Assessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics: Statistics on Statutory Homelessness in England

Published:
15 December 2021
Last updated:
17 January 2022

Chapter 3: Trustworthiness

Independent and orderly statistics

Like many statistics producers who rely on data from LAs the covid pandemic affected data collections and so the Statutory Homelessness statistics along with other outputs from DLUHC were delayed. These delays were announced by the Head of Profession for statistics at DLUHC in May 2020. Since then, the team has been working to get the outputs back to being published to a more regular timetable in line with the pre-pandemic period. During our assessment we found that the statistics are released in an orderly way and are presented impartially and objectively.

All publications are pre-announced on the ‘upcoming statistics release’ page on the uk website which is also signposted from the ‘Statistics at DLUHC’ webpage. DLUHC has a dedicated section to pre-release access to official statistics, in line with the Pre-release Access to Official Statistics Order 2008 and which is kept up to date for each statistical release.

DLUHC’s revisions policy on its website and further coverage in the Technical Note demonstrates transparency about its approach to scheduled and non-scheduled revisions. As already mentioned in section 2 above, the information on revisions provided in the Technical Note could be enhanced by providing further information on how the policy is applied in practice and being clear about the causes, size, and extent of revisions each quarter.

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Professional development and resources

Statistics and felt well-supported by them in any decision making around the statistics. The team told us that new starters are encouraged to attend Code of Practice Core Curriculum sessions, and that new and existing staff are required to complete ‘Responsible for Information’ training annually which covers topics such as Protecting and sharing information and managing information as an asset. The team also receives guidance on the appropriate use of the statistics. The statistics team has good relationships with the policy team with policy briefing lines agreed between the teams to avoid any perceived misuse of the statistics.

The team told us that staff are well trained to cover each other’s roles and that different members of the team have previously held teach ins for different processes for newer members of the team. At each production round, the team rotates roles where possible to allow members to lead on different parts of the process. They have handover notes, and guidance for the data collection and publication processes.

In terms of sharing resources and cross-collaboration across the department the team told us that they try to link up with other teams where possible so as not to duplicate work. The statistics team circulates a newsletter to policy colleagues and other areas to let them know what it is working on, which keeps teams informed of their work. The team also take many opportunities to present at other teams’ meetings to ensure

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Data governance

This assessment has not highlighted any concerns around DLUHC’s data governance practices. Access to the data collection platform DELTA is strictly controlled via individual accounts, with guidance on appropriate use provided to DELTA users. DLUHC told us that it is establishing suitable processes to enable the sharing of personal data for data linkage. However, appropriate access arrangements may also need to be put in place to ensure the protection of personal data as the team move forward with their plans to make case-level data available for re-use, for example, in terms of ensuring safe and controlled access to either the detailed micro-data, or through an enhanced data dashboard.

This assessment has not identified any requirements relating to the trustworthiness of these statistics.

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