Launching our consultation: We want your views

As a regulator, we want to be as helpful as we can to producers of statistics to enable the release of valuable information, while also setting clear standards of practice. In the pandemic we supported producers by granting exemptions to the Code of Practice for Statistics to enable some statistics to be released at times other than the standard time of 9.30am.

Market sensitive statistics could no longer be released after the usual lock-in briefings, so we agreed for them to be released at 7am. This has meant that the lead statisticians have been able to speak in the media and explain the latest results.

We also enabled some statistics related to COVID-19 to be released later in the day as soon as they could be shared publicly with sufficient quality assurance. It has meant for example that both the Coronavirus infection survey bulletins and the Public Health Scotland COVID-19 weekly report for Scotland are released at noon.

Having a specific time of release has helped ensure consistency in release and grow confidence that official statistics are truly independent of political preferences and interference. The pandemic has brought to light how important timely statistics are, and the huge demand has meant that release timings have had to change so that the statistics remain relevant and useful to the public.

As we look beyond the pandemic, we have been considering whether we should amend the Code of Practice to enable more flexibility for producers but at the same time keep the benefits of consistency and protection against interference. We are grateful to everyone who has shared their views with us in our discovery phase. It has helped us consider a range of issues.


We are pleased to announce that a 12-week consultation will begin on 28 September 2021, ending on 21 December 2021. Our consultation paper will set out some proposals on release approaches that look to maintain the benefits of standard release times but also support some greater flexibility. The Authority will carefully consider the responses before deciding on its preferred release practice.

We encourage you to consider the suggestions and to share your views with us.

Help shape our priorities…

I have recently taken up post in the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) as Deputy Director for Regulation. During my time in the GSS there have been lots of positive changes in government statistics. One I have been particularly interested to observe from a distance is the change in personality of the Office for Statistics Regulation (and its predecessor, the Monitoring and Assessment Team) to a more focused and positive organisation trying to ensure the right statistics are published and can be used with confidence – because they offer trustworthiness, quality and value – and are used as they should be. With these changes in mind, when I saw the role advertised in OSR I decided to apply.

I am now a few weeks into the role and have been lucky enough to experience what a positive and friendly team OSR is with a clear purpose and values, which individuals strive to exhibit. The recent annual review gives a flavour of our latest work.

As part of my role, I have oversight of the regulatory work programme, which gives me an insight into the vast range of official statistics and the huge amount of important work that is going on. Deciding how to prioritise OSR resources across the system to deliver the greatest public value is no easy task. To help us meet this challenge we are inviting views on our 2018/19 work programme and are requesting your input through our consultation which we published today.

We welcome views from individuals or groups, with responses by Friday 23 February 2018. We are particularly interested in your views on the priorities we have set out but also encourage you to use this as an opportunity to share other thoughts with us. Your input will support us in upholding our values, in particular our continued ambition to be outward and forward focused. The outcomes of this consultation will be reflected in our business plan which we will publish in the Spring.

Finally, I couldn’t complete this blog without mention of the refresh of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. As many of you will be aware this has been occupying a lot of time in OSR over the last couple of years. The way OSR has gone about this work demonstrates its efforts to be more collaborative and as a result I think we have a much-improved Code of Practice for statisticians across government and beyond. Watch this space for the launch of the new Code in early February – including a web-based interactive version of the Code!

Consultation on priorities

Priorities for our 2017/18 Regulatory Work Programme

We welcome your views


On 24 November 2016, when I announced the newly strengthened and more visible regulatory function of the UK Statistics Authority, the Office for Statistics Regulation, I said that I would be changing a number of things about the way we work to have greater impact on statistics as a public asset.

One of the key changes that I have been introducing is to be more outward-facing and forward looking. In line with this ambition, I want to consult widely and regularly on our regulatory work programme. Today I am setting out our thoughts on priorities for 2017/18. I would welcome your views on these priorities, and also any additional ideas you may have about work we could undertake in the next year (and beyond) to promote improvement in the Trustworthiness, Quality and Public Value of official statistics.

The linked documents below provide more information about how to respond to this request with your views, together with a template to complete by Friday 31 March 2017. We aim to review your responses and publish our business plan by the end of April.

I hope you will take this early opportunity to influence our work programme, and I very much look forward to hearing from you

Ed Humpherson
Director General for Regulation
6 March 2017

Submitting your views now

  • Guidance on submitting your views
  • Proposals and template to be completed and returned by 31 March 2017

Sharing your ideas at any time

  • Use this template to submit ideas for our work programme at any time