Dear Scott,


Thank you for your letter of 6 February 2020 requesting a temporary suspension of the Care Home Census National Statistics designation. This follows our compliance check in March 2019 which concluded that their status as National Statistics was dependent on the Data Sharing Agreement (DSA) between yourselves and Scottish Government being signed in time to publish the 2017/18 and 2018/19 statistics in 2019. We also asked to see improvements to the insights provided in the next publication. We know from our conversations with users that these are important statistics and that their delayed publication is very unhelpful.

I understand that the DSA has now been signed, following an extended delay. However, I share your frustration and disappointment that this delay has prevented ISD from publishing timely statistics and that the next results will be available later this year. This long delay does not meet the standards set out in the Code of Practice for Statistics and therefore we agree that these should no longer be designated National Statistics.

Robust data safeguarding is, of course, paramount. We expect organisations to ensure that they handle data correctly and maintain public trust. However, the failure to share these data in a timely way to enable official statistics to be produced is unacceptable. All the organisations involved in this DSA must now work together to identify a long-term solution that enables social care data to be shared safely and efficiently.

Despite these delays, your team has made significant progress to develop the insights and presentation of these statistics, using data from previous years to guide their work. You have shared examples of these developments with my team and I would like to commend this work. I understand that your team will be sharing these developments with users prior to the next publication.

I am copying this response to Roger Halliday, Scottish Government Chief Statistician and Data Officer, and Ingrid Gilray, Intelligence and Analysis Manager, the Care Inspectorate. We will be happy to review the designation of these statistics when you are able to demonstrate that they are meeting the highest standards of the Code of Practice.

Your sincerely

Ed Humpherson
Director General for Regulation

Related Links:

Letter from Scott Heald to Ed Humperson – Care Home Census Publication (February 2020)