Background

The Office for Statistics Regulation is keen to ensure statistics that relate to similar themes are readily accessible to users, able to answer the questions society needs to answer, and that there is a coherent narrative across sources. We see statistics as a public asset and want to maximise their value to users. Systemic reviews help us explore issues of public value and identify improvements that the statistics system may need to make. Other recent systemic work has included reviewing statistics on Health in England, Crime and Criminal Justice, and Income and Earnings and working with producers of these statistics to try and generate improvements.

What we plan to do and why                                                                

We published our review of the Public value of crime and justice statistics in the UK in April 2016. This work focused on crime and criminal justice. It identified a need for statistics that join-up across the system, yet the range of government bodies and other organisations  involved in processing data on crimes and delivering justice services, particularly in England and Wales, means that this is not always the case. We now want to continue our investigation of the public value of justice statistics by extending it to cover civil and family justice, offender management and outcomes, and public attitudes to the justice systems in the UK. Our principal aims will be to uncover what questions are being asked of justice statistics and what questions the current statistics can’t answer, and to check for any fundamental issues affecting justice statistics.

How we will do it

Stage 1: system mapping – we will build-up a picture of justice statistics in the UK to help inform our understanding of what statistics exist within and across each legal jurisdiction (England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland).

Stage 2: stakeholder engagement – building on stage 1, we will consult with a range of statistics producers and users who have an interest in justice. We will gather views about whether the statistics that are currently available answer key questions and what gaps exist. We will also want to find out about emerging areas for which evidence might be needed in future and how well the systems in place can respond to such demands. If you want to speak to us about this work please get in touch: regulation@statistics.gov.uk

Stage 3: collate findings and explore options for improvements – we will review the evidence gathered and present it to key stakeholders. The findings from this review will also be considered alongside the findings from our review of crime and criminal justice statistics to look for common themes. For areas where we feel improvements are needed, we will work collectively with relevant parties to identify solutions.

Stage 4: follow-up reviews – we are aware that some aspects of crime and justice are still to be covered in our reviews (for example, policing), while this review might identify other areas requiring further attention. We will publish our plans for any further reviews of justice statistics once this current project is complete.

What we want to happen as a result

Justice statistics in the UK provide accurate and appropriate information with sufficient insight for those who use them to make decisions, and the system operates effectively and can anticipate the needs of the future.

Timing

Stage 1: system mapping – August-September 2017

Stage 2: stakeholder engagement – September-November 2017

Stage 3: collate findings and explore options for improvements – December 2017- March 2018 (publish report April 2018)

Stage 4: follow-up reviews – April 2018 onwards