OSR publishes NHS Performance Measures Report

Today, the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has published its report on “The Importance of involving statisticians in the evolution of NHS Performance Measures.”

This report focuses on accident and emergency (A&E) statistics in England, Scotland and Wales. It summarises four cases that OSR has looked at over the last two years involving these statistics, and draws out common themes and recommendations.

The four cases are: Changes to what should be included in A and E returns; Problems at NHS Lothian; Leaks; and Comparison of 12 hour waits in England and Wales. These cases show how OSR’s recommendations serve to improve the trustworthiness, quality and value of these important NHS performance measures.

There are two key conclusions for decision makers in the NHS and for policy makers:
– support the work of statisticians and other analysts in the health system. These analysts can help highlight risks to data quality, provide assurance on the usefulness of the performance measures, and advise on changes to performance measurement systems; and
– ensure that the purpose of these performance measures is clear.

Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation, said:

“A&E performance statistics perform a hugely valuable role. They don’t just support decision makers – they also are crucial in informing the public about the performance of the NHS. Our report highlights how producers of statistics can draw on the expertise of statisticians to minimise the challenges facing these high-profile statistics: misunderstanding, misstatement and misleading use.”

Release of the refreshed Code of Practice for Statistics

Today, the UK Statistics Authority has released the refreshed Code of Practice for Statistics. 

The Code plays a vital role as statistics are the lifeblood of our democracy and an important public asset for society. It enables users and producers to have a set of principles that underpin independent statistics production and presentation, ensuring confidence in this essential public asset.

The refreshed Code builds on the previous version, but develops thinking on statistics as a public asset based on three pillars – Trustworthiness, Quality and Value. This recognises statistics as a dynamic public service that helps people make decisions, measure performance and hold Government to account.

 

Sir David Norgrove, Chairman of the UK Statistics Authority said:

“The UK is fortunate to be one of the only countries in the world to have an independent regulator of official statistics.  Its work is underpinned by a statutory Code of Practice, which has helped drive substantial improvements.  But the Code is now nine years old, and today’s publication draws in that experience to deliver a refreshed Code that will deliver better statistics, to support better decisions.”

 

John Pullinger, National Statistician said:

For the Government Statistical Service it is our professionalism which earns us trust. We have no axe to grind in any debate save that it is well informed. We cherish our values of honesty, integrity, objectivity and impartiality. The refreshed Code of Practice continues to enhance the rigor, integrity and competence required for high quality statistics, and will be welcomed by the whole professional statistical community.”

 

Ed Humpherson, DG for Regulation said: 

My thanks go to everyone that has participated in the refresh of the Code, we have received a huge range of brilliant comments, advice and support from inside and outside Government. My team at the Office for Statistics Regulation has worked extremely hard to collate, shape and deliver this refreshed Code of Practice for statistics.  

He continued: “Integrity of statistics is at the heart of the refreshed Code: supporting the people who provide them, the people who use them, and the people who benefit from them. The pillars of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value provide a simple way of making sure statistics serve all these people.”

 

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: https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/code-of-practice/

This comes during an important year that marks the tenth anniversary since the creation of the Authority by Parliament to promote, improve and safeguard official statistics across the UK. It is also the fiftieth anniversary of the Government Statistics Service (GSS), celebrating the development and delivery of high quality evidence that has supported decision making and commanded long-term confidence.

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.

These 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 publically challenging the misuse of statistics; and
  • are helpful in general to support judgements about the publication of wider numerical information.

The refreshed Code of Practice was subject to an extensive consultation and stocktake, during which we have worked closely with members of the Government Statistical Service and the user community.

Consultation on the Voluntary Application of the Code of Practice for Statistics. We are developing a guide that explains why and how voluntary adoption of the Code of Practice for Statistics can help organisations publishing data, statistics and analysis to produce analytical outputs that are high quality, useful for supporting decisions, and well-respected. We would welcome your views, to take part in an informal consultation on this draft guide (that runs until 22 March 2018). Please email any comments you may have to the regulation team.

 

The Office for Statistics Regulation wishes to thank everyone that has been interested and involved in the refreshed Code of Practice, we have received a massive amount of useful comments and input that we considered very carefully. 

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

We thank everyone who responded to our consultation on a refreshed Code of Practice

Our consultation on a refreshed Code of Practice is now closed. This three month consultation took place from 5 July 2017 until 5 October 2017.

It provided an opportunity for producers, users and the wider community to see how we propose to refresh the Code of Practice.

The Office for Statistics Regulation wishes to thank everyone that has been interested and involved in this work, we have received some useful comments and will consider them all very carefully.

We aim to complete this work as quickly as possible, with the new ‘Code of Practice’ available and published in early 2018.

 

Note for Editors

The consultation was the next-stage in a year-long ‘stock-take’ of the Code of Practice, during which we have worked closely with members of the Government Statistical Service and the user community.

If you have any queries concerning the consultation please email: regulation@statistics.gov.uk

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.

