Leap Seconds 2021-03-31T14:52:00+00:00

Project Description

Project summary

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is the most commonly used timescale for timekeeping in the UK and internationally. UTC adjusts for the irregularity in the earth’s rotation that would otherwise make the timescale out-of-sync with solar time. To keep UTC and solar time synchronised, ‘leap seconds’ are periodically added to UTC. 

A 12-month project running between March 2014 and February 2015 was commissioned by the National Measurement Office (NMO) with the support of Sciencewise. The project explored the diversity and strength of public opinion on maintaining ‘leap seconds’. 

Public dialogue sessions were held in four locations across the UK (Edinburgh, Belfast, Tamworth and Cardiff) and were attended by a total of 111 public participants. Alongside these sessions, two pop-up events in Kingston and Greenwich were held. There was also the additional development of the Leap Seconds Website which promoted public engagement with a wider section of society.

The public dialogue was delivered by OPM Group and the project was independently evaluated by Hopkins van Mill.

The results of the public dialogue informed UK MP’s policy position on ‘leap seconds’.