Voluntary Application update

On 9 May 2018, the Office for Statistics Regulation hosted an event to discuss voluntary application of the Code of Practice for statistics.

Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation said:

“This event was full of energy and potential for a variety of organisations from public, private and the third sector – who are currently considering how they could voluntarily adopt the pillars that underpin the Code of Practice for statistics ‘Trustworthiness, Quality and Value.’

“This was the first public discussion we have held on voluntary adoption to explain our thinking, share examples so far, answer questions and find out what people wanted to know. We will continue this dialogue over the coming months, reaching out and supporting all those organisations who think their work could benefit from this completely new and exciting extension of the Code.”

The event was introduced by Sir David Norgrove and Ed Humpherson, giving their visions for the extension of the Code. They were followed by:

Tracey Brown, Director of Sense about Science, who said: “It was a good event and showed tangible evidence of leadership in the voluntary application – very rewarding to be part of it.”

Richard Laux, Deputy Director of Data at the Race Disparity Unit. He said: “voluntary application is good idea, it will flourish.”

Tom Davies, Acting Head of Profession for Statistics, DWP, and Katie Dodd, DWP Head of Profession Support. Both said: “It was a good idea to organise this event, and we were glad to present on how DWP is voluntarily applying the code to wider outputs.”

We also welcomed some Heads of Profession for Statistics and Deputy Heads of Profession for Statistics, who shared their valuable experience and examples of using the Code with the extremely receptive audience. There was also a table session, where guests were split into smaller groups to discuss voluntary application.

Following the event we have had some promising feedback from organisations preparing the ground to become voluntary adopters in the near future.

If you are interested in knowing more about voluntary application of the Code or have questions please contact regulationsupport@statistics.gov.uk

Download the presentations (PDFs)

Ed Humpherson: Public confidence in statistics, data and analysis

Tracey Brown: Are people reassured? Or reassurable?

Richard Laux: Benefits and influencing others to adopt Trust, Quality and Value

Tom Davies and Kate Dodd: Voluntary application of the Code of Practice for Statistics in DWP







International migration roundtables summary

Understanding migration is important to aid decision making across society – from understanding the changing workforce needs in hospitals and schools or the demands placed on these services, to the impact of population turnover in areas across the UK and in different industry sectors.

Two recent Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) roundtable events threw a spotlight on various aspects of these information needs, and revealed potential opportunities to help address them. The proposed solutions included both short and medium term opportunities, through new ideas volunteered by statistical producers during the discussions. The producers identified that some of issues raised are being tackled in the longer term developments announced in September 2017 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on behalf of the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Migration Steering Group, which require the sharing and linking of various administrative data sets held across Government.

The roundtable discussions highlighted widespread stakeholder support for the proposed ideas, and particularly GSS migration development plan to produce new analyses based on linked data, but strongly emphasised the need for urgency and continued cross-departmental collaboration. Stakeholders were also unclear about how they and other users would be kept informed about access to any newly developed outputs.

OSR recommends that the statistics producers update the cross-GSS migration development plan, to set out the roles of the individual departments in producing new statistics based on shared administrative data, and to reflect the commitments that departments have made to address stakeholders’ identified needs. The updated plan should include details about how users will be kept informed about progress. OSR will monitor producers’ progress against their commitments.

Related links

Update: Ed Humpherson to Iain Bell (September 2018)

Letter from Ed Humpherson to Iain Bell (February 2018)

Systemic Review Outline: International Migration Statistics (January 2017)

Health and Care Statistics User conference summary

Following a series of assessments in 2015, we identified systemic issues affecting health and care statistics in England. Fundamentally, because there was no single individual or organisation with clear leadership responsibility for health and care statistics in England, this led to problems with the coherence and accessibility of these statistics. To instigate change, we ran the first phase of our systemic intervention for the past two years, with staff from the Office for Statistics Regulation convening and leading three Round Table meetings and two conferences.

This latest conference provided an opportunity for users to engage with statistics producers to explain their needs in detail, postulate some key questions that need answering, hear updates of the progress made since the last conference and to form effective working relationships going forward. Producers have been able to learn from each other, understand users’ future needs to help inform the development of their statistics and collaborate to create effective solutions.


Ed Humpherson: Putting users at the heart of health and social care statistics  (PDF)

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter: Making statistics accessible, useable and assessable (PDF)

Full Fact Fact checking statistics (PDF)

John Morris: Health Care Quality Indicators (PDF)

Scott Heald and Maighread Simpson: A perspective from Scotland (PDF)

Abbie Self: Putting users at the heart of statistics (PDF)


Roundtable meetings: opportunities for sharing and linking data

Statistics on crime and on justice are used a lot — inside and outside of government —but more could be done to look at crime and justice from the perspective of its effect on people and organisations. Increasing the extent of sharing and linking data enable these perspectives, uncovering new insight and increasing the value of statistics that tell us about crime and justice.This was the focus of the London round table. It brought together attendees from the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and the Office for National Statistics to explore how they might work together to share and link crime and justice data in England and Wales. All three of the producer organisations gave examples of where they had previously linked data and clearly see the benefit of doing more of this work in the future. The participants had a productive discussion to identify where they could use linkage of data — including linking to data beyond crime and justice — to improving value. The ideas generated will require further work and prioritisation and the three organisations agreed to put together ideas for data sharing and linking over the next few months.

