V2: Accessibility

Statistics and data should be equally available to all, not given to some people before others. They should be published at a sufficient level of detail and remain publicly available.


V2.1 Statistics producers must provide free and equal access to regular and ad hoc official statistics.

V2.2 Statistics, data and related guidance should be easily accessible to users. The needs of different types of users and potential users should be considered when determining ways of presenting and releasing the statistics and data.

V2.3 The needs of people with disabilities must be considered. Statistics and data should be released using accessible communication formats and means which should work with the most commonly-used assistive technologies.

V2.4 Statistics, data and metadata, including those available through data services, should be released at the greatest level of detail that is practicable to meet user needs. They should be consistent with common data standards and protocols wherever possible.

V2.5 Open and transparent information on supplementary statistical services should be made available. Where organisations decide to charge for supplementary analyses, they should make the pricing policy publicly available.

V2.6 Statistics, data and metadata should continue to be publicly available, including when organisational websites are changed, and be archived as required in line with relevant legislation.

Case studies

HM Land Registry is responsible for publishing the UK House Price Index (HPI), a measure that captures changes in the value of residential properties. It does this on behalf of the wider Working Group, which includes the Office for National Statistics, Registers of Scotland and Land and Property Services Northern Ireland.

Together with the main statistical report, HM Land Registry publishes a summary guidance document, About the UK House Price Index, and supporting historic data tables in Comma Separate Value (CSV) format. It has also developed an interactive data tool which allows users to create bespoke data tables. The tool is a dynamic and responsive way for users to access data, and the data in the tool are refreshed monthly.

In response to user feedback, HM Land Registry made a number of improvements to the reports, data tables and the interactive tool, including:

  • Releasing additional breakdowns of data in the CSV tables and linked data, such as house sale volumes for cash/mortgage sales and new/existing properties
  • Publishing revisions tables for the previous 12 months to provide transparency
  • Increasing the data available in the interactive data tool, such as buyer status, property status and funding status breakdowns
  • Introducing new functionality to compare multiple locations through the interactive data tool
  • Promoting the interactive tool, resulting in thousands of new users
  • Introducing additional commentary and download options for all charts and tables including within the reports themselves

Through presenting the statistics and data in different ways, and considering the needs of different users, HM Land Registry has improved the accessibility of the statistics and enhanced the usefulness and value of the data.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) present statistics on Northern Ireland tourism across a number of published reports and through access to data.

The publications are easily digestible and published at a sufficient level of detail with a variety of different tourism measures. The analysis is straightforward and incorporates other relevant information, such as exchange rates and employment figures, in some cases.

NISRA uses infographics well, and provides users with a data visualisation tool alongside Northern Ireland Local Government District Tourism Statistics, which is also available in a mobile version. In most cases the graphical presentation of key statistics enhances their readability and usability.

NISRA released its NI tourism statistics in machine-readable CSV format and made historic statistical reports available to users.  Finally, website navigation was improved by providing access to all its core publications through sidebar web links and consolidated web pages holding supporting information.

The statisticians provide commentary and graphics that engage a wide range of users, not just the expert tourism user.

Guidance and resources

Practical guidance and other resources about communicating and disseminating official statistics. There is also information about networks and events that you get involved in to help improve the way you communicate statistics.Guidance on communicating statisticsGSS
Guidance for producers of official statistics who need to design graphs and tables that are clear, consistent, informative and easy to use. It sets out some principles to think about when visualising and presenting statistical data and illustrates them with examples.Guidance on producing effective graphs and tables in official statisticsGSS
Guidance on how to display statistics in spreadsheets and release statistics in open formats.Releasing Statistics in Spreadsheets: Good Practice GuidanceGSS
Guidance that sets out best practice advice as to how departments should treat management information (MI) in order to get maximum value from it, while protecting public trust in official statistics.National Statistician’s Guidance: Management Information and Official StatisticsGSS
The Government Statistical Service’s (GSS) open data webpage contains policy and guidance, open data e-learning, examples of good practice on making data open and advice on where to go to make data open.GSS open data webpageGSS
A document setting out the GSS’s ambitions for producing open data. This document is scheduled for revision in 2018 to reflect version 2.0 of the Code.Open Data and the Government Statistical ServiceGSS
Guidance on using social media to disseminate statistics. It is designed for departments who want to get started on social media, but may also be helpful for departments already using social media.Guidance on using social media in the GSSGSS
A GSS blog about the work by the Department for Work and Pension’s (DWP) Client Statistics Branch to develop a variety of formats for releasing their statistics, to cover a wide range of users' needs.GSS data blog: Transforming the release of statistics in DWPGSS
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 administrationsUKSA
Published and upcoming official statistics from across UK government, including statistical releases and data tables.gov.uk statistics release calendarUK Government
A Government Digital Service (GDS) blog about understanding accessibility.GDS blog: What we mean when we talk about accessibilityGDS
A GDS blog with tips for designing outputs for a variety of users such as screen readers and those with dyslexia, low vision and physical or motor disabilities.GDS blog: Do’s and don’ts designing for accessibilityGDS
A GDS blog with tips on how to think about colour use in your webpagesGDS blog: Colour contrast and why does it matterGDS
A GDS blog discussing the need to consider the access needs of other people before you can confidently say that your service is accessible.GDS blog: Consider the range of people that will use your product or serviceGDS
A guide by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) that helps producers of statistics explain the sources and methods for producing statistics (metadata).Getting the Facts Right: A guide to presenting metadata (PDF, 19.78MB)UNECE
The UN's Common Metadata Framework concentrates on practical and theoretical aspects of statistical metadata systems.UN Common Metadata FrameworkUN

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