Key historical documents

The key historical documents that have been part of the development of the UK statistical system:

‘Inter Administration Working Agreement on Statistics’ (2013)

Following a review of the Concordat on Statistics, the Government Statistical Service Inter Administration Committee (GSS IAC) concluded that there was a need for a revised overarching framework for cooperation and agreement on statistical related matters that would meet the needs of the four administrations within the UK. During the course of the review, representatives from the National Statistician’s Office, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA – representing the Northern Ireland Executive) provided their views and contributions on appropriate working arrangements and these were incorporated into a draft framework document, hereon referred to as the Inter Administration Working Agreement (IAWA).

Following ratification by the GSS IAC of the revised framework for statistical working and cooperation and its subsequent approval by Ministers responsible for statistics in the Devolved Administrations, the Concordat on Statistics is no longer effective and has been replaced by the Inter Administration Working Agreement (IAWA).

Inter Administration Working Agreement on Statistics – Revised October 2013 (115.8 Kb PDF document)


European Statistics Code of Practice (2011)

The European Statistics Code of Practice sets the standard for developing, producing and disseminating European statistics. First adopted in 2005, a revised version of the Code was endorsed by the European Statistical System Committee in September 2011.

European Statistics Code of Practice (PDF document)


‘National Statistics Code of Practice – Protocols’ (2002-2004)

Twelve Protocols published between 2002 and 2004 to support the National Statistics Code of Practice. They provided management guidance to practitioners on how to implement the principles and standards set out in the Code. Please note that these protocols have now been replaced by the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and are provided for historical purposes only.

National Statistics Code of Practice – Protocols


‘National Statistics Code of Practice – Statement of Principles’ (2002)

This Code was published in 2002 by Len Cook, the (then) National Statistician. It applied to all official statistics designated as ‘National Statistics’ under the provisions of the Framework for National Statistics. Please note that this document has now been replaced by the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and is provided for historical purposes only.

Code of Practice – Statement of Principles (216 Kb PDF document)


‘Framework for National Statistics’ (2000)

This document was published by the Government in June 2000 to mark the introduction of new governance arrangements for official statistics in the UK. These arrangements, which came to be known as the ‘National Statistics’ system, remained in place until 2008 when the Statistics and Registration Service Act came into force. Please note that as this document has been superseded by the 2007 Act and it has been provided for historical purposes only.

Framework for National Statistics (168.2 Kb PDF document)


‘Building trust in Statistics’ (1999)

This ‘White Paper’ was drafted in the light of responses to the Government’s earlier Green Paper, and published in 1999. It set out the Government’s plans for establishing new arrangements for the production of official statistics.

Building Trust in Statistics (196.3 Kb PDF document)


‘Statistics: A Matter of Trust – A Consultation Document’ (1998)

This ‘Green Paper’ was published in 1998. It set out the Government’s ideas for enhancing the integrity of official statistics in the UK.

Statistics: A Matter of Trust


‘Framework Document – Office for National Statistics’ (1996)

This document was published by the Government in 1996 to mark the establishment of the new Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS was created by merging the Central Statistical Office (the CSO – established in 1941) with the Office for Population Censuses and Surveys (the OPCS – established in 1970).

The Office for National Statistics Framework Document (50.4 Kb PDF document)


‘United Nations Fundamental Principles of Statistics’ (1994)

These Principles were adopted by UN member states in 1994.

UN Fundamental Principles (56.3 Kb PDF document)