Compliance checks are short, focused reviews, typically providing a high-level investigation of the extent to which statistics meet the standards of the Code of Practice for Statistics – Trustworthiness, Quality and Value. Some are pre-planned, but our programme is flexible enough to respond to salient issues as they arise, and we are flexible in the coverage of each check in order to focus on those matters that are most pertinent to the particular statistics.
We undertake compliance checks with one or more of the following objectives in mind:
- To confirm compliance with the Code of Practice in those areas investigated, and hence that the National Statistics status should continue
- To identify whether any immediate enhancements are necessary for the producer to be able to maintain National Statistics status, or whether National Statistics status should be withdrawn
- To help evaluate and decide whether a full re-assessment would be appropriate to explore the statistics more deeply
The Role of a Statistics Producer in a Compliance Check
In advance of any compliance check we will contact the producer body to say that we are going to conduct a compliance check and discuss any issues that have triggered the check and its specific focus.
Our first stage is to carry out desk research to evaluate strengths and weaknesses against the Code of Practice. We would draw on material already in the public domain, along with anything we already know from users and stakeholders. We do not necessarily speak to users, but may speak with them or other stakeholders if needed to help us form our judgements. We do not require or expect statistical producers to provide any evidence during this phase.
Once we have some provisional thoughts (including gaps in our understanding and other questions), we discuss these with the statistical team to get a complete picture, and to give them an indication of our conclusions and proposed way of disseminating our findings.
We would normally publish the findings from each compliance check on our website in the form of a letter. Where relevant, the letter will include a deadline for responding to any areas of improvement found during the check.