Background to the research project

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority in partnership with Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership is working with the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) to research the most effective ways to communicate with small and medium sized firms in the Leeds City Region.

The research project is partly funded by the Department of Business, Entrepreneurship and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The research includes an email pilot where selected firms receive an email asking them to compare how well they are doing (i.e. their productivity per employee) compared to other firms in their sector. The researchers used publicly available business data to identify firms for the email pilot.

Q&A

Why are you contacting me?

You received this email as part of a research project testing the most effective ways to get small firms to see how well they are doing compared to competitors. The researchers used publicly available data to identify your firm as a small or medium sized firm in the Leeds City Region. The researchers then arranged for the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership to email you with information about a tool that lets you see how your firm’s performance compares to other firms in your sector.

What data have you used?

We have used two types of data in this project:

  • Business data: WYCA have a database of business data for businesses in the Leeds City Region. The information in this database is pulled from publically available business data (e.g. from websites) and from Companies House. Data includes information on which sector the business is in, the number of employees in the business and whether or not the business is an SME, as well as information from company accounts where publically available.
  • Productivity data: the productivity calculator uses comparisons for firm-level productivity based on the Office of National Statistics measures of firm-level labour productivity by sector in 2016.

One simple way of estimating productivity is to use the following calculations.

Firm-level output = Turnover/sales - intermediate consumption (i.e. cost of inputs such as raw materials)

Productivity: Firm-level output per employee = (Turnover/sales - intermediate consumption) / Number of employees

Some researchers use the term Gross Value Added (GVA) instead of output. For the purposes of this research, we use these two terms interchangeably.

This data focuses on one point in time. We understand that businesses are constantly changing and that, in any given year, there may be exceptional circumstances that can temporarily lower business performance. Nonetheless, on the whole, productivity levels tend not to vary substantially from year to year.

What is productivity?

Productivity generally refers to how efficiently inputs (labour and capital) are used to produce outputs (goods and services). At a company level, output per employee is a good measure of productivity and looks at how much a firm has produced divided by the number of employees working at the firm in a given time period.

At a national level, the only real ways to grow the economy are to increase the number of people in work, or to increase productivity. Productivity growth is therefore critical to national economic performance.

When productivity per employee is measured across firms in the UK, it is possible to see how a firm compares to other firms in their sector.

For example, if a manufacturing firm has a lower level of productivity per employee than the average manufacturing firm in the UK, then there are in all likelihood changes that the firm can make to become more efficient. Ways firms can improve their productivity include:

  • Buying better technology such as software or machinery*
  • Incorporating good management practices such as performance monitoring, target setting, or talent development**

Why should I compare my firm to other firms?  

Businesses often find it helpful to learn from and compare themselves to other firms. Understanding how a firm compares to similar firms can give leaders a benchmark for their performance, which can help set expectations and allow for appropriate target setting.

Privacy Notice

Project title – Testing data-led targeting of low and mid productivity films to increase awareness of performance and support

This notice sets out how we use your personal data, and your rights in relation to the above project.

For the purpose of the Data Protection Act 2018, the data controller is the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). A data controller determines how and why personal data is processed. BEIS are funding projects to collect data for the purposes of the Business Basics Programme. The BEIS privacy notice can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy/about/personal-information-charter#beis-privacy-notices

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (“The Combined Authority”, “we”, “us”) of Wellington House, 40-50 Wellington St, Leeds LS1 2DE (tel: 0113 251 7272) are the responsible statutory body for the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (“LEP”) are data processors and will process this data on behalf of the BEIS. The Combined Authority is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office with registration number ZA051694.

Glass (Telectica Ltd) are sub-processors contracted by the Combined Authority and will process personal data on our behalf. We have contracts in place with our data processors. This means that they cannot do anything with your personal information unless we have instructed them to do it.

