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Friday, January 27th, 2023, 12:29 am

ONS Defends Integrity of Data on Deaths Registered Weekly in England and Wales

I am now satisfied that ONS did not tinker with the mortality data. That’s a relief.

Yesterday I wrote about the latest correspondence with ONS. The latest explanation from Anne suggests we were talking about different sheets. In her own words:

Good afternoon, Dr Schestowitz

Thank you for your response.

I have utilised the previous versions tab of the Deaths Registered weekly set to look through this enquiry.

As I explained in the previous email, the undercount affected death occurrences not registrations. Death registrations use the date of death registrations, whereas occurrences use date of death.

This is a screen shot of sheet 1 (Weekly provisional death registrations in England and Wales) published for week 49. Sheet 2 (weekly provisional death registrations by sex and age in England and Wales) also uses death registrations.

On the previous versions tab this is week 49 when you download the excel spreadsheet published 20th December. I have used an arrow to denote the publishing week at the top of the screenshot.

There is no week 50 dataset due to the festive period, therefore week 51 contains both week 50 and week 51 data.

ONS image 1

This version of Sheet 1 (registrations) was superseded with week 50 and 51 data on 5th January 2023. As you rightly point out there is no change to the registration data for week 49, this is because the undercount did not affect death registrations.

ONS image 2

However, on Sheet 11 which uses death occurrences (date of death) we published 10,565 death occurrences in week 49 on the 20th December with a note explaining the undercount was due to a processing error.

ONS image 3

With the next publication on 5th January, publishing week 50 and 51 data we corrected the undercount and published 12,109 death occurrences for week 49.

ONS image 4

The majority of worksheets within weekly death publication use Registration data, which is why the update in week 51 may not have been overtly visible.

I hope this answers your question and please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Kind regards


“Thank you, Anne,” I said. “That’s a very detailed and satisfactory explanation. I will use it to relay a clarification on what happened and why there’s no reason to doubt the accuracy of this data. PS – the work you do is very important at this time.”

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