Read the notes for the first roundtable here

At a second meeting in November 2017, the three organisations told us about the crime and justice working group, where they have come together to develop their work joining-up crime and justice statistics and data. They have committed to including representatives from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland in this work. We expect to hear about their progress and will publish an update in early summer 2018.

Read the notes for the second roundtable here

Roundtable meeting: Sharing information on crime statistics across the UK

Crime statistics are well used and highly valued across the UK by people and organisations inside and outside of government. Producer organisations’ resources are stretched at a time when information needs are increasingly complex. This meeting brought together representatives from the UK’s main crime statistics producer organisations. Its aim was to explore opportunities to share information and facilitate joint working to help ensure that crime statistics keep up with ever-changing developments in the real world. We heard that meetings to discuss technical ‘nuts and bolts’ issues take place as the need arises and are highly valued. However, opportunities to hold similar conversations about more strategic issues are rarer, and welcome. There will continue to be changes to technology and society that crime statistics need to reflect and we encourage producer organisations across the UK to make opportunities to meet regularly and at a strategic level.

Read the notes from this round table here

Summary of the second Health and Care Round Table

In December 2016 the Office for Statistics Regulation convened the second Round Table meeting, where many of the leaders of the English health and care system discussed how to move forward with the agenda of improving English health and care statistics to better serve the public good. You can read the summary of this meeting here.  A third Round Table took place in March 2017.

Related links:

Summary of the first Round Table

Summary of the third Round Table


Better Statistics Better Decisions Health and Care Summit

Following up our key Stakeholders Round Table, we ran the Better Statistics, Better Decisions Health and Care Summit, which was a platform for producers and users to shape the future landscape for English health and care statistics together. A compelling vision for an improved system providing high quality statistics underpinning better decisions inside and outside of public administration was set out. Participants in the Summit enthusiastically embraced this vision. Links to a note taken from the Health and Care Summit along with Ed Humpherson’s summary of the strategic issues that these events highlighted, presentations from the Summit and an attendee listing are given below.

We are following up these Health and Care events in a number of ways. We:

  • Publicly invite those who attended the Summit to be key ambassadors for taking forward initiatives to tackle these strategic issues back in their own organisations
  • Support the drive to address these issues
  • Are reconvening the Round Table and play back the proceedings from the Summit
  • Are liaising with main statistics producers and asking them to create action plans, which would have the status of voluntary enhancements. Over time we will monitor progress against these action plans and consider regulatory action if progress is insufficient or too slow
  • Invite people to reconvene in a year’s time to take stock; the planning for this will start later this year.

Health and care statistics producers now convene through an English Health Statistics Steering Group to effect greater coordination of their activities. Ed Humpherson is writing to these producers commissioning a joint action plan, which the English Health Statistics Steering Group will coordinate.

The RSS has also asked the Statistics Authority to contribute to a session on Health and Care Statistics – What is the Future? at its Conference between 5th and 8th as part of our public support of producers’ initiatives to enhance health and care statistics. We continue to meet with the key bodies to establish what further activity we as regulators of official statistics need to take.

Related Links:

HCI Terms of Reference

Director General for Regulation’s Summary of Strategic Issues highlighted by the Health and Care Summit

Note of the Health and Care Summit

Presentations from the Health and Care Summit:

Ed Humpherson Keynote Address

A local government perspective – Juliet Whitworth

Mind’s use of data – Stephen Buckley

Collaborating to maximise impact – Jamie Jenkins

UK Health Accounts – James Lewis

PHE and local authorities – Kate Sweeney and Andy Baker



Summary of the first Health and Care Round Table

In February 2016 the UK Statistics Authority convened a meeting – a Round Table – of many of the leaders of the English health and care system to discuss how English health and care statistics could be enhanced to better serve the public good: how the statistics might be improved, in order to support better decision making.

Health and Care Statistics in England – The Statistics Authority’s direction of travel summarises the outcomes of the Round Table.

There was support for the UK Statistics Authority’s strategy for UK Statistics – Better Statistics, Better Decisions – which starts from the independence and professionalism of statisticians as the essential pre-requisite to trustworthiness, and looks for systems of statistics which then demonstrate the following attributes:  Helpful;  Innovative;  Professional;  Efficient; Capable.

The Round Table agreed that at its best the health and care statistical system in England satisfies these criteria but concluded that generally the service provided for users by the decentralised system was incoherent and inconsistent. You can read the summary of the first Round Table here.


List of Annexes

Annex A – Round table attendees

Annex B – updated version of the Health and Care Statistics Landscape  (some internal links do not open with Internet Explorer, please use an alternative browser)

Annex C – February 2016 Health and Social Care Statistics List

Annex D – Health round table paper

Related Links

Second Round Table

Third Round Table

Use of administrative data in the production of official statistics

The UK Statistics Authority held an open meeting on 5 December 2014 about the statistical challenges presented by the increasing use of administrative data in the production of official statistics.

The conference brought together a panel of experts from the Government Statistical Service, academia and the commercial sector to explore the use of administrative data, and to examine current issues and opportunities in the future.

You can watch the talks on our YouTube page and the slides from the talks are available to download via the following links:

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