Code of Practice for Statistics

Voluntary application of the Code

A guide for the Voluntary Application of the Code of Practice for Statistics

Download the draft Guide to Voluntary Application (PDF)


The Guide to Voluntary Application is for those who produce data and statistics that are not official statistics.

It describes how you can apply the framework of the Code of Practice for Statistics – Trustworthiness, Quality, and Value – when producing and releasing your data and statistics, and demonstrate your commitment to maintaining the standards of the Code.

We are currently running an informal consultation on this draft guide and welcome your views. The consultation runs until 22 March 2018. Please email your comments to

Organisations are welcome to start voluntarily applying the Code now.

If you have any questions about the voluntary application of the Code, please contact Penny Babb in the Policy and Standards team at the Office for Statistics Regulation by emailing


The UK Statistics Authority’s Code of Practice for Statistics sets the standards for the people and organisations producing and releasing official statistics, to ensure that government statistics serve the public. But, it also has relevance for those organisations that do not produce official statistics.

The three pillars of the Code – Trustworthiness, Quality and Value – are universal goals that are helpful to anyone producing data, statistics and analysis, whether they are inside or outside government. The pillars and principles are relevant to all kinds of data, such as those published in statistical research, economic analysis and management information.

Thinking about the pillars and principles can help you improve your data and statistics and increase confidence in your information. For example, a government department can use the pillars to help provide clear advice to ministers about evidence. A charity can use the pillars to provide reassurance to its donors about its fundraising and public services.

Voluntary application means that you have publicly committed to demonstrating your organisation’s trustworthiness, reassuring yourself, your organisation and users about the quality of the information, and ensuring that the information serves the intended purposes.

You will have reviewed your organisation’s practices against the Code’s pillars and published a statement saying how far your organisation applies the pillars for all or some of its statistics. The approach is flexible and entirely optional.

The examples so far are from organisations inside government but organisations outside government are also considering applying the Code’s pillars.

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