Celebrating one year since the refresh of the Code of Practice for Statistics

This time last year, the UK Statistics Authority launched the refreshed Code of Practice for Statistics. 

The refreshed Code has supported and developed thinking on statistics as a public asset based on three pillars – Trustworthiness, Quality and Value.

This has enabled users and producers to have a set of principles that underpin independent statistics production and presentation, ensuring confidence in this essential public asset. This is important because statistics frame public debate. They inform public understanding of what’s going on in the world. They help provide a basis for people to make decisions – whether as policy makers, citizens, professionals or businesses. And they create a common ground for debate – about what’s working, what isn’t working and what needs to change.

 

Speaking on the first anniversary:

Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority said: “It’s essential that people can have confidence in the statistics produced by Government. The Code of Practice for Statistics aims to provide the framework to ensure that statistics are trustworthy, good quality, and valuable. Statistics will serve the public good if producers follow the principles and practices set out in the Code.”

Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation said: “In a world of abundant data people want to sift the useful information from the unreliable. The principles of trustworthiness, quality and value really support this aim – and this is why the Code has been endorsed widely inside and outside Government.”

 

Guest blogging on the first anniversary:

Sir David Spiegelhalter, Former RSS President said: “A personal highlight of my last year as RSS President was the new Code of Practice for Statistics … Its emphasis on the trustworthiness of statistics gets to the core of what we are about as a community.” You can read Sir David’s blog here.

John Pullinger, National Statistician said: “The real power of the code is as an antidote to the narratives about loss of trust in institutions in general and in the use of data in particular.” Read John’s blog here.

Steve Ellerd-Elliot, Head of Profession at the Department for Work and Pensions said: “A new aspect of the Code that we have embraced is voluntary application to extend trustworthiness, quality and value to statistics that we routinely publish statistics on benefits, employment programmes and other important subjects that aren’t Official or National statistics.” You can read Steve’s blog here.

 

Note for Editors

The refreshed Code is available in three formats: as a booklet, an online PDF and a newly developed interactive code with case study examples – please visit here.

The Code of Practice for Statistics is an important tool in protecting official statistics by setting the standards which must be met to ensure the public can have confidence in them.

The Code standards are used:

  • by statisticians, and other analysts when producing and publishing official statistics;
  • by the Office for Statistics Regulation when determining whether official statistics can be called National Statistics;
  • by the Authority when publicly challenging the misuse of statistics;
  • to support judgements about the publication of wider numerical information; and
  • to enable statistics that are not currently National or Official statistics to voluntarily apply the principles and support users.

If you have an enquiry or require further information about the refreshed Code of Practice please email the regulation team.

We need you!

We are always trying to improve the service we provide to our users, and as part of this we are running a short user research study to help improve our website.

If you use our website and would like to share your views with us, please complete this short survey below. The survey is open for responses until Friday 8th March.

Complete the survey here.

 

To understand how we will be using your data for this project, please read the privacy policy here:

User Research Privacy Policy

The Social Metrics Commission Voluntarily Adopts the Code of Practice for Statistics

The Office for Statistics Regulation is pleased to announce that the Social Metrics Commission has become one of the latest organisations to publish a statement of voluntary compliance with the UK Statistics Authority’s Code of Practice for Statistics.

This demonstrates the Commission’s full commitment to applying the pillars of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value which underpin the Code. The Commission is one of the first non-Government bodies to voluntarily comply with the pillars of Authority’s Code of Practice.

Ed Humpherson, the Director General for Regulation at the Office for Statistics Regulation said: “I am delighted that the Social Metrics Commission has chosen to apply the pillars of the Code of Practice for Statistics to prepare their new poverty measure. They set a strong example of how to be transparent, reassure users and ensure high standards.”

Philippa Stroud, Chair of the Social Metrics Commission said: “Our approach to measuring poverty is underpinned by the need to build consensus and trust in their work and the analysis they produce. The Commission hopes to play a central role in improving the measurement of poverty in the UK, and consequently, drive better outcomes for people and families who are struggling to make ends meet.”

To see the latest list of organisations to voluntarily adopt the Code or find out more voluntary application please visit the online Code or contact regulation@statistics.gov.uk.

