Monday 7 July 2014
Office for National Statistics,
Government Buildings, Cardiff
Road, Newport NP10 8XG
Quality and Methodology Information
Title of output:
Gross Domestic Product
Date of last SQR or QMI:August 2012
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org This update is to refresh the Quality and Methodology Information document for Gross Domestic
Product. Linked documents have been updated where required, and the document reflects the latest quality information available. However, a fuller review of this document will be held in Autumn
2014 including a user consultation on the contents, and updates to reflect the move to European
System of Accounts 2010.
Gross domestic product (GDP) is arguably the most important aggregate or summary indicator for the purposes of economic analysis and comparisons over time. It measures total domestic economic activity and can be estimated in three different ways: the production approach; the expenditure approach and the income approach. Data are available on an annual basis back to
1948 and on a quarterly basis, for some of its components, back to 1955.
ONS produces estimates of GDP on both quarterly and annual bases. There are three publication stages for the quarterly estimates: the preliminary estimate (Month 1 (M1)); the second estimate of
GDP (Month 2(M2)) and the UK Quarterly National Accounts (Month 3 (M3)). Annual estimates are
published in the Blue Book publication , usually in July or October.
Further information on GDP and the three approaches can be found in the Guide to National
Accounts Framework and UK National Accounts – A Short Guide , both available on the ONS website. Information on methodological improvements introduced at Blue Book 2013 can be found
in Impact of changes in the National Accounts and economic commentary for 2013 quarter 1 , also available on the ONS website.
This document contains the following sections:
About the output;
How the output is created;
Validation and quality assurance;
Concepts and definitions;
Other information, relating to quality trade-offs and user needs; and
Sources for further information or advice.
Quality and Methodology Information' (QMI) replaced 'Summary Quality Reports' (SQR) from 04/11
This document provides a range of information that describes the quality of the data and details any points that should be noted when using the output.
ONS has developed Guidelines for Measuring Statistical Quality ; these are based upon the five
European Statistical System (ESS) Quality Dimensions. This document addresses these quality dimensions and other important quality characteristics, which are:
Timeliness and punctuality;
Coherence and comparability;
Output quality trade-offs;
Assessment of user needs and perceptions; and
Accessibility and clarity.
More information is provided about these quality dimensions in the sections below.
About the output
(The degree to which statistical outputs meet users’ needs.)
The UK National Accounts provide the basis for analysing the economic performance of the country and are used throughout business and research communities, education, media and the
7 general public. The accounts are major inputs to HM Treasury and Bank of England decisions on fiscal and monetary policy and the forecasts produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility
The UK National Accounts are compiled in accordance with the European System of Accounts
1995 (ESA 95 ), under EU law. ESA 95 is itself consistent with the standards set out in the United
Nations System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA 93) . Significantly, gross national income (GNI) , partially derived from the GDP estimates, determines the UK’s contribution to the EU budget. The