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 Home Office is a trusted and respected producer of official statistics. Consequently, many users look to its website for up-to-date statistics on policing and data on what the police do. The team at Home Office is well managed and has recently been restructured; as a result of this restructuring the police funding statistics now have a permanent home within the Policing Analytical unit. This restructuring supports the ongoing development of the statistics and provides a good opportunity to grow and better understand the user base (see 1.13).
The trustworthiness of these statistics is important because they bring transparency to changes in police funding. As part of its transparency, the team provides an annex of the different police bodies that are included in the police funding statistics, and a list of the government departments and job titles of those that get pre-release access to the statistics, on the landing page. The statistics were created for the public good as a result of complaints made to OSR in 2018 about the difficulty in understanding police funding data and them not all being presented in a single place.
The statistics are based on financial accounts which are published in the Police Grant report and debated in the UK Parliament each December.
- The Police Grant report is voted on by the UK Parliament and contains grant funding allocations for the coming financial year.
- Home Office accompanies the Police Grant report with a written ministerial statement providing context and information on funding that is not set out in the Police Grant report.
- Home Office then shares the Police Grant report and proposed funding uplift with PCCs, so they can add a percentage of their council tax revenue to the funding figure.
The statistics are produced after the police funding settlement is agreed by the UK Parliament and by PCCs at the start of each financial year. These negotiations are not in the public domain and so the publication of the statistics the following July brings together the confirmed funding uplift for the current financial year. The police funding uplift is agreed at the start of the financial year, and the publication of these statistics enhances the public debate around police funding and ensures public scrutiny of UK Government policies. This process is not clearly explained in the statistics and users told us that a discussion about the processes that take place before the statistics are produced would increase the transparency of the statistics. The team intends to use the proposed user guide to provide details of the key events that take place before the statistics are produced.
Summary of Findings and Requirements
There is no information published alongside the statistics about the processes for agreeing funding and no discussion of why this impacts the delay in publishing statistics.
Users said it would be useful if Home Office published more information about the events that take place prior to producing the statistics.
To ensure transparency, clarity and insight, Home Office should provide a clear explanation of the funding allocation and approval process.