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
- a 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.
- OSR endorsements of new statistical outputs during Covid-19 outbreak
- Exemptions to the Code of Practice for Statistics due to Covid-19 outbreak
- Suspensions of National Statistics designations due to 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 body||Statistics||Status (NS or OS)||Link to published material|
|ONS||Covid-19 statistics from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey||OS||Letter|
|ONS||Faster Economic Indicators||OS||Letter|
|Welsh Government||Welsh Government Children and staff attendance at local authority settings in Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic||OS||Letter|
|Department for Education||Attendance in education and early years settings during the COVID-19 pandemic||OS||Letter|
|ONS||CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INFECTION SURVEY||Experimental statistics||Letter|
|Department for Transport||Transport Statistics during the COVID-19 pandemic||Experimental Official Statistics||Letter|
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 body||Statistics||Nature of exemption||Duration||Relevant links if any|
|Office for National Statistics||Market sensitive economic statistics||Publish market sensitive statistics at 7am rather than 9.30am in the absence of media lock-ins||Until further notice||Letter and reply|
|Welsh Government||Key economic statistics||Publish market sensitive statistics at 7am rather than 9.30am to coordinate with ONS releases||Until further notice||Letter and reply|
|Scottish Government||Key economic statistics||Publish market sensitive statistics at 7am rather than 9.30am to coordinate with ONS releases||Until further notice||Letter and reply|
|Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency||Market sensitive economic statistics||Publish market sensitive statistics at 7am rather than 9.30am to coordinate with ONS releases||Until further notice||Letter and reply|
|HM Treasury||UK Official Holdings of International Reserves||Publish market sensitive statistics at 7am rather than 9.30am to coordinate with ONS releases||Until further notice||Letter from Ed Humpherson|
|National Records of Scotland||Weekly death statistics||Publish statistics at noon rather than 9.30am to allow for quality assurance||Until further notice||Letter from Ed Humpherson|
|Public Health Scotland||Weekly COVID-19 report||Publish at 12 noon rather than 9.30am in line with other related statistics||Until further notice||Letter from Scott Heald|
Reply from Ed Humpherson
Reply from Scott Heald
|Welsh Government||Children and staff attendance at local authority settings in Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic||Publish statistics at noon rather than 9.30am||Until further notice||Letter from Ed Humpherson|
|Department of Health, Northern Ireland||Daily COVID-19 statistics dashboard||Publish at 2pm rather than 9.30am||Until further notice||Letter from Dr Eugene Mooney |
Letter from Ed Humpherson
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 body||Statistics||Reasons for suspension||Duration||Relevant links if any|
Other Key Correspondence:
Sir David Norgrove letter to Matt Hancock (May 2020)