Trustworthiness means that the statistics and other numerical information are produced free from vested interest, based on the best professional judgement of statisticians and other analysts.
Trustworthiness is a product of the people, systems and processes within organisations that enable and support the production of statistics and other numerical information.
The statistics team are well established and trusted
Contact details for PSU are provided in the bulletin and landing pages for users who require further information about the statistics. The statisticians in PSU working on PIP have been in post for a long time and have a good understanding of the context and history of PIP statistics. Users who have contacted PSU told us that the team is always helpful and knowledgeable when responding to their queries. This demonstrates the professional capability of the team and the trustworthiness of the statistics.
The statistics team has developed strong and positive working relationships with policy and operational colleagues in DfC and regularly provides information to support operational activity or policy development. We found that the statistics team strives to help with internal queries as far as possible and that decisions made to supply new breakdowns of data are made in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics, ensuring that statistics and data are handled with honesty and integrity.
DfC has a dedicated webpage for its statistics protocols and compliance, which includes a publication timetable, revisions policy, information on who has been granted pre-release access, and a statement of compliance with the Pre-release Access to Official Statistics Order (Northern Ireland) 2009. Users within DfC told us that pre-release access is controlled well and that the statistics team is not influenced by senior figures, further demonstrating commitment to handling data in a trustworthy manner.
DfC should be transparent about its development priorities
Due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, a business plan was not finalised for PSU for 2020/21. Whilst PSU does not routinely publish a statistical development plan, the statistics team should be transparent about its development priorities and its progress towards achieving these developments, even if the timescales are uncertain. Being open about why the PIP statistics in NI may differ from those for GB and explaining why information highlighted earlier in this report as data gaps has been available on an ad-hoc basis through Freedom of Information requests and Assembly Questions, would enhance the trustworthiness of the statistics.
The PIP statistics are released in an orderly way and the statistics team is well established and trusted.
We have no requirements relating to the trustworthiness of the statistics.