Code of Practice for Statistics

V4: Innovation and improvement

Statistics producers should be creative and motivated to improve statistics and data, recognising the potential to harness technological advances for the development of all parts of the production and dissemination process.


V4.1 Statistics producers should keep up to date with developments that can improve statistics and data. They should be transparent in conducting their development activities, and be open about the outcomes and longer-term development plans.

V4.2 Statistics producers should consider testing and releasing new official statistics initially as experimental statistics, under the guidance of the Chief Statistician/Head of Profession for Statistics.

V4.3 Users should be involved in the ongoing development of statistics and data, exploring and testing statistical innovations, so that the statistics remain relevant and useful.

V4.4 Statistics producers should seek to collaborate with other producers, including within the UK and internationally, when developing their statistics, overcoming practical obstacles, and sharing best practice.

V4.5 Statistics producers should keep up to date with developments that might improve methods and quality. They should assess the added value of potential improvements and consider the likely impact on the statistics, including in relation to comparability and coherence.

V4.6 Producers should commit to improve data presentation, enhance insight, and better meet the needs of different types of users and potential users in the dissemination of their statistics and data.

V4.7 New and innovative ways to engage users, potential users and other stakeholders should be considered and adopted as appropriate.

The Reproducible Analytical Pipeline (RAP) was developed by the Government Digital Service (GDS). It’s an innovation that automates some activities within the statistical production and publication processes – specifically, the narrative such as the highlights, graphs and tables. It’s based on algorithms that work the basic data up into a statistical release, thus freeing up resources to further analyse the data.

RAP also enables departments to develop and share high-quality reusable components of their statistics processes. This ‘reusability’ contributes to greater consistency and quality across government, and reduced duplication of effort.

Ministry of Justice, Department for Education, and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport have produced statistical releases and associated commentary through the use of RAP. The Information Services Division in Scotland developed a similar tool for their purposes.

This collaboration between data science and traditional data analysis is an innovation in the statistical production process. It leads to efficiency, and creates opportunities to provide further insight into the data.

Description Link Source
A resource for official statistics producers to develop their knowledge and understanding of the broad range of methodological approaches used across the Government Statistical Service (GSS). GSS website methodology section GSS
Government Digital Service (GDS) guidance on using social media in the public sector. It aims to raise awareness of the digital transformation of government services and to share GDS best practice. Social Media Playbook GDS
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 GSS (PDF) GSS
Guidance that sets out the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) policy on experimental statistics. Experimental statistics are a subset of new developed or innovative official statistics undergoing evaluation. Guidance on experimental statistics (PDF) GSS
An overview of the work that the Department for Work and Pension’s (DWP) Client Statistics Branch has done to develop a variety of formats for releasing their statistics to cover the wide range of our user’s needs. GSS data blog: DWP – Transforming release statistics GSS
Guidance on the UK Government's design principles and examples of how they've been used, from starting with user needs to designing with data. Government design principles UK Government
National Statistician’ guidance on interpreting and implementing the principles and practices of Code of Practice 1.0. This document will be updated to better reflect Code of Practice 2.0, but producers will still find it useful. National Statistician’s Guidance: Quality, Methods, and Harmonisation (2009) (PDF) UKSA
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
A quarterly newsletter that provides updates on harmonisation practice in business and social surveys and any other relevant information. GSS harmonisation newsletter GSS

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