Assessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics: Statistics from the People and Nature Survey for England

10 January 2023
Last updated:
9 January 2023

Executive summary

Judgement on National Statistics Status

ES.1 Natural England asked the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) to assess the People and Nature Survey (PaNS) for England. In requesting this assessment, the PaNS team is demonstrating its commitment to produce statistics that meet the standards required of National Statistics and the Code of Practice for Statistics.

ES.2 We have identified four requirements for Natural England to fulfil for statistics from the PaNS to be designated as National Statistics. Once Natural England demonstrates that these steps have been undertaken, OSR will recommend that the UK Statistics Authority designate the statistics as National Statistics.

ES.3 Natural England is working towards having implemented the requirements in time for the next annual publication, expected in late 2023. The PaNS team has agreed to publish an action plan by the end of January 2023, outlining the steps that it will take to address the requirements, and will update us as the work progresses.

Key findings

ES.4 Statistics from the PaNS present an overall view of people’s enjoyment, access, understanding of and attitudes towards the natural environment, and its contributions to wellbeing. The statistics are valued by a range of users across policy areas, academia, and research.

ES.5 The team has several welcome developments in the pipeline but could do more to promote these and the survey itself by broadening its user base and taking a more transparent approach to both user engagement and its communication around future development plans, which would further enhance the public value of the PaNS.

ES.6 Work is progressing on harmonisation between the People and Nature Surveys in England and Wales and therefore the team should also take steps to engage with their counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland to explore the feasibility of UK-wide harmonisation in order to address this gap identified by users. Users we spoke to also expressed a need for information on the comparability between PaNS and its predecessor the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) Survey. We welcome that the team has sought advice and is exploring plans on how to address this.

ES.7 We have not identified any material concerns around the quality of the PaNS data, and users report that they have confidence in the quality of the survey data. There is a strong relationship between the PaNS team at Natural England and their data supplier with regular engagement which has led to continuous data quality improvements.

ES.8 A proportion of survey participants are answering ‘Don’t know/Prefer not to say’ to some of the key survey questions which can affect users’ interpretation of the statistics. Natural England has agreed to undertake work to understand the reasons behind survey participants answering ‘Don’t know/Prefer not to say’.

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