The UK Statistics Authority has today published its Monitoring Report on Strengthening User Engagement. An interim report was published in March 2010, and an open meeting held in London on 3 June to discuss it.

The value of official statistics lies in their use. It is only when they are used in ways that promote the public good – by Parliament, government, public services, business, or the citizen – that we can truly say that their production at public expense is fully justified. The conclusions and recommendations in this report set the world of official statistics on a course to ensure the user voice is more clearly heard and that its influence on the work of the statistical service is progressively enhanced.

The report makes a series of recommendations:

  1. All bodies that produce official statistics should enhance compliance with those aspects of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics that relate to understanding and supporting the use and potential use of official statistics.
  2. The Office for National Statistics should give priority to improving the navigability and accessibility of its website.
  3. The National Statistician should lead consultations on how best to use web technology, and innovative ways of exploiting digitised data, to enhance accessibility.
  4. Government statisticians should work together, and with the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), to improve communication between statistical experts and journalists.
  5. Given the great diversity of users of statistics, a high profile web-based forum should be developed which would enable users of statistics to communicate more easily and openly with each other and with the produces of official statistics.
  6. All producer bodies should work actively with Statistics User Forum (and other user group structures), to help user groups represent the interests and priorities of their members.

In addition, the Statistics Authority will support initiatives to develop new user-designed, usermanaged websites that will provide direct access to official statistics, in an easily accessible, user-friendly way.

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