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Assessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics: Family Practitioner Services Statistics in Northern Ireland

11 May 2022
Last updated:
10 May 2022


Championing the Code of Practice for Statistics

1.4 BSO is a trusted and respected producer of official statistics. Strong analytical leadership within BSO has been instrumental in building this trustworthiness. For example, since coming into post, the Senior Statistician has advocated the application of the principles of the Code of Practice to all those involved in producing, publishing and using statistics and data in the organisation. This has resulted in the redevelopment of BSO’s statistical releases in line with the Code and user feedback, and the publication of code compliance and policy documents. The Senior Statistician is well respected across the organisation and is involved in organisation-wide activities, including sitting on the Family Practitioner Services Senior Management Team. The Senior Statistician has also previously briefed the BSO Senior Management Team on official statistics and the management team’s responsibilities in relation to them. 


1.5 Another aspect of BSO’s practices which supports its trustworthiness is the approach the statisticians take to transparency. BSO publishes a statistics charter and a statement of compliance regarding pre-release access. These documents comprehensively set out how BSO complies with the Code of Practice, including detailed policies on revisions and errors, user engagement and pre-release.The results of previous user surveys and follow up interviews have been published, including actions implemented and planned. It is excellent to hear that BSO plans to publish the R code for some of its visualisations – this is a great way to enhance transparency and to facilitate the sharing of knowledge among producers. 

1.6 While we did not identify any formal requirements, we did suggest some minor changes to further enhance the trustworthiness of BSO’s statistics. BSO has taken all of these on board – for example, it has committed to implementing and publishing an ‘issues log’. This will bring together information about revisions and errors, including what steps have been taken to reduce the risk of repeating errors. As well as increasing transparency for users, the team reflected that this will serve as a useful resource for new staff, identifying common pitfalls and lessons learned. 

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