Guidance

Our guidance documents provide detailed information for users and producers of statistics. Our guidance applies the three pillars Trustworthiness, Quality and Value from the Code of Practice.

Code of Practice

The Code of Practice for Statistics sets the standards producers of official statistics should commit to.

Compliance with the Code gives you confidence that published government statistics have public value, are high quality, and are produced by people and organisations that are trustworthy.

See the full Code of Practice guidance

Regulatory Guidance

We conduct compliance checks and assessments against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics, to ensure that all official statistics meet the standards of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value. Our guidance will help support and guide producers in the Assessment and Compliance Check processes.

The Office for Statistics Regulation’s Regulatory Standard for the quality assurance of administrative data (QAAD) recognises the increasing role that administrative data are playing in the production of official statistics and clarifies our expectations for what producers of official statistics should do to assure themselves of the quality of these data.

We have produced a range of additional guidance documents that help explain our approach to the quality assurance of data including case studies, frequently asked questions raised with us by statistical producers within the UK, and additional guidance for producers of management information based on the QAAD approach

See more about Administrative Data and Official Statistics (QAAD)

We promote joining up data to deliver better statistics. We have two guides to help producers identify ways of making the most of their data – ‘Building confidence in the handling and use of data’ and ‘Unlocking the value of data through onward sharing’.

Our guide ‘Building Confidence in the handling and use of data’ provides some further insight for statistics producers into the principle T6 Data Governance (Code of Practice) when handling data to produce and publish official statistics, and when making that data available to external users, in ways that are transparent and accountable.

It draws on our findings from a review of the UK statistics system’s ability to provide greater insight to users via linked data: joining up data for better statistics.

The principles of the Code of Practice extend beyond statistics production to data sharing and access. In our guide ‘Unlocking the value of data through onward sharing’ the we outline practices and processes that uphold these principles.

We focus on practices in three distinct areas:

  • data standards, quality and curation
  • data provision
  • developments to official statistics

Our Guide for Experimental Statistics sets out the Office for Statistics Regulation’s expectations regarding the production and handling of experimental statistics, a subset of official statistics going through development and evaluation, in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

The Code of Practice encourages innovation and improvement and highlights the need for National Statistics and other official statistics to remain relevant for use, to provide a dynamic public service.

 

Our guidance on Publishing Official and National Statistics includes information about pre-announcing the release of statistics, labelling the status of the statistics and sharing official statistics and other statistics prior to release.

 

Our Guidance for Statements about Public Funding aims to aid understanding for those reading public funding announcements as to what to look out for so they are not misled, as well as encourage those producing or supporting statements to ensure any statements are clear and can be understood by all.

Our guidance for producers when making changes to statistical methods sets out examples of the principles in the Code of Practice that producers need to adhere to in order to remain code compliant. It also includes examples of the kinds of materials that can be used to help document this adherence.

In our ‘Thinking about Quality’ guidance, we provide some questions that analysts producing statistics can use in considering quality at each stage of production. This list is adapted from a series of questions we asked teams during our review of the principles and processes underpinning the quality of HMRC’s official statistics, and draws on QAAD Questions which help producers find out about administrative data.
This quality guide is not a checklist but is designed to be used alongside your own organisation’s guidance, as well as alongside external resources.

Covid-specific Guidance

During times of rapid change there is an increased need for timely and detailed data. We have developed new approaches, guidance and statements regarding our expectations during this pandemic. See more on our dedicated COVID-19 pages.