Regulatory activity: our decision making and toolkit explained

We publish an annual Regulatory Work Programme which sets out proposed projects for the coming year. This document complements the work programme and our wider Business Plan, giving more detail on how we make decisions on our priorities, including how we decide if and when we will intervene, and how we decided which of our regulatory tools – assessment, compliance checks, systemic reviews, casework – we chose to use.

In most circumstances, the decision on the most appropriate regulatory tool is clear. For example, issues that require our immediate attention through casework, or topics that cut across the statistics landscape and so lend themselves to a systemic review generally self-identify.

Whether to undertake an assessment or compliance check is often less clear. We use assessments and compliance checks across a spectrum to judge compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics for individual sets of statistics or small groups of related statistics and data (for example, covering the same topics across the UK). Whether we use an assessment or compliance check will often be determined by balancing the value of investigating a specific issue (through a compliance check) versus the need to cover the full scope of the Code of Practice (though an assessment).

There is no ‘typical’ assessment or compliance check – each project is scoped and designed to reflect its needs. An assessment will always be used when it concerns a new National Statistics designation and will also be used to undertake in-depth reviews of the highest profile, highest value statistics, especially where potentially critical issues have been identified.

Compliance checks can lead to assessments. Casework and systemic reviews can also highlight issues that lead to recommendations for assessments and compliance checks. Conversely, common sets of issues can be identified from assessments and compliance checks that point to the need for a systemic review.

What this all adds up to is that our use of our regulatory tools is fluid and responsive to specific circumstances, rather than being one size fits all.

We hope that you will find this a useful guide in understanding the factors we consider in making our decisions. If you would like further information or to feedback on this document please email us or speak to any of our team.

Download the regulatory activity paper as a PDF (0.24MB)

Related Links

The Authority’s role in making public interventions on the use of statistics (196 kB PDF)

Our regulatory approach: how we apply the Code of Practice for Statistics