Dear David,

Transparency and user engagement in the production of official statistics

I am writing to you to thank you for our introductory meeting on 17 November 2022 and to share our expectations around intelligent transparency and user engagement as Social Security Scotland continues to develop its portfolio of official statistics.

It was good to hear about the devolution of benefits in Scotland and the important role that Social Security Scotland is playing to support operational delivery of the Scottish Government’s social security programme. The production of official statistics is an essential part of that role, not only to support operational delivery, but to inform wider societal information needs and serve the public good.

I note that Social Security Scotland has badged its statistics ‘experimental statistics’. This is good practice under the Code of Practice for Statistics, it signals users that the statistics are newly developed and undergoing evaluation. Social Security Scotland should ensure that it communicates any future changes or development plans in an open and transparent way.

Users of statistics are a valuable resource, as they can provide input into a range of statistical issues and provide direction for future developments. I would like to see Social Security Scotland develop and maintain an engaged and diverse user group using a range of communication channels.

My team are very happy to provide you with support and guidance as you develop official statistics to maximise the trustworthiness, quality and public value of benefit statistics in Scotland. Please do not hesitate to contact myself or a member of my team.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Humpherson
Director General for Regulation