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Leap Seconds

Sciencewise co-funded project 2013


The specification of the timescale used throughout the world, currently Co-ordinated Universal Timescale (UTC), must be agreed internationally. Responsibility for this currently resides with a United Nations body - the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The 2012 Radio-Communications Conference of ITU considered a proposal to end the intermittent insertion of Leap Seconds in UTC.

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Impacts & Value

•  Public dialogue influences UK Government international policy position on the retention of leap seconds – June 2015

Project Status

Case study published - March 2016

Evaluation report published - June 2015

Final evaluation of dialogue activities - March 2015

Public dialogue report published - February 2015

What the public said

“I was for changing, but the more complex you hear it becomes and it involves so many different a spects, culture etc... I’m for keeping things the way they are.”
Dialogue participant
“If I hadn’t been to this workshop, I probably wouldn’t have cared either way, but now I know, I feel strongly.”
Dialogue participant
“Just because we won’t we won’t be here, future generations will be, this decision’s important.”
Dialogue participant

Delivered By

National Measurement Office (NMO)
NMO is responsible for managing and developing the National Measurement System (NMS) which is a network of laboratories and processes that provide measurement standards and calibration testing facilities.

OPM is an independent centre for the development of public services and provides consultancy, research and leadership development. OPM is the dialogue contractor for the project.

Hopkins Van Mil
Hopkins Van Mil facilitate engagement to gain insight and offer solutions for participation; public dialogue and community engagement, and is the evaluator for the dialogue.