in-house
Youth Taskforce project monitoring Nil – all work was done in-house
Positive Activities for Young People (provision of) Nil – all work was done in-house and used an existing system
Tellus Nil – all work was done in-house
PE and Sport Survey £335,650 in 2009/10; this was the last year of the survey
School and Local Authority Target Setting Nil – all work was done in-house

3) Since 12 May 2010, the research projects which are ongoing (that started prior to May 2010) and have been stopped before the full contracted research design was completed are listed below.

Ref No. Title
2009102 Investigating current trends in school practices in teaching, learning and assessment at key stage 3
2009106 A literature Review on the use of incentives and rewards
2009123 Longitudinal follow-up of children and young people segmentation
2009147 Evaluation of Trust Schools
2009219 Impact of two year old pilot on Foundation Stage Profile
2009226 An investigation into Assessment for Learning and the use of Assessing Pupils’ Progress in schools
2009230 Employer Engagement Measurement
2009231 Evaluation of the 14-19 Prospectus and Common Application Process
2009239 Evaluation of the Transition Support Programme
2009240 Pupil-level school preferences and offers data for secondary school admissions
2010001 Home Education – A Feasibility Study of the Educational Experience and Attainment of Home Educated Children
2010002 Systematic Evaluation of Methodologies for undertaking Serious Case Reviews and other cases that present opportunities for learning
2010009 Tellus Survey 2011-2014
2010010 School-Level Survey Of Parents and Carers For The School Report Card: Feasibility Study

For the curtailed projects in the table above, no funds had been paid to contractors to the point of cancellation. All of the research projects in ‘3’ above were cancelled before any contractor had been appointed.

 


Department for Work and Pensions Response

 

Simon Tannersimon@research-as-evidence.co.uk Your Reference:                                    
Our Ref: FoI 3341
Date:  17 December 2010

 

Dear Mr Tanner

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 26 November 2010. You asked:

Since 12 May 2010 please identify the total number, contracted cost and project title of:

 

1) All planned and ongoing (projects that started prior to May 2010) research projects that have been cancelled.

 

2) All planned and ongoing (projects that started prior to May 2010) statistical data collections that have been cancelled

 

3) All ongoing (projects that started prior to May 2010) research projects that have been stopped before the full contracted research design was completed

 

For the curtailed projects in 3) above:

 

4) Identify the total difference in £s between the original contracted research costs and the total paid to contractors to the point of cancellation

Planned and Ongoing Research Projects Cancellations

 

Background

At the beginning of each operational year, a planned programme of research is agreed with Ministers. A small number of projects are then approved in-year depending on emerging priorities. In the operational year 2010/11 plans were agreed in August due to the election and a new administration. In years without an election it is usually agreed by April. For the programme agreed for 2009/10, most of the projects began in 2009 or early 2010.

 

In the weeks between the general election being announced and the election being held, restrictions are imposed on the types of contract that the Department can let. During this period, DWP only issues contracts that are essential to the running of the Department.

Planned Research Cancellations

The following table contains planned research projects that were on the original 2009/10 research programme or were approved in-year and then were due to be let during April and May 2010, but were put on hold due to the pre-election restrictions that came into force when the election was announced. The letting of these contracts was subsequently cancelled. As the contracts had not yet been let, the prices included in the table are what the Department anticipated the projects would have cost had they gone ahead. There were no costs associated with the cancellation of these planned research projects.

Planned Research Projects that were subsequently cancelled Projected Cost
Progress2Work Link Up Evaluation £100,000
DWP Lean Programme Stakeholder Support £8,400
Baselining Adviser Flexibilities £63,000
Customer Transition Project £50,000
DWP Change Programme – “Third Party Review of Engagement” £50,000
DWP Tell Us Once programme “Language/Planning/People Strengths Identification and Development” £50,000

 

Ongoing Research Cancellations

For the purposes of answering questions 1 and 3 we are taking “ongoing projects that have been cancelled” and “projects stopped before the full contracted research design was completed” to mean the same thing. The following table shows the title of ongoing research projects that have been stopped since 12 May 2010, along with the original contract value, how much the contract will actually cost and the value of the saving.

In the majority of cases where contracts were cancelled, the Department’s project managers negotiated with suppliers to ensure that outputs useful to the Department such as datasets and reports were still produced during the contract notice period.

Ongoing Research Projects  that have been cancelled since 12 May 2010 Contracted Cost Cost at Cancellation Saving
Local Employment Provision Evaluation £555,000 £246,000 £309,000
Balanced Score Card £112,410.55 £17,923.10 £94,487.45
Jobsearch Project £249,963.03 £102,031 £147,932.03
JobCentre Plus Mystery Shopping £325,327 £228,084 £97,243
Lone Parent Policy Evaluation Research £1,926,773  Negotiation ongoing Negotiation ongoing
Customer Insight team – “Provision of DWP Key Drivers Customer Satisfaction Survey”. £98,750 £18,450 £80,300

 

Planned and Ongoing Statistical Data Collection Cancellations

 

Background

Most DWP statistical data is collected using internal administrative databases and systems rather than through external surveys. External suppliers of employment services also provide performance information as part of their contracts with the Department. As a result, only the following ongoing statistical data collection has been cancelled and there have been no planned statistical data collection cancellations. 

Ongoing Statistical Data Collection Cancellations

The following table contains all planned statistical data collections that were cancelled after 12 May 2010.

 

Ongoing Statistical Data Collections  that have been cancelled since 12 May 2010 Contracted Cost Cost at Cancellation Saving
Data for Jobcentre Plus business targets no longer reported against (already in public domain – see link ) No contract. NA NA

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

James Street 

Social Research Framework Team 

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