Annex A - Casework management information

As the regulator of official statistics, we do not ourselves produce official statistics, but we voluntarily apply our Code pillars in production of this management information. 

The information provided in the table shows the total number of cases considered by UKSA/OSR and the average (mean and median) time from opening to closing a case. 

A case is opened when it is received from an external source or an issue is identified by a member of OSR. A case is closed when the issue has been considered and any necessary action has been taken. 

The median and mean number of days taken to close a case are reported. This measure is based on calendar days (not working days) so includes weekends and bank holidays. The median is considered the best headline measure as it reflects the typical experience. When calculating time taken to close a case, cases that were closed on the same day that they were received or identified have a one day response time, rather than 0. 

Casework Summary Management Information 2022/23

Quarter Cases opened Time to close a case (days) Median Time to close a case (days) Mean
Q1: Apr - Jun 2022 49 22 25
Q2: Jul - Sept 2022 223 27 25
Q3: Oct - Dec 2022 48 24 32
Q4: Jan - Mar 2023 52 23 29
Annual Cases opened Time to close a case (days) Median Time to close a case (days) Mean
All cases 2022/23 372 27 26
All cases 2021/22 241 11 20
All cases 2020/21 323 10 14
All cases 2019/20 109 13 20

Alongside this year’s casework report, we are also publishing more detailed management information from 2019 to 2023. The data will be updated each year in line with the casework annual report. Although we are releasing this MI, it is important to highlight that this is intended to help us make decisions on casework resourcing and to identify patterns or trends in areas we may want to explore further. You cannot make assumptions on the state of the statistical system as a whole from this MI.  

How to use the management information

  • Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole per cent.
  • Not all cases have a replied on date (for example internally generated casework may not result in a physical output). In these cases, we have included the cleared date. This is the date that the recommendations for how to take the casework forward has been signed off by the DG.
  • Internally generated cases are issues that have been noticed by internal staff. The OSR team monitor the use of statistics in public debate including social media.
  • The categories in this report are provided to give an indication of the areas and issues covered by casework. There may be cases which could be classified as multiple categories, in these cases a decision has been made on which category is most relevant. In each case only one has been selected. As part of a range of process improvements OSR is looking to develop the categories and make improvements to the management information associated with Casework.
  • Definitions of themes;
    • Use/Misuse of statistics: there are concerns that statistics have been used inappropriately or incorrectly in public debate (whether deliberately or not)
    • Presentation: there are concerns with how the data, statistics or the supplementary guidance has been presented (including issues with accessibility).
    • Availability of statistics: there are concerns with a statement made in public debate that can’t be replicated as the underlying statistics are not publicly available, there are identified gaps in data available that there is public interest in or data that was expected to be made available but isn’t published as expected.
    • Quality, reliability, trustworthiness (including assessment): Concerns that data doesn’t meet the requirements of the Code of Practice for Statistics. May result in regulatory work such as compliance checks.
    • Coherence and consistency: concerns with how statistics will be interpreted across users and the public or concerns with coherency and consistency in the way statistics have been produced. This can include changes in methodology which means you can no longer compare statistics over time.
    • Beyond the scope of official statistics: Concerns do not related to official statistics, however we may still look into these concerns if we think we can positively influence the outcome.
    • Legal (including non-compliance and disclosure): Cases under this category are in relation to legislation (statistical or otherwise) or where it is considered there may have been a breach of the law. For example, this could include concerns with data protection.
    • Pre release: concerns that official statistics have been released, either in part or in full, ahead of the preannounced publication date and time in a way that does not support equality of access.
    • Reduction in coverage or quality (cuts): concerns that data quality or availability is reduced and as a result is no longer meeting the needs of its users.
  • The time taken to complete casework can have a large level of skew and so, where possible, both the median and the arithmetic mean have been calculated. In order to offset the effects of this skewness the median is the headline measure used in discussion.
  • Our domains have changed since the creation of the database that we use to log our casework. Cases have been assigned to the old domains based on the topic that they most align to and to make this easy to compare against for previous years, however work will be ongoing to align the database with the new domains and their topic areas.

Download management information source data 2019-2023

Annex B – Statement of voluntary compliance

This statement of voluntary compliance shows how we have followed the principles of the Code of Practice for Statistics in the production and release of the management information for casework during 2022/23.

OSR does not produce Official Statistics, rather it regulates those who do produce Official Statistics and as such it is appropriate that we follow our own guidelines and voluntarily adopt the principles of the Code of Practice for Statistics as much as possible.

The Code of Practice for Statistics has three pillars:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Quality
  • Value

Trustworthiness: Confidence in the people and organisations that produce statistics and data

As civil servants all staff agree to abide by the Civil Service principles of integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality and undertake mandatory learning for information assurance and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). The work we undertake is to ensure that confidence in the independence of statistics is not undermined and that statistics, data and explanatory materials are presented impartially and objectively. We do this through our casework function by looking into the concerns raised with us.

