Today, the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has written to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) following a review of its NHS Test and Trace (England) statistics and NHS COVID-19 app statistics. 

Statistics about the Test and Trace programme are a vital source of information that support public understanding of the pandemic and the government response to it. Given the recent and planned changes to self-isolation rules in England, the level of public interest in these statistics has risen, prompting OSR to carry out its review.  

In the review, OSR welcomes the significant improvements to the statistics made by DHSC over the last year. In its letter to DHSC, OSR highlights areas where the statistics must be further enhanced so that the Test and Trace programme can be better understood. 

Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation, said: 

“We welcome the progress by DHSC in making significant improvements to its Test and Trace statistics. It is clear that the team have worked hard to develop the statistics since our review in July last year.” 

He continued: 

There are still several important questions which the statistics do not answer at present. They include how many people who are asked to self-isolate do not fully comply; and how many close contacts go on to test positive.  DHSC should look to fill these gaps as a priority, and work with other organisations where it is not possible to fill the gaps using data from the Test and Trace system alone.” 

OSR will continue to work with statistics producers across government to ensure that statistics serve the public good.