In 2021 the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) completed a review of the National Statistics designation, which involved input from statistics producers across government and stakeholders within and beyond government. In February 2022, the UK Statistics Authority Board approved the recommendation to move away from publicly using the label of ‘National Statistics’. Instead, we will focus on the role of the designation as an independent review of official statistics, which provides reassurance to users of statistics of the professional standards being applied to produce the information. You can read more about the National Statistics review here.
We currently describe ‘National Statistics’ as the most important official statistics that have been demonstrated, through assessment, to meet the very highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value, set out in the Code of Practice for Statistics. Only they carry the unique logo of the National Statistics tick mark, having been designated by OSR, as the regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority.
Outline of the designation refresh project
Following on from our review, we have moved into a new phase of developing and testing ideas. The project will run through autumn 2022 and is split into three work streams:
Work stream 1: reframing the designation
This work stream focuses on how to explain the designation so that producers of statistics and stakeholders clearly understand it. As part of this, we will consider key terms and concepts, such as ‘experimental statistics’ and ways to highlight that statistical producers are accountable to the statistics regulator, OSR. The development will involve user testing of all the solutions identified, carried out with the assistance of communications experts and producers, including the cross-government network of statistical presentation and dissemination champions. We will involve different types of statistics users, as well as other stakeholders, to participate in the testing, as it is essential that the messaging is clear to a wide range of audiences.
Work stream 2: supporting producer Code culture and processes
This work stream focuses on supporting producer culture and processes. We have developed three tools, to assist statistical leaders and analysts with applying the Code. These are the Code ‘ABC’ approach, the Statistical Practice Capability Framework (formerly Code Maturity Model) and the Quality Grade tool. These developments are being run in partnership with statistical producers, including the cross-government network of statistical quality champions: all three tools will be extensively tested by producers before they are finalised. Alongside producers, users of statistics will also be involved in testing our tool for communicating quality: this will help ensure that the tool allows producers to deliver clear messages for users about the quality of statistics.
Work stream 3: refreshing the assessment process
This work stream focuses on refreshing the assessment process and will be conducted by the regulatory team in OSR. It will consider how to confirm compliance in both short-form and in-depth reviews, to ensure that assessment is proportionate and flexible. The longer reviews could focus on specific aspects of practice, such as statistical methods, and user engagement approaches. This workstream will also establish the means for ongoing engagement by OSR with statistics users, to ensure their experiences of using the official statistics and their information needs inform our judgement.
Please do let us know if you are interested in being involved by emailing email@example.com. We are very happy to deliver presentations/lead discussion groups on all or some of the above.
Roadmap for the refresh project
December – March 2023:
- WS1: Review findings of testing/piloting and develop recommendations on any changes and their implementation
April – June 2023:
- WS1: Report to Regulation Committee and Authority Board on findings and recommendations on messaging from WS1
- WS1: Publish findings paper on new messaging, with 2-month window for opportunity for public comment
- WS1: Web user testing of badges in WS1and refine designs
July – August 2023:
- WS1: Review feedback regarding messaging, to determine and address any significant areas of concern
- WS1: Develop and share guidance for producers and promotional material for users
- WS1: Report to Regulation Committee on final messaging decisions and refined badge designs
September – December 2023:
- WS1: Adopt new messaging by OSR and official statistics producers
- WS1: Consult on new badges
- WS3: Implement refreshed assessment approach
January – March 2024
- WS1: Review consultation responses on badges
- WS1: Report to Regulation Committee and Authority Board on final recommendations for badges
- WS1: If approved, launch the new badges with promotional and guidance material for users and producers
- WS2: Report on the Statistical Practice Capability Framework (previously called the Code Maturity Model) and Quality grade tool (WS2)