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

Guidance on aspects of Trustworthiness

Assessment process

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.


Experimental statistics ā€“ official statistics in development

Our Guide for Experimental Statistics sets out the Office for Statistics Regulationā€™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.


Intelligent transparency

This guidance on intelligent transparency sets out the Office for Statistics Regulationā€™s expectations for the transparent release and use of statistics and data. It outlines principles and provides practical advice on how to deliver on these principles. It is informed by the principles set out in the Code of Practice for StatisticsĀ and supports the Office for Statistics Regulationā€™sĀ interventions policy approach to casework.


Publishing Official and National Statistics

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.

Guidance on aspects of Quality

Changing Ā statistical methods

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.


Collecting and reporting data about sex in official statistics draft guidance

This draft guidance on collecting and reporting data about sex in official statistics sets out our expectations on producers with respect to using data sources, in the wider context of meeting user needs. Before finalising this guidance, we would welcome views from any interested parties on how theĀ Code of PracticeĀ applies when thinking about this topic.


Data linkage and sharing

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 ā€“ ā€˜Building confidence in the handling and use of dataā€™ and ā€˜Unlocking the value of data through onward sharingā€™.

Our guideĀ ā€˜Building Confidence in the handling and use of dataā€™Ā 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 systemā€™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 ā€˜Unlocking the value of data through onward sharingā€™ 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

Quality assurance of administrative data (QAAD)

The Office for Statistics Regulationā€™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)


Thinking about quality when producing statistics

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 HMRCā€™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 organisationā€™s guidance, as well as alongside external resources.

Guidance on aspects of Value

Statements about Public Funding

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.


User engagement

Our guidance on user engagement presents a simple framework for analysts and their organisations when thinking about and planning user engagement activities. It has six practice areas. As producers of statistics you need to promote your statistics, understand the need for information, listen to what users have to say and act on the feedback. And to be effective across the organisation, user engagement needs to be planned and collaborative.

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.