Futureproofing the Code of Practice for Statistics: findings and next steps from our review

19 March 2024
Last updated:
20 March 2024


The Code of Practice for Statistics sets the standards that producers of official statistics should commit to. It supports producers in ensuring the statistics they provide are of high quality and answer society’s questions. It also provides the means to hold producer bodies and their representatives to account when statistics, or the use of statistics, fall short of meeting users’ needs.

It is now more than five years since the second edition of the Code of Practice for Statistics was published. Since that time, the Code has been firmly embedded into the work of government analysts producing official statistics and by some analytical organisations outside of government, but there has also been a lot of change in the data landscape, an increased desire for statistics from users, and changes in the ways statistics are produced.

We launched a review of the Code – Futureproofing the Code – in September 2023 to provide an opportunity to hear thoughts from stakeholders across a wide range of settings about the suitability of the Code and on how it can be adapted to meet the challenges and opportunities related to data and statistics on the horizon.

We held a series of public events and sessions with producers and stakeholders over the autumn of 2023, as well as a written call for evidence.

We are now able to present the findings and recommendations from these engagement activities. The key outcomes of the review are as follows:



We will refresh the Code of Practice, producing a third edition.


While a strong message received throughout the review is that the Code is highly regarded by those producing official statistics, as well as by other stakeholders, there was wide acceptance of the changed and further evolving data landscape over the past five years and consensus that the Code can be enhanced both in its content and presentation. Therefore, in line with our own view that to be effective the Code should remain relevant and reflective of the needs and nature of society, OSR will refresh the current Code. We will consult publicly on our ideas for a refreshed code later in 2024.

number_2_blueOSR will replace the National Statistics badge with one for accredited official statistics. OSR will not introduce badges for official statistics and official statistics in development.

The call for evidence sought views on introducing new badges for accredited official statistics (known as National Statistics in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007) and other official statistics. The responses received largely supported replacing the current accredited official statistics badge, which include the words ‘National Statistics’ with a new badge using the words ‘Accredited Official Statistics’. Responses on new proposed badges for official statistics and official statistics in development (previously known as ‘experimental statistics’) were more mixed and we heard concerns over additional badges causing confusion for users of statistics. As a result, we do not propose to introduce the new badges, instead asking producers to focus on even clearer written labelling of official statistics and official statistics in development.

number_3_blueOSR will further review the voluntary application (VA) scheme, considering the detail of the feedback provided in the call for evidence, in partnership with the members of the VA community of practice in 2024.

The call for evidence also asked for views about the voluntary application of the Code pillars beyond official statistics. OSR believes that the Code pillars are universal and provide a helpful framework for data, statistics and analysis produced beyond government. This view was endorsed in the responses to the questions about voluntary application. The responses provided many helpful suggestions for areas OSR can focus on to further grow and develop the VA scheme, which we will consider in 2024.

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