These 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 publically challenging the misuse of statistics; and
  • are helpful in general to support judgements about the publication of wider numerical information.

Review of economic statistics

Professor Sir Charles Bean’s review of economic statistics has this morning published its final report.

Speaking today Sir Andrew Dilnot, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, welcomed the report’s recommendations:

“The Authority welcomes Sir Charles’s recommendations, which set out a compelling vision for economic statistics and alongside the Authority strategy Better Statistics, Better Decisions, will help to deliver high quality economic statistics.

The Authority will now take time to read and consider the report and its findings.”

 


For media enquiries about the work of the Office for National Statistics and the production of economic statistics please contact 0845 604 1858.

For media enquiries about the work of the UK Statistics Authority, Regulation and Governance please contact 07818 011 583 / 07795 841 283.

Assessment: Statistics on Consumer Price Inflation including Owner Occupiers’ Housing Costs

Today the UK Statistics Authority published its independent Assessment of statistics on Consumer Price Inflation including Owner Occupiers’ Housing Costs (CPIH).

In August 2014, the National Statistics status of the CPIH was discontinued after issues emerged relating to the processing of some of the administrative data sources used to estimate Owner Occupiers’ Housing costs.

In today’s report, the Authority’s regulatory function concludes that the CPIH does not meet the standards to be a National Statistic, and that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) needs to do more to establish the credibility of, and user confidence in, the CPIH. The report identifies three main areas of concern:

  • ONS needs to take more time to strengthen its quality assurance of its private rents data sources, in order to provide reassurance to users about the quality of the CPIH.
  • ONS should monitor how the CPIH behaves over time and compare it to other data sources over a longer period of time. It should produce supporting analysis and explanation that facilitates users’ understanding of the statistics and what they measure.
  • There is some disagreement among users about the concepts and methods that ONS uses to measure Owner Occupiers’ Housing costs within the CPIH. ONS needs to do more to explain and articulate its own judgements about the concepts and methods that it uses, and could engage more positively and openly with a wide range of users, including interested users that have a range of opinions not necessarily in accord with ONS’s own views.

Ed Humpherson, the UK Statistics Authority’s Director General for Regulation, said:

“National Statistics status is only granted to those statistics that meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value. Today’s Assessment report finds that the CPIH does not yet meet these standards.

“In addressing the issues set out in this report, I will be looking for ONS to set a clear direction for the future of the CPIH.  The requirements we have set focus on a range of areas for improvement. In particular, ONS should strengthen its quality assurance; monitor trends over time; and do more to engage effectively with a wide range of users.”

For media enquiries about this Press Release please contact: +44 (0) 7818 011 583.


Notes for editors:

  1. 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.
  2. One of the Authority’s main functions is to provide independent regulation of all official statistics produced in the UK.
  3. The Authority’s primary statutory power, as regulator, is to confer or remove the National Statistics designation.
  4. National Statistics status is only granted to those official statistics that meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value, as demonstrated during an independent Assessment by the Authority’s regulator function.
  5. The Authority removed the National Statistics status from the CPIH in August 2014. For more information, please visit: https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/correspondence/consumer-price-indices-including-housing-costs-cpih-indicator/
  6. Since the beginning of 2014, the Authority’s regulatory function has removed the National Statistics designation on twenty occasions. Seven of these de-designations have involved ONS statistics, six of them economic outputs. Major economic outputs which have been de-designated include trade statistics, CPIH, construction output, and construction prices.  A full list of de-designations is published at: https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/osr/what-we-do/assessment/register-of-de-designations/

Progress Report on Income and Earnings Statistics

Monitoring Review Progress Report –

Coherence and Accessibility of Official Income and Earnings Statistics

Today, the UK Statistics Authority has published a Progress Report on its Review of the Coherence and Accessibility of Official Statistics on Income and Earnings. The Review was first published in February 2015, followed by an event in July 2015 to convene a range of stakeholders to consider how official statistics on income and earnings can better serve the public good in the future.

This Progress Report highlights work carried out by producers of statistics in response to recommendations made by the UK Statistics Authority. The Report finds that while there have been some positive developments, progress against recommendations has generally been limited or moderate. In particular, progress against those recommendations that require collaborative working within and between government departments has been slow. The Authority therefore considers that more collaborative progress is required. The Authority will be asking the Office for National Statistics, the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs for a joint progress update in May 2016.

Ed Humpherson, the UK Statistics Authority’s Director General for Regulation, has also today written to John Pullinger, the National Statistician, to make him aware of this Progress Report, expressing concern that progress has been disappointingly slow, and to welcome his support in improving the coherence and accessibility of these statistics.

The Authority will publish another Progress Report in early summer 2016. Due to the continued importance of income and earnings statistics, the Authority’s Director General for Regulation will also be considering whether any of the statistics included in the Review’s scope are candidates for re-assessment under the Code of Practice for Official Statistics as part of the 2016/17 Programme of Assessment.

