I am very pleased to say that we received more than 100 formal and informal responses to our Code of Practice consultation. These have come in via our formal consultation questionnaire, as well as through comments in emails. I and my colleagues have also gained valuable insight through many conversations and discussions in our road-trip of seminars and meetings with many statistics producers and user groups. I was encouraged to see just how many of you attended these events and it was really good to hear your views – thank you!
We now are working our way through the detail of the feedback and beginning to compile our consultation response. We have a lot of work to do. Your feedback has proven a rich source of constructive criticism and ideas for further improving the Code. Everyone involved in this work here in the Office very much feels the strength of a common resolve to produce a Code that can support public confidence in data and statistics.
Here is an outline of the responses we have received.
- We had lots of comments about the Trustworthiness, Quality and Value (TQV) framework. Some supported it as being clear and supporting the public value of statistics for citizen; others felt that it needed to be clarified, extended or amended. Our overall view is that respondents see the framework as helpful, particularly in giving a succinct overview of what producers of statistics should be aiming for; but that there is a lot of subtlety we need to bring out in how the framework is explained and applied.
- We received interest from a range of organisations in voluntary compliance but we were also told that there is a need for a clearer explanation of how the Code should be applied beyond Official Statistics by producers and us.
- The Code was largely found to be clear but with some areas of repetition in the sections where we targeted difference audiences (relating to our wider advocacy of the Code to non-official statistics producers, both inside and outside government).
- The Trustworthiness pillar can be further refined in relation to orderly release, independence, data governance and consent. Respondents asked for clarification on Pre-Release Access.
- The Quality pillar can be further refined in relation to improving its applicability to all data types, including emerging ways of obtaining data, and to better reflect the nature of the coherence principle as a cross-cutting topic.
- The Value pillar can be enhanced by more fully capturing the dimension of timeliness; better reflecting value for money and public benefit in relation to statistics production; as well as, clarifying the Code’s relevance to different ways of publishing data and statistics.
- The data diagnostic tool was generally welcomed and thought to be useful by expert users and statistics producers.
- There was strong support in the role of the Authority as the independent regulator, as well as an advocate of good practice across all publishers of data and statistics. There was a request for clarity over the ways in which it can challenge misuse of statistics and poor practice.
Thank you again for sharing your thoughts about the Code – keep an eye on our blog for a further update about how we plan to address some of these comments. We hope to publish our consultation response in November.