Code of Practice for Statistics

T3: Orderly release

Organisations should commit to releasing their statistics in an open and transparent manner that promotes public confidence.


T3.1 The release of both regular and ad hoc official statistics should be pre-announced through a 12-month release calendar, giving a specific release date at least four weeks in advance where practicable.

T3.2 Changes to pre-announced release dates or times should be agreed by the Chief Statistician/Head of Profession for Statistics. Any changes should be announced promptly, explaining the reasons for the change.

T3.3 Access to statistics before their public release should be limited to those involved in the production of the statistics and the preparation of the release, and for quality assurance and operational purposes. Accurate records of those who have access before they are finalised should be maintained.

T3.4 The circulation of statistics in their final form ahead of their publication should be restricted to eligible recipients, in line with the rules and principles on pre-release access set out in legislation for the UK and devolved administrations. The details of those granted access should be recorded, together with clear justifications for access. No indication of the statistics should be made public and the statistics should not be given to any other party without prior permission for access. The list of recipients should be reviewed regularly and kept to a minimum.

T3.5 Statistics and data should be released on a timely basis and at intervals that meet the needs of users as far as practicable. The statistics should be released as soon as they are considered ready, under the guidance of the Chief Statistician/Head of Profession for Statistics.

T3.6 Statistics should be released to all users at 9.30am on a weekday.

T3.7 The name and contact information of the lead statistician or analyst responsible for production should be included in the published statistics.

T3.8 Policy, press or ministerial statements referring to regular or ad hoc official statistics should be issued separately from, and contain a prominent link to, the source statistics. The statements should meet basic professional standards of statistical presentation, including accuracy, clarity and impartiality. The lead statistician or analyst should advise on the appropriate use of the statistics within these statements.

T3.9 Scheduled revisions or unscheduled corrections to the statistics and data should be released as soon as practicable. The changes should be handled transparently in line with a published policy.

Description Link Source
How to report a breach against the Code of Practice for Statistics for when an organisation fails to meet the standards set out in the Code. Breaches should be reported to the Government Statistical Service’s (GSS) Good Practice Team. Reporting a breach of the Code of Practice for Statistics UKSA
Guidance on what you need to know, the process to report a breach and the template to complete and submit to the Good Practice Team. Guidance on reporting a breach of the Code of Practice for Statistics UKSA
A list of the common breaches of the Code of Practice for Statistics with considerations to reflect and corrective actions to take. How to avoid common breaches of the Code of Practice for Statistics UKSA
Examples of published breach reports. Breach reports UKSA
National Statistician’s guidance on the publication and release of management information (MI) and official statistics. It includes information on the value of MI and the importance of proportionality and equality of access. National Statistician’s Guidance: Management Information and Official Statistics (PDF) UKSA
A list of pre-release access orders. These orders set out the principles and rules that govern pre-release access to official statistics in their final form before publication. Pre-Release Access Orders, including devolved administrations UKSA
A case study that demonstrates how the Office for National Statistics (ONS) worked with devolved administrations to inform the independent review into the State Pension Age. Devolution and good practice in official statistics case study UKSA
Published and upcoming official statistics from across UK government, including statistical releases and data tables. statistics release calendar UK Government

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