HC Deb 05 February 1996 vol 271 c10W
Mr. Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the cost of market research undertaken on the name of the new office for national statistics; what were the options considered for the name of this agency; what market research was undertaken; if he will publish the results of this market research; and if he will make a statement; [11629]

(2) what is his estimate of the expenditure by his Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies on market research associated with the renaming of the combined Office of Population Censuses and Surveys and the Central Statistical Office; and if he will make a statement. [13172]

Mrs. Angela Knight

I have asked the director of the Central Statistical Office to write to the hon. Member and will arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.

Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. Malcolm Bruce, dated 5 February 1996:

The Economic Secretary has asked me to reply to your Parliamentary Questions on the cost of market research undertaken in selecting the name of the new Office for National Statistics.

2 The choice of name for the new agency formed by the merger of the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys and the Central Statistical Office is particularly important. Individuals and businesses who will supply the new agency with its data have to recognise it as a safe guardian of data. It must also be widely recognised by users of statistics.

3 In terms of public confidence, the new agency must be identified with professionalism, integrity and independence from governmental control of statistical processes.

4 The existing names of the two organisations had created a measure of confusion in the public's mind as to the roles and functions of each organisation. It is important to create a simple, easily identifiable identity for the new agency. The new name also had to be carefully chosen so as to avoid conflicts with the roles and responsibilities of the territorial statistical services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

5 To help in the difficult task of choosing a name for the new agency that would do all these things, a small scale market research consultancy was commissioned in 1995. This tested possible names amongst a range of users and other interested groups to identify the connotations of various terms, including "Official", "National" and "Government".

6 The clear findings of the market research were that there were strong benefits in using the terms "National" or "UK" rather than "Official" or "Government". This strongly influenced the choice of "Office for National Statistics" as the name for the new agency.

7 Almost all the work associated with publications design, design of a new logo and style of new office stationery was concluded in-house. The total money expended on consultancy advice was £4,250.

8. The research was significantly different from the large scale quantitative enquiries normally carried out by the CSO and is therefore not suitable for publication.

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