Appointment of Sian Jones as Deputy Chair of the Authority

The UK Statistics Authority is pleased to announce the appointment of Sian Jones as the new Deputy Chair of the UK Statistics Authority. She replaces Professor Sir Adrian Smith, who stepped down from the role in December 2018, and who continues to serve as a member of the Authority Board.

Sian Jones joined the Authority as a non-executive member of the UK Statistics Authority Board, starting post on 1 July 2016 for a period of three years. Sian has been re-appointed for a further five years, ending on 1 July 2024.

John Pullinger plans to retire as National Statistician in June

John Pullinger plans to retire as the UK’s National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority in June 2019, after 5 years as Permanent Secretary.

 

Mr Pullinger took up post as the UK’s National Statistician on 1 July 2014, having previously served as House of Commons Librarian and President of the Royal Statistical Society.

In the period since Mr Pullinger has helped to mobilise the power of data in the UK, overseeing:

  • the introduction of the Digital Economy Act 2017, to enable better use of data and clearer assurance for the public on how data are being used;
  • the establishment of the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence, and improvements to statistics on productivity, prices and trade;
  • the launch of the Data Science Campus in Newport, to explore new data sources and techniques; and
  • preparations for the UK’s first predominantly online Census, with the most ambitious target in the world for online data-collection.

 

Reflecting on his five years in post, Mr Pullinger said:

“It has been a joy to work with such a brilliant group of people over the last few years and to think about leaving gives cause for reflection.

“As a team we have renewed our economic statistics so that they can keep pace with the evolving modern economy. We have rethought data collection and the census so that we can deliver much more helpful insights to guide public policy. And we have built our data capability through development of people, infrastructure and systems.”

 

Speaking today, Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, paid tribute to the work of Mr Pullinger:

“While John won’t be retiring until June, on behalf of the Board and staff of the UK Statistics Authority I would like to give huge thanks to John for all that he has achieved.

“John has been an inspiring leader to analysts not just in ONS but right across government, transforming the evidence available to decision-makers across the UK.

“His reforms will stand us all in good stead for years to come.”

 

An open competition to appoint Mr Pullinger’s successor will be launched shortly.

Re-appointment of Professor Sir Adrian Smith FRS

The UK Statistics Authority is pleased to announce the re-appointment of Professor Sir Adrian Smith as a non-executive member of the UK Statistics Authority Board, and Deputy Chair of the UK Statistics Authority.

Sir Adrian’s re-appointment was approved under the provisions of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. He has been re-appointed for a period of two years, ending on 31 August 2020.

Appointments to the Board of the UK Statistics Authority

The UK Statistics Authority warmly welcomes the appointment of Professor Sir Ian Diamond and Professor Anne Trefethen as non-executive members of the UK Statistics Authority Board.  Both have been appointed for four-year terms, commencing today.

Speaking today, Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Ian and Anne as non-executive members of the UK Statistics Authority. Ian’s experience working within the research community and Anne’s experience on numerical algorithms will be of enormous benefit to the UK Statistics Authority Board, as we work to mobilise the power of data.”

For more information please contact: +44 (0)7818 011 583.


Notes for editors:

The UK Statistics Authority is an independent body operating at arm’s length from government as a non-ministerial department, directly accountable to Parliament. It was established on 1 April 2008 by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

The Authority’s statutory objective is to promote and safeguard the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good. It is also required to promote and safeguard the quality and comprehensiveness of official statistics, and ensure good practice in relation to official statistics.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond FBA FRSE FAcSS
Professor Sir Ian Diamond was Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen from 2010 to 2018.  He was previously Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research (ESRC) Council and, from 2004 to 2009, Chair of the Research Councils UK Executive Group (2004-2009).   Before joining the ESRC, Sir Ian was Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Southampton, where he had been for most of his career.

Sir Ian is Chair of British Universities and Colleges Sport, Chair of Edinburgh College of Further Education, Chair of Plan International UK and a Board member of UK Research and Innovation. He chaired the Welsh Assembly Government of the Higher Education Review for Wales reporting in 2016.  Sir Ian was elected to the UK Academy of Social Sciences in 1999, is a Fellow of the British Academy (2005), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2009) and holds honorary degrees from the universities of Cardiff, Glasgow and Curtin. 

