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The Scottish Government Using Administrative Data in the Housing Supply Indicator Claire Boag, Communities Analytical Services Outline Who we are Pros and cons of administrative data NI 32 – Increase the rate of new house building. What does that actually mean? New build components

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the scottish government

The Scottish Government

Using Administrative Data in the Housing Supply Indicator

Claire Boag, Communities Analytical Services

  • Who we are
  • Pros and cons of administrative data
  • NI 32 – Increase the rate of new house building. What does that actually mean?
  • New build components
  • Conversions
  • Refurbishments
  • Things to consider
housing statistics branch
Housing Statistics branch
  • Collect, analyse and disseminate housing data
  • 20 administrative returns from local authorities:
    • Local authority housing management
    • Changes to stock levels
    • Right to buy sales
    • New house building
  • Also have access to administrative data collected by others:
    • Housing Benefit / Market Evidence
    • Housing Association new build
    • Landlord Registration
advantages of administrative data
Advantages of administrative data
  • Low costs of obtaining data from an existing source.
  • Faster and more frequent analysis may be possible.
    • In particular, the time between an event occurring and being recorded
    • Eg - most housing stats data available immediately (exceptions include private new build)
    • frequency – eg. quarterly figures for local authorities could be difficult to achieve with a survey without huge expense
  • Sometimes more detailed figures are available
    • Eg - for geographical areas where data has geographic referencing
  • No statistical sampling errors or non-response bias.
  • Doesn’t rely on memory of respondent.
disadvantages of administrative data
Disadvantages of administrative data
  • Effort may be needed to make administrative sources useable for statistical purposes.

Eg – estimating missing values, getting rid of redundant data, linking to other data sources

  • Lack of independence – not controlled by statisticians.
  • Definitions and classifications may often not be ideal for statistical purposes.

Eg - data on housing association starts is actually based on approvals.

  • Coverage of the data may not be complete and it may be difficult to make comparisons with other statistics.

Eg – landlord registration database

Eg – HB claimants from RRS v DWP

  • Changes in provider data systems may cause discontinuities.

Eg – housing list cleaning or system improvements

  • There may be some danger of interruption to the supply of data.

Eg - staff turnover in LAs

Eg – IT problems

  • There may be constraints on the use of data

Eg – Market Evidence Database

housing supply indicator
Housing supply indicator
  • Data on housing supply informs National Indicator 32 (Increase the rate of new house building), and comprises the following elements:
    • new house building: houses completed by or for housing associations, local authorities or private developers for below market rent or low cost home ownership; houses completed for market sale by private developers.
    • refurbishment: houses acquired by housing associations and refurbished either for rent or low cost home ownership. Refurbishment of private dwellings funded wholly or partly through the Affordable Housing Investment Programme.
    • conversion: new dwellings created by conversion from non-housing to housing use.
housing supply indicator7
Housing supply indicator

Terminology issues

  • Increase the rate of new house building
    • Uses absolute numbers not rates
    • Includes new housing provided through other means
private new build data
Private new build data
  • Data provided on a quarterly basis by local authorities via the NB2 return.
  • Can be based on different data/methods in each LA though each should be consistent over time.
  • No marked seasonality but data for individual quarters is volatile therefore quarterly change unreliable
local authority new build data
Local authority new build data
  • Data provided on a quarterly basis by local authorities via the NB1 return.
  • Council house building limited in recent years, therefore numbers small and data volatile
  • Errors fairly unlikely since numbers low
housing association new build data
Housing association new build data
  • Data provided on a quarterly basis by HID colleagues from the AHIP database
  • Data provided by those involved with managing the developments therefore quality higher than private new build.
  • Very volatile
annual new build
Annual new build
  • Annual new build data much less volatile – change more clearly shown
  • Issues - Need to watch out for duplication across sectors
    • LA new build with AHIP funding
    • Purchase of private new build by LA for social rent
  • Collected from local authorities through annual return
  • This is proxy data – we only have information on housing association refurbishments and private refurbishments receiving public subsidy.
  • All other private refurbishments (resulting in addition to housing supply) are excluded
things to consider 1
Things to consider (1)

How and why was the data collected?

  • Private and local authority new build
    • Paper based returns, produced purely for the SG. Data tends not to be heavily used within the councils (with a few exceptions).
    • Labour intensive, burdensome return
    • Based on a combination of completion certificates, site visits and council tax assessors data
    • Smaller, more urban local authorities are more likely to use site visits, large rural authorities need to rely on completion certificates
    • There is anecdotal evidence that there are issues with completion certificates in some councils, eg: self-builders have no incentive to apply for a certificate. Often long delays between ‘effective’ completion and legal completion.
things to consider 2
Things to consider (2)

How and why was the data collected?

  • Housing association new build and refurbishments
    • Information collected by SG Housing Investment Division to monitor Affordable Housing Investment Programme.
    • Data extracted from live database, and HID carry out quality assurance checks before passing it on.
    • Delays in the recording of completions mean that the data is subject to annual revisions each March, therefore quarterly or calendar year monitoring inappropriate.
  • Conversions
    • Information on conversions are provided by local authorities on the annual Stock4 return.
    • Data is provided in summary form, therefore there is little scope for us to check the accuracy, other than to compare with other LAs and over time
    • Difficulty collecting information from local authorities
things to consider 3
Things to consider (3)

Is there a consistent time series of estimates?

  • Private and local authority new build
    • Information has been collected in its current form since 1986.
    • Issues with data for Highland – new source used, but revisions made back to 2000 so no issues with consistency in recent years.
    • If a local authority changes the way it collects or records the information, we will only know if they tell us.
  • Housing association new build and refurbishments
    • provided since 1992
    • Changes afoot with HA starts – we will need to consider creating consistent back series
  • Conversions
    • Consistent at least since 2001. Prior to that was collected as part of new build data. No obvious inconsistencies
  • Know how the data is collected
    • More scope for error with paper based collection
    • Data that is difficult to collect will be more error prone
  • Know why the data is collected and how it’s used by the provider
    • The more it’s used by the data provider, the more accurate it should be
  • Understand the nature of volatility in the data
    • Is it a real change or a data artefact?
    • Investigate unexpected peaks and troughs
  • Know whether there are definitional or system changes that would cause a discontinuity in a time series

Email, or

Telephone: 0131 244 7234

Fax: 0131 244 0446


Communities Analytical Services (Housing Statistics) Area 1-F Dockside Scottish Government Victoria Quay Edinburgh EH6 6QQ