Dear Stephen

Pre-release Access to Official Statistics (Scotland) Bill

Thank you for your letter of 9 October 2020 regarding the Pre-release Access to Official Statistics (Scotland) Bill. As you may have seen in my evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee, I regard official statistics as a public asset that should be equally available to all. My letter to the Convenor of the Committee in May 2018 emphasised that equality of access to official statistics is a key component of the trustworthiness in a statistical system. This is the Authority’s long-standing policy position, reiterated by Sir David Norgrove in his letter to the Convenor in September 2019.

Under the Code of Practice, official statistics producer bodies must commit to releasing statistics in an open and transparent manner. It does so while acknowledging the preserved rights of Ministers to decide their pre-release access arrangements, in line with legislation in each administration. In Scotland, it is for the Chief Statistician to determine the appropriate arrangements for pre-release access to official statistics. Our regulatory role involves monitoring whether the operation of the pre-release access arrangements is in line with the position set out by the Chief Statistician, and I can reassure you that we will continue to do so.

I am copying this letter to Roger Halliday, Chief Statistician, Scottish Government.

Yours sincerely

Ed Humpherson
Director General for Regulation