Transparency of data related to fuel stock levels
Thank you for the time you and your colleagues have taken to speak to us, especially during what must be a very demanding time for the team.
I am writing to you about a statement made by your Secretary of State on Thursday 30 September saying “Data suggests we are continuing to see signs that the situation at the pumps is stabilising + in all parts of the UK forecourt stock levels are trending up”.
As you are aware, it is our expectation that when ministers or officials reference data the relevant government Department should make the data available in a clear and accessible form, including appropriate explanations of context and sources. Publication by the Department in this way supports public confidence in the data and in the organisations publishing data. It also reduces the likelihood of information leaks – which are the antitheses of the expectations set out in the Code of Practice for Statistics.
It is particularly important to be transparent when statements and data published by government have the potential to make a significant impact on decisions being made by individuals.
It is positive to see you proactively adjusting the frequency of publications on fuel sales and stocks in order to respond to changing circumstances and public interest, including announcing that you will return to a weekly publication from Thursday 7 October.
I know that you take these concerns seriously and will work with your department to support best practice.
Director General for Regulation