The Office for Statistics Regulation has today published its Annual Review of Casework report for 2021/22.
As the UK Statistics Authority’s regulatory arm, OSR investigates all cases reported to the Authority by members of the public, politicians, the media and third sector organisations, as well as issues identified through internal processes, in order to stand up for statistics that serve the public good.
Between April 2021 and March 2022, OSR investigated 241 cases as our total caseload. While this is a reduction in cases when compared with 2020/21, it is still more than double pre-pandemic levels.
Looking at the issues that were raised, just over half of all casework related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst this proportion of cases was lower than 2020/21, it suggests that there is greater public interest in the overall use of data following the pandemic, with our non-pandemic related casework being the highest since we started collecting this information.
Most of the pandemic related casework was focussed on health and social care statistics. However, there was also interest in data about the pandemic for other reasons, such as international travel restrictions and pilot events for the hospitality sector. In the last quarter, there was a definite shift in public interest to broader issues, like the UK response to the Russian invasion into Ukraine.
Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation and head of the Office for Statistics Regulation, said:
“We believe an increasing trend in casework is likely to continue as there is an increased public interest in data following the pandemic. This public interest in data reinforces how important it is that statistics serve the public good, and the need to ensure that official statistics and data are trustworthy, and of high quality and value.
“Our casework is key to challenging and upholding statistics that serve the public good and we take huge pride in ensuring the quality, reliability and trustworthiness of statistics. OSR’s report, set against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and other serious issues, continues to highlight how crucial our work is in protecting the role of statistics in public debate.”
Notes to editors
OSR has seen impact from our interventions this year and will continue to use this work as a powerful tool to serve the public and ensure that statistics serve the public good. This will enable the public have confidence in the statistics produced and used by governments.
We have identified key outcomes of our casework this year. This includes (but is not limited to) outcomes where we have made significant impacts on statistical production and communication within departments, as well as references to our casework in the media, where appropriate, to demonstrate that we are taking appropriate action to support public confidence.
Impacts that we have identified through tracking our casework have included that: data have been released following our intervention; misleading tweets or blogs have been removed; improvements have been made to methodology information or referencing of the source of statistics; and analysts have been more involved in the drafting of blogs and press releases.
During 2021/22 there were several cases that received strong media coverage. These included:
- Employment figure: See Case study – Use of employment figures
- Crime statistics: See Case study – More use of crime statistics
- Vaccine data: See Case study – Statistics on COVID-19 vaccinations
We also benefit from a positive working relationship with other regulators and fact checking organisations, also having 16 notable mentions of our 21/22 casework interventions made during proceedings in the House of Commons, House of Lords and in Scottish Parliament.
For more information about our casework or regulatory work programme, please contact Email: email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)207 592 8659