Covid-19: Changes to Statistics

This is a very difficult time for everyone as the UK adjusts to rapid changes in society and the economy. The priority is to protect the health and safety of individuals – including through changing working patterns and practices – and to support the information needs of society.

Organisations that produce official statistics are rightly showing flexibility and adapting what they collect and publish to respond to this new environment. The Office for Statistics Regulation fully supports this flexibility and the responsiveness shown by producers of statistics.

We have prepared a package of measures including:

  • guidance on factors that producers should consider when making changes to data collection, statistics production and release
  • statement outlining our position and expectations on the use of management information by government and other public bodies
  • guidance for statistical producers on suspending National Statistics status
  • setting out an approach to rapid regulatory reviews, potentially including National Statistics status, for any new outputs published by producers which inform the public about the coronavirus and its economic and social impacts.

We will support sensible changes to existing production practices.

We have also undertaken a short review of the data releases on COVID-19 cases and deaths – at a UK level and for each country within the UK – to help understanding of the available sources and to highlight strengths and our view on areas for improvement.

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OSR endorsements of new statistical outputs during Covid-19 outbreak

During the Covid-19 outbreak, OSR has carried out rapid reviews of new official statistics that have been produced in response to the outbreak. This table provides easy access to information about OSR’s endorsements following those reviews.

Producer bodyStatisticsStatus (NS or OS)Link to published material
ONSCovid-19 statistics from the Opinions and Lifestyle SurveyOSLetter
ONSFaster Economic IndicatorsOSLetter
Welsh GovernmentWelsh Government Children and staff attendance at local authority settings in Wales during the COVID-19 pandemicOSLetter
Department for EducationAttendance in education and early years settings during the COVID-19 pandemicOSLetter
ONSCORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INFECTION SURVEYExperimental statisticsLetter
Department for TransportTransport Statistics during the COVID-19 pandemicExperimental Official StatisticsLetter

 

Exemptions to the Code of Practice for Statistics due to Covid-19 outbreak

This table notes exemptions to the normal practices of the Code of Practice for Statistics that OSR has agreed with statistical producer bodies in the light of the Covid-19 outbreak following OSR guidance.

Producer bodyStatisticsNature of exemptionDurationRelevant links if any
Office for National StatisticsMarket sensitive economic statisticsPublish market sensitive statistics at 7am rather than 9.30am in the absence of media lock-insUntil further noticeLetter and reply
Welsh GovernmentKey economic statisticsPublish market sensitive statistics at 7am rather than 9.30am to coordinate with ONS releasesUntil further noticeLetter and reply
Scottish GovernmentKey economic statisticsPublish market sensitive statistics at 7am rather than 9.30am to coordinate with ONS releasesUntil further noticeLetter and reply
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research AgencyMarket sensitive economic statisticsPublish market sensitive statistics at 7am rather than 9.30am to coordinate with ONS releasesUntil further noticeLetter and reply
HM TreasuryUK Official Holdings of International ReservesPublish market sensitive statistics at 7am rather than 9.30am to coordinate with ONS releasesUntil further noticeLetter from Ed Humpherson
National Records of ScotlandWeekly death statisticsPublish statistics at noon rather than 9.30am to allow for quality assuranceUntil further noticeLetter from Ed Humpherson
Public Health ScotlandWeekly COVID-19 reportPublish at 12 noon rather than 9.30am in line with other related statisticsUntil further noticeLetter from Scott Heald
Reply from Ed Humpherson

Reply from Scott Heald
Welsh GovernmentChildren and staff attendance at local authority settings in Wales during the COVID-19 pandemicPublish statistics at noon rather than 9.30amUntil further noticeLetter from Ed Humpherson
Department of Health, Northern IrelandDaily COVID-19 statistics dashboardPublish at 2pm rather than 9.30amUntil further noticeLetter from Dr Eugene Mooney
Letter from Ed Humpherson

 

Suspensions of National Statistics designations due to Covid-19 outbreak

Official statistics that have been assessed to meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value expected by the Code of Practice for Statistics are assigned National Statistics status. This table lists those statistics that will continue to be produced but where, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, it has not been possible for the producer body to comply with the Code of Practice in full. In those cases National Statistics status has been suspended. We have issued guidance to help producers when considering suspension of National Statistics status.

Producer bodyStatisticsReasons for suspensionDuration Relevant links if any

 

Other Key Correspondence:

Letter from Ed Humpherson to Mr Pengelly, regarding statistical information relating to COVID-19 in Northern Ireland 

Ed Humpherson to Steve Ellerd-Elliot: Universal Credit Management Information

Sir David Norgrove letter to Matt Hancock (May 2020)

 

 

 

 

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