For media enquiries about this Press Release please contact: +44 (0)7795 841 283

 

Review of economic statistics: Interim Report

Professor Sir Charles Bean’s review of economic statistics has this morning published its interim findings.

Speaking today Sir Andrew Dilnot, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, welcomed the interim report:

“This review sets out a bold vision for the future of economic statistics.

“The Authority welcomes Sir Charles’s interim recommendations, which will help ensure that economic statistics continue to provide a firm evidence base for decision making.

“We look forward to the final report, and will consider its conclusions carefully in preparing our plans for the coming years.”

For media enquiries about this Press Release please contact 07795 841 283.

Advisory Committees to the National Statistician

The National Statistician has announced the establishment of advisory committees set up to provide advice on consumer price statistics, crime statistics, and the sharing and use of data.

Speaking today, the National Statistician said:

“The Government Statistical Service has a clear mission to deliver high quality statistics, analysis and advice, which keep pace with rapid changes in our economy and society.

“These advisory committees will help me, and my colleagues, to understand the concerns and requirements of a diverse range of individuals, voluntary bodies, private sector organisations, analysts, researchers, and other experts.

“I look forward to working with the newly appointed Chairs of these committees, –Dame Kate Barker, Mr Nick Vaughan, Professor Sir Adrian Smith and Mr Ian Cope – and to receiving the advice of the members that will serve on them. I am expecting that the work of these committees will help us make better informed decisions about future directions for official statistics.”

For more information, please contact 020 7592 8659 or 020 7592 8645.

Public confidence in official statistics

NatCen Social Research has today published the results of a survey of public confidence in official statistics, commissioned by the UK Statistics Authority.(1) Among the survey’s findings are that:

  • 71 per cent of the public think that official statistics should be made equally available to everybody at the same time. Only 25 per cent think that the current rules for ‘pre-release access’, where Government Ministers and their advisers are shown official statistics before they are released, should continue.
  • 88 per cent of those who expressed an opinion trusted the ONS as an institution. The level of public trust in ONS is broadly similar to the levels of public trust in the National Statistics Institutes of Australia, Sweden and Denmark, as reported in similar surveys.
  • Only 28 per cent of those who expressed an opinion agreed that ‘Government presents official figures honestly when discussing its policies’.

Speaking today, Sir Andrew Dilnot, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, encouraged the reconsideration of the pre-release access rules. He said:

“These new survey results indicate a level of public trust in ONS that is encouraging, but confusion and distrust about the way official statistics are used remains an issue.

“The current pre-release access given to Ministers and their advisers undermines public confidence in official statistics. The UK’s arrangements for pre-release access fall a long way short of international best practice. The UK Statistics Authority believes that official statistics should be available at the same time for everybody and that pre-release access should be ended.”

For media enquiries about this Press Release please contact 07411 212300.


  1. NatCen press release.
    Full report: http://www.natcen.ac.uk/our-research/research/public-confidence-in-official-statistics/

Coherence and Accessibility of Official Statistics on Income and Earnings

Today, the UK Statistics Authority has published a report on The Coherence and Accessibility of Official Statistics on Income and Earnings . This work, carried out as part of the Authority’s monitoring programme, considers the way in which official statistics on income and earnings are presented.

This report finds there are a wide range of income and earning statistics already available. However, this information is not always as coherent or accessible as it could be in order to provide a clear and comprehensive understanding of how levels and trends in income and earnings in the UK are changing over time.

The report recognises that measuring income and earnings is not straightforward, and that statisticians across the UK are already tackling some of these issues. It recommends that the Government Statistical Service, under the leadership of the National Statistician, builds on this work to:

  • Engage with stakeholders to address the limited availability and timeliness of statistics on self employment;
  • Consider how best to provide users with more themed analyses in a way that remains current and sustainable, and provide users with an overall picture drawing the various sources together into a coherent whole; and
  • Improve the accessibility of statistics available and their underpinning data, with better guidance on their strengths and limitations.

Ed Humpherson, the Statistics Authority’s Director General for Regulation, said:

“Our recommendations set out how this goal might be achieved in the short and medium term. We have received much invaluable and expert advice throughout our research, and we believe that significant advancements to current income and earnings statistics are possible if producers continue to work collaboratively.”

“Fully understanding how income and earnings are changing over time is incredibly important, and tracking income and earnings is essential to inform these trends. We want to be sure official statistics producers are using the right statistics to communicate this complex story to Parliament, policy makers and the public”.

Responding to the report, John Pullinger, the National Statistician, said:

“I welcome this report and believe it gives us a real opportunity to find ways to make income and earnings statistics as helpful as they can be to the people who use them.

“There is much good work underway. The new quarterly ONS Economic Wellbeing release and our planned consultation on UK consumer prices following the Johnson Review will contribute to improving our understanding of this important field. I look forward to working with users and producers over the coming months, to build on what has already been achieved to make further improvements to these important statistics.”

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