Ian was appointed to the UK Statistics Authority Board on 7 June 2018, for a four-year term.

Professor Anne Trefethen FBCS FREng

Anne Trefethen is a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor of Scientific Computing and Fellow of St Cross College at the University of Oxford.   Prior to being appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Gardens, Libraries and Museums) in January 2015, she was appointed as the University’s first Chief Information Officer in March 2012.

Anne joined the University to lead the creation of the Oxford e-Research Centre where she served as the Director for over 6 years.  Her research has been focused on high-performance numerical algorithms and large-scale scientific applications.  She has contributed to the fields of parallel numerical algorithms, software design and engineering and most recently to energy-aware algorithms. Before coming to Oxford in 2005, she was a Director of the UK e-Science Core Programme working with the Research Councils and DTI (now Innovate UK). She has spent ten years in the US at Thinking Machines Inc. and as Associate Director at the Theory Centre, Cornell University.

Anne was appointed to the UK Statistics Authority Board on 7 June 2018, for a four-year term.

Re-appointment of Professor David Hand OBE FBA

The UK Statistics Authority is pleased to announce the re-appointment of Professor David Hand as a non-executive member of the UK Statistics Authority Board.

Professor Hand’s re-appointment was approved under the provisions of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. He has been re-appointed for a period of three years, ending on 1 April 2021.

Changes to our website

Removal of the National Statistician section

The content currently provided under the National Statistician section will be moved to the About menu. At the same time we will remove some duplication.

As part of this move, we are re-writing our About content to be more concise and structured. This includes breaking up blocks of text and using best practice for header sizes, so that our pages read well for screen-readers.

We will set up re-directs for the existing links. This means anyone who has bookmarked the original link will be automatically taken to the content’s new home.

When?

4pm, 16 February 2018

We don’t anticipate any downtime.

Why?

Our users have fed back that they don’t expect the content in this section to be where it is… so they don’t find it. This includes insights from user testing and feedback given via our online form. They expect this content to be on the GSS site or within the About section, under What We Do or UK Statistical System. As a result, the National Statistician menu will be disappearing and the content within moved to our About section. The policy store will move to the GSS website later this year.

At the same time we will re-write some content to increase readability, leading to greater understanding of the UK Statistics Authority’s remit and mission.

This will also improve the search function on our site, preventing it from bringing up irrelevant items in search results. Having a more manageable structure means it will be quicker and easier to maintain and update content. This allows us to maximise our publishing resources and take a more strategic approach to increasing user engagement.

 


Update 4 January 2018

We have sucessfully moved all Committees and panels content to our new Committees section. Re-directs are in place for old existing links. This means if you have saved any old links you will be automatically taken to new links.

 


Update 3 January 2018

We have sucessfully moved Data Ethics Advisory Committee, Administrative Data Research Network and Crime Statistics Advisory Committee content to our new Committees section. Re-directs are in place for old existing links. This means if you have saved any old links you will be automatically taken to the content’s new home. Content for Advisory Panels on Consumer Prices: Stakeholder and Technical is on track to move at 5pm, 4 January 2018

 


What will change?

There will be a new section for Committees and Panels, which will sit on our About the Authority menu. The current content will be moved from the National Statistician menu to the new section.

The content itself will not change, but the web page addresses will. We are setting up re-directs for the existing links. This means if you have saved the original link you will be automatically taken to the content’s new home.

For example, instead of links for the Crime Statistics Advisory Committee starting like this: https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/national-statistician/ns-reports-reviews-guidance-and-advisory-committees/national-statisticians-advisory-committees/crime-statistics-advisory-committee

You would be redirected to: https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/about-the-authority/committees/national-statisticians-crime-statistics-advisory-committee

When will it change?

3 January 2018: Data Ethics Advisory Committee, Administrative Data Research Network and Crime Statistics Advisory Committee.

4 January 2018: Advisory Panels on Consumer Prices: Stakeholder and Technical.

The changes are being done in the background, so there should not be any downtime.

Why is this changing?

Our users have fed back that they don’t expect the content in this section to be where it is… so they don’t find it. Users expected to find this content in the same menu as the Board content, so we are re-locating it to match these expectations. The new Committees section will also take fewer clicks to access.

 

Please help us improve our website by answering a few quick questions.