Code of Practice for Statistics

V3: Clarity and insight

Statistics and data should be presented clearly, explained meaningfully and provide authoritative insights that serve the public good.


V3.1 Statistics, data and explanatory material should be relevant and presented in a clear, unambiguous way that supports and promotes use by all types of users.

V3.2 Statistics should be accompanied by a clear description of the main statistical messages that explains the relevance and meaning of the statistics in a way that is not materially misleading. They should be illustrated by suitable data visualisations, including charts, maps and tables, where this helps aid appropriate interpretation of the statistics.

V3.3 Comparisons that support the appropriate interpretation of the statistics, including within the UK and internationally, should be provided where useful. Users should be signposted to other related statistics and data sources and the extent of consistency and comparability with these sources should be explained to users.

V3.4 Advice should be given about the appropriate use of the statistics and data. The lead statistician or analyst should be visible and approachable to users, be encouraged to explain the statistics publicly and support their use.

V3.5 Statistics producers should collaborate with experts and producers of related statistics and data to provide a comprehensive and coherent narrative for the statistical topic.

Description Link Source
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 statistics GSS
Guidance on how to use a standard and straightforward way of assessing comparability of their statistics with other parts of the UK. It also allows users to better understand what is comparable so that they can quickly get to the numbers they want. Guidance on comparing official statistics across the UK GSS
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 statistics GSS
Guidance on how to display statistics in spreadsheets and release statistics in open formats. Releasing Statistics in Spreadsheets: Good Practice Guidance GSS
National Statistician’s guidance on interpreting and implementing the principles and practices of Code which relate to the quality and methodological basis of their official statistics. This document is scheduled for revision in 2018 to reflect version 2.0 of the Code. National Statistician’s Guidance: Quality, Methods, and Harmonisation (2009) GSS
A webpage with links to a series of guidance documents on harmonisation, including what harmonisation is and its aims, the Harmonisation Handbook and the GSS Harmonised Principles. Harmonisation within the GSS webpage GSS
Guidance for statistical output areas across the GSS for best practice in relation to the release of statistical publications. This document is scheduled for revision in 2018 to reflect version 2.0 of the Code. Guidance for the GSS on Preparing First Releases GSS
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 Service (2012) GSS
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) guide on Making Data Meaningful is intended as a practical tool to help managers, statisticians and media relations officers use text, and visualisations to bring statistics to life for non-statisticians. It contains suggestions, guidelines and examples. A UNECE guide to Making Data Meaningful UNECE


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