OSR is the regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority; this is a non-ministerial department which means we are not accountable to a minister and so free from political pressures that other departments may face. We remain accountable to the Regulation Committee, a committee made up of Non-Executive Directors, the OSR Director General (DG) and the Chair of the Authority. This committee specifically excludes statistical producers, consistent with the statutory requirement for the separation of statistical production and assessment. When it comes to completing casework, our DG will sign off on all casework with the exception of when there is a conflict of interest. In this event the DG will not be involved in the casework process to reduce the opportunity for bias with our interventions.

This annual casework report was preannounced on our website ahead of publication (including any changes to the proposed date of publishing). Access to the MI in the report and the key messages was not shared outside of OSR before release however the case studies included were shared with the relevant departments ahead of publication to ensure factual accuracy and to provide advanced notice that their specific case would be included. The timing of the report is appropriate in order to summarise the casework year. Should users need data during the year they are able to access our issue logs weekly and a numerical table of our MI quarterly on our website.

Data is collected and stored securely with access to the data limited to those who need to see it. Our privacy policy on data collection is available on our website. Any personal data collected for MI purposes has been removed from this data release as appropriate.

Quality: Data and methods that produce assured statistics

The data provided are collected by us during the year for each case we undertake. This MI enables us to get an insight into trends in year and previous years to see if there is anything we can learn or improve on in future.

Whilst we do make improvements year on year, the MI collected has remained largely the same. Where there are differences in what we collect year on year or when compared to what we do, these have been explained in the report and the assumptions section for the data. This includes where appropriate the limitations of the data and the conclusions we can make from it. This also includes explaining the potential impact the social media campaign had on our MI and what our conclusions would have been without it.

The data used in this report has been through internal quality assurance by someone not involved in the construction of the report who has the appropriate skills and experience to provide quality assurance.

Value: Statistics that support society’s need for information

In order to increase the awareness of our annual casework report we have used our own social media and websites to highlight the release as well as using appropriate media and regulatory contacts to ask them to highlight our report or share our social media.

Access to our annual report is free to access and available to everyone at the same time and the report is presented in a way that shows clear analysis and interpretation of the data with charts and tables as well as providing the raw data that underpins these assumptions. We have ensured that any colour in the charts comparing 2022/23 and 2021/22 remains consistent throughout the report to reduce the potential for misunderstanding.

We would love to better understand user needs when it comes to this annual report so if you have any feedback about this or previous year reports, please contact with your feedback or comments on how we can better meet your needs for future reports.

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Annex C – Parliamentary discussions of casework

April 2022

On 21 April, during Prime Minister’s Questions a Commons debate on the referral of the Prime Minister to the Committee of Privileges, Christian Matheson MP said: “I do not recall one occasion on which he has come back to the House and corrected the record. Not one. I think that there is an outstanding letter to him from the UK Statistics Authority about a misleading claim that he has yet to come back to correct.”

An OSR investigation into the success rate of court appeals was mentioned by Anne McLaughlin MP in a Lords debate on the Judicial Review and Courts Bill in the House of Commons on 26 April.

May 2022

On 16 May, Christine Jardine MP referred to a letter from the UK Statistics Authority in a Point of Order on the Prime Minister’s use of employment statistics in a Commons debate.

November 2022

On 8 November, during a Plenary session in the Scottish Parliament, the use of incorrect claims about energy statistics was raised by Stephen Kerr MSP and clarification received from the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority was mentioned

In Home Office Oral Questions on 14 November, the publication of data on families with leave to remain but no recourse to public funds was requested and reference was made to correspondence with the UK Statistics Authority by Sir Stephen Timms MP.

On 23 November, during a Procedure Committee session on correcting the record, the work of the Authority, OSR (although witnesses said the Office for National Statistics (ONS)) and Sir David Norgrove’s interventions on employment figures was discussed by Chris Elmore MP.

December 2022

On 6 December, following the misuse of energy statistics, a point of order was raised in the Scottish Parliament plenary and a letter from Sir Robert Chote, the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, was referenced by Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP.

In the Treasury Committee on the work of the Treasury on 12 December, figures spoken by the Prime Minister on funding public pay claims were debated by Dame Angela Eagle and reference was made to ‘statistics watchdogs.’

Reference was made by Drew Hendry MP and Chris Bryant MP to a letter from Sir Robert Chote regarding trade deals on 15 December during international trade oral questions.

January 2023

In the Scottish Parliament plenary on 12 January, there was a point of order raised by Alexander Burnett MSP on the First Minister’s use of data without it being in the public domain and OSR was mentioned.

March 2023

On 27 March and  28 March during debates on the Illegal Migration Bill, there were notable references made by Stephen Kinnock MP to the Authority’s recent intervention on asylum statistics, in particular on the asylum backlog.

Jessica Morden MP referenced the UK Statistics Authority’s intervention on use of asylum backlog statistics during Business of the House on 29 March.