Information disclosure Gateways with other government departments: Office for National Statistics (ONS)
Why share information with the Office for National Statistics?
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the UK Statistics Authority’s executive office. Disclosures may be made to either ONS or the UK Statistics Authority depending on who is specified in the relevant legal gateway.
On 1 April 2008, the UK Statistics Authority took over the responsibilities of the ONS as well as the statistical functions of the Registrar General. It has powers to produce statistics, provide statistical services and promote statistical research.
Under the governance of the UK Statistics Authority, ONS produces a wide range of economic and social statistics and leads the UK government’s statistical services.
The purpose for which information may be disclosed
HMRC has a number of legal gateways permitting it to disclose information to ONS or the UK Statistics Authority:
Section 58 Finance Act 1969 permits HMRC to disclose to ONS names and addresses of employers operating PAYE, and the number of employees paid by the employer under those regulations. Disclosure must be for the purposes of any statistical survey by ONS relating to earnings. Disclosures under this gateway may be made by PT only (or with the authority of PT).
Section 122AA Social Security Administration Act 1992 permits HMRC to disclose to ONS information HMRC holds in connection with contributions, statutory sick pay, statutory maternity pay, statutory (ordinary and additional) paternity pay and statutory adoption pay. Disclosures under this gateway may be made by Personal Tax (PT) only (or with the authority of PT).
Section 91 VAT Act 1994 permits HMRC to disclose certain VAT information to assist ONS in compiling and maintaining a central register of businesses and for the purpose of any statistical survey conducted by the ONS. Only the Head of CT & VAT, within Product and Process Groups, may disclose this information. If an officer from ONS asks you for information under this gateway, you must pass on the request to CT & VAT. See IDG80100 for contact details for CT & VAT (the exchange of information with ONS).
Section 45 Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 permits HMRC to disclose to the Statistics Board (the Statistics Authority) information in connection with any of HMRC’s functions. Disclosure must be for the purposes of the Statistics Board functions. Disclosures under this gateway must not contain personal information other than where it is in connection with the import or export of goods to or from the UK.
Statutory Instrument 2011 No. 2878 The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 (Disclosure of Value Added Tax Information) Regulations 2011 permits HMRC to disclose to ONS certain VAT information for the purposes of improving business and economic statistics. If an officer from ONS asks you for information under this gateway, you must pass on the request to the Data Guardian for the VAT Directorate. See IDG80100 for contact details for the VAT Directorate (the exchange of information with ONS).
Statutory Instrument 2012 No. 1711 The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 (Disclosure of Social Security and Revenue Information) Regulations 2012 permits HMRC to disclose to ONS information it holds in connection with certain revenue payments for the purpose of enabling ONS to establish and test alternative models for census type statistics in the United Kingdom and for the assessment of census returns. Disclosures under this gateway may be made by Personal Tax (PT) or Benefits and Credits (B&C) only (or with the authority of PT or B&C).
This guidance applies to England, Scotland and Wales.
If you receive a request for information and are unsure how to proceed please contact your Data Guardian for advice.
Disclosures between Statistics and Analysis Trade Unit (SATU) and ONS
Contact SATU if you have any queries on this matter (see IDG80100).