We assess statistics against the standards set out in the Code of Practice for Statistics. Under legislation, assessment is the only tool that allows us to confer National Statistics status on official statistics. National Statistics status tells users that the statistics comply with the Code and meet the highest standards of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value.
We must assess compliance with the Code in response to requests made by a producer in relation to any official statistic. Formal requests are made by those with appropriate authority, such as the National Statistician or responsible Ministers, but the Head of Profession for Statistics usually starts the conversation with us, and we welcome the early informal dialogue. Where no such request has been made, and our Board considers assessment against the Code would be in the public interest, we can seek a request from the appropriate authority, or a written explanation of why such a request is not forthcoming (though we have not needed to do this in recent times).
Once a set of statistics has been assessed once, we can re-assess them at any time, and we can reconfirm designation through a compliance check.