POLICE RECORDED ROAD ACCIDENTS STATISTICS
I am writing to you following our review of the Police Recorded Road Accidents statistics against the Code of Practice for Statistics. The statistics have been considered as part of a wider review of the devolved nations’ road safety statistics, following our compliance check of Road Accidents and Safety statistics for Great Britain produced by the Department for Transport. The statistics were reviewed against the three pillars of the Code – trustworthiness, quality and value – crucial aspects in ensuring the statistics confidently inform stakeholders, including the general public, about the safety of roads in their local neighbourhood or area.
I am pleased to confirm that these statistics should continue to be designated as National Statistics. We have outlined several positive examples in the way that Welsh Government produces and presents these statistics:
• The statistics are well presented using tables, figures and infographics. These are accompanied by commentary explaining the context for data trends, which provides additional insight for users. We commend the comprehensive methodology and data quality review within the accompanying quality report where data quality issues are clearly highlighted to users. For example, we particularly welcome the clarity of the description of the under-coverage of road traffic collisions or the uncertainty regarding a significant fall in accidents recorded in South Wales for the first half of 2018.
• The team has made effective use of the Authority’s Quality Assessment of Administrative Data (QAAD) toolkit to improve its engagement with police forces in Wales and develop its understanding of the data collection process. This helped to resolve previous issues with fatality data which had resulted in revisions of the statistics.
• The statistical dashboard provides a new level of analysis, allowing users to go beyond the statistics within the bulletin and select data based on geographic location and police force. This demonstrates the team’s drive to innovate and improve the presentation and analysis of the statistics. The team has effectively moved information from smaller bulletins into the main bulletin, minimising repetition of statistics and allowing information to be found more efficiently by users.
We have identified several areas where we consider that improvements could further enhance the public value of the statistics:
• Whilst the team has a good understanding of users within the police forces and road safety charities in Wales, we recommend that user engagement be extended to identify and routinely seek feedback from a wider range of unknown or new users. This would allow the team to gain a better understanding of the wider user base and could also be used as an opportunity to understand how users are interacting with the analytical dashboard. This in turn could help shape the content and presentation of the statistics.
• Where possible, the team should seek to involve more local authorities in the data validation process, either directly or through the Welsh police forces, in order to improve the accuracy of the geolocations where road traffic collisions have occurred. Your team has told us that understanding the volume of missing records in the STATS19 system (collisions which are not in the statistics database) is challenging. We therefore encourage the team to engage with other teams across the UK who produce road safety statistics, in particular Police Service of Northern Ireland, in order to explore whether there are ways to improve the process and minimise the risk of missing records.
• We recommend that the team establish a stronger working partnership with other producer teams in the devolved administrations who use the STATS19 collection series. Greater collaboration could lead to greater input and influence during the STATS19 review process and ensure that the issues that concern devolved administrations are considered. Further to this, we recommend that the team keep users informed of the outcome of the review and developments to data collection processes, including potential transitioning to new databases such as CRASH.
Our Travel, Transport and Tourism team will continue to engage with you and your team in the coming months to follow up on areas that have been highlighted for improvement. We would like to thank the team for their engagement and cooperation throughout the review process.
I am copying this letter to Stephanie Howarth, Head of Economy, Skills and Natural Resources Statistics and Melanie Brown, lead statistician.
Assessment Programme Lead