Our work on data about sex and gender identity

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is currently working on a number of topics regarding data about sex and gender identity.

This page was last updated on 7 September 2023

We are currently reviewing and updating our guidance on collecting and reporting data about sex. We are planning to publish updated guidance later in 2023.  

OSR has a remit across the Code of Practice for Statistics’ three pillars of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value to ensure the best available data is collected for the intended use, that users’ needs for data are addressed and that statistics are correctly reported. 

In response to producer needs in this topic area we published draft guidance on collecting and reporting data about sex. The guidance draws directly from the standards of the Code of Practice and sets out our expectations of what statistics producers should consider when collecting and reporting data about sex in order to meet the expected standards of trustworthiness, quality and value. The guidance is intended to support statistics producers and others to make decisions about the data and statistics they collect and report.   

We first published the guidance in February 2021 and marked it as draft. We have welcomed email comments from statistical producers and other stakeholders who have shared views with us since we first published this guidance. We are now working to develop a revised draft that takes into account this feedback, feedback we have received across our wider regulatory work and our own organisational learning in these topic areas. 

There continues to be discussion, debate and developments in the topic areas of sex and gender identity, and we are seeing an increasing volume of work on these topics across our casework, our planned regulatory work and in our horizon scanning and engagement discussions.  

If you would like to register your interest so we can keep you updated on this work, please get in touch with us at regulation@statistics.gov.uk 

This section updates on our ongoing review of statistics on gender identity based on data collected by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), as part of the 2021 England and Wales Census.  


Our review is formed around the Code of Practice for Statistics and will consider ONS’ approach to responding to questions raised by users about the results of the data. It will not consider gender identity as a concept or the decision to collect data on gender identity. 


The first release of statistics by ONS on gender identity based on data collected in the 2021 Census was in January 2023. Following this publication, we received concerns regarding the correlation of gender identity with other characteristics, as well as the level of methodological information published on how the gender identity question has been processed. We reviewed these concerns through our casework process and wrote to ONS on 24 April advising it that we were undertaking a short review of the gender identity data. 

On 19 June ONS published an article which provided additional information on the methodology for collecting and processing data on gender identity in Census 2021. Upon publication of this article, we wrote to ONS to welcome the additional information and to share our emerging findings from our review. ONS had committed to publishing further information in summer 2023 to provide greater insight into the data.  On 30 August ONS released a statement advising that this research is ongoing and that it will publish further updates in due course.

OSR review publication date

We had intended to report our findings once ONS published its remaining research papers. We will now publish an interim report in late September/early October. This will set out our position so far based on the testing, quality assurance and communication and engagement with users both in advance of publishing the results and where appropriate from the research programme to date. It also will also set out our expectations of what is needed from the ONS to provide assurance on the gender identity data and harmonised question in line with the Code of Practice.

We will update this page with the publication date of the interim report when this is finalised.

OSR Review Correspondence