Dear Iain


We have reviewed the actions that you and your team have taken to address the requirements in Assessment Report number 341 Statistics on Cancer Survival in England. On behalf of the Board of the UK Statistics, I am pleased to confirm designation of National Statistics status of these statistics.

During this assessment, staff from both ONS and Public Health England (PHE) responded very positively to implement the improvements required from the assessment. They have shown enthusiasm and commitment to improving the value and quality of these statistics. We welcome particularly the improvements made to your publications. For example, the blog about cancer registrations and the cancer explainer article are both very readable publications.

I welcome the publication of a new report about the quality assurance of the administrative data (QAAD) used to compile these statistics. This clearly explains the various stages of quality assurance. I encourage you to further reinforce the important steps that you take to assure quality by enhancing the document’s accessibility, for example directly from subsequent statistics releases.

I am aware of your plans to transfer all responsibility for the cancer survival outputs to PHE by April 2020. We will monitor the progress of this transfer, by keeping in touch with ONS and PHE to obtain periodic updates, to be assured that the National Statistics (NS) standard is maintained through the transfer.

We have included more detail about our judgement in an annex to this letter. I, or my team, would be very happy to talk you or your colleagues through any aspects of this letter or Code compliance more generally. National Statistics status means that official statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value and is something to be celebrated. We invite you to include a statement alongside the statistics which reflects the National Statistics status.

I am copying this letter to Clare Griffiths, Head of Profession at PHE and Ben Humberstone, Deputy Director for Health Analysis and Life Events at ONS.

Yours sincerely

Ed Humpherson
Director General for Regulation


Related Links:

Assessment Report 341: Statistics on Cancer Survival in England

Ed Humpherson to Iain Bell, February 2019