YOUR DATA

The data

We will process the following personal data:

  • Names
  • Email addresses

Purpose

The purpose for which we are processing your personal data is to develop a data-led model which will enable low-mid productivity SMEs to find out about their relative productivity performance and the types of activity they might undertake to improve their productivity (both adoption of technology and business practice). Your personal data is collected through techniques such as machine learning and web scraping from company websites and possibly other online presence. This data is publically available.

Legal basis of processing

The legal basis for processing your personal data is:

 (e) Public task: Processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the data controller, such as the exercise of a function of the Crown, a Minister of the Crown, or a government department; the exercise of a function conferred on a person by an enactment; the exercise of a function of either House of Parliament; or the administration of justice. Improving productivity is a central priority to both the national Industrial Strategy and the emerging Local Inclusive Industrial Strategy.

Recipients

As the data controller, BEIS will have access to the data collected as part of this project, e.g. contact details of participants. Unique business identifiers may include; companies house registration numbers, VAT/PAYE number, Unique Tax Reference number, business name, address, SIC code etc. Data may be linked with other administrative data sources (e.g. HMRC data) for long term economic impact analysis, and further evaluation activity, to inform future policy making. This data may also be shared with an external contractor to conduct this analysis on BEIS’s behalf. BEIS will also have access to contact information, in the event of re-contacting participants for further research (e.g. follow up surveys). In limited circumstances the continuum of data will potentially transcend to sole traders.

As your personal data will be stored on the BEIS IT infrastructure it will also be shared with our data processors Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.

As the data processor, the Combined Authority will have access to personal data collected as part of this project.

As a data sub-processor, Glass (Telectica Ltd) will have access to personal data collected as part of this project.

Retention

Your personal data held by BEIS will be retained by the department in line with best practice guidance and standards provided by the National Archives. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/browse-guidance-standards/

Your personal data held by the Combined Authority and Glass (Telectica Ltd)  will be retained for one year.

Where personal data has not been obtained from the data subject

Your personal data was obtained by us from by Glass (Telectica Ltd)

YOUR RIGHTS

You have the right to request information about how your personal data is processed, and to request a copy of that personal data.

You have the right to request that any inaccuracies in your personal data are rectified without delay.

You have the right to request that any incomplete personal data are completed, including by means of a supplementary statement.

You have the right to request that your personal data are erased if there is no longer a justification for them to be processed.

You have the right in certain circumstances (for example, where accuracy is contested) to request that the processing of your personal data is restricted.

You have the right to object to the processing of your personal data where it is processed for direct marketing purposes.

You have the right to object to the processing of your personal data.

INTERNATIONAL TRANSFERS 

Your personal data will not be processed outside the UK and European Economic Area (EEA), or by an international organisation. 

As your personal data is stored on BEIS IT infrastructure, and shared with our data processors Microsoft and Amazon Web Services it may be transferred and stored securely outside the European Economic Area. Where that is the case it will be subject to equivalent legal protection through the use of Model Contract Clauses.

COMPLAINTS

If you consider that your personal data has been misused or mishandled, you may make a complaint to the Information Commissioner, who is an independent regulator.  The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

0303 123 1113

casework@ico.org.uk

Any complaint to the Information Commissioner is without prejudice to your right to seek redress through the courts.

CONTACT DETAILS

The data controller for your personal data is the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). You can contact the BEIS Data Protection Officer at:

BEIS Data Protection Officer
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1 Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0ET

Email: dataprotection@beis.gov.uk

The data processor for your personal data is the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. You can contract the WYCA Data Protection Officer at:

Rebecca Brookes
Wellington House
40-50 Wellington Street
Leeds
LS1 2DE

Email: Rebecca.BrookesDPO@westyorks-ca.gov.uk

Sources

* Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. (2018). Business Productivity Review: Government call for evidence. Policy report. For further examples, see CBI. (2017). From ostrich to magpie: increasing business take-up of proven ideas and technologies. Policy report.

** Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. (2018). Business Productivity Review: Government call for evidence. Policy report. For further examples, see Bloom, N., Lemos, R., Sadun, R., Scur, D., and Van Reenen, J. (2016). International data on measuring management practices. American Economic Review 106(5), 152-156.