The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has today published draft guidance on collecting and reporting data about sex. This guidance sets out our expectations on producers with respect to using data sources, in the wider context of meeting user needs.

Below we have summarised our key expectations of producers under each pillar of the Code of Practice for Statistics:

Trustworthiness – Producers must be transparent about what data are being collected and clear and open about the reasons for the terminology used to describe the data in the statistics, bearing in mind the intended use of the statistics. Judgements about the data, methods, and the limitations and strengths of the statistics should be clearly explained.

Quality – Statistics producers need to ensure data and statistics are of sufficient quality. This means that the statistics should be based on appropriate data and methods. Producers must have a good understanding of the sources of the data they are using and how they are collected. The nature of data sources used, and how and why they were selected, should be explained. Potential bias, uncertainty and possible distortive effects in the source data should be identified and the extent of any impact on the statistics should be clearly reported.

Value – Statistics should meet their intended uses and be sufficient for the decisions they are being used to inform. To achieve this, producers need to understand their user base and the questions they now want answered. This will allow producers to make better judgements about any guidance they should provide about how the statistics can be used, and to be flexible in answering user needs, which will ensure the continued value of the statistics.

We have published this guidance on collecting and reporting data about sex in official statistics as draft. Before finalising this guidance, we would welcome views from any interested parties on how the Code of Practice applies when thinking about this topic.