Penny Babb, Head of Policy and Standards in the Office for Statistics Regulation, and project manager for the review of the National Statistics designation, takes stock of what the review has learnt to date and describes some ideas for refreshing the designation.

Understanding the world around us through numbers has never been more important. The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR), as the regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority, sees statistics as fundamental to public debate and critical to enabling decision making across government, business, education, and all parts of society.

While OSR was formed in 2016 and the Authority in 2008, the National Statistics designation goes back more than 20 years to the beginning of the Framework for National Statistics and the creation of the Office for National Statistics. Having refreshed the Code of Practice in 2018, we began to consider the nature of the designation of National Statistics in late 2019. Since then, we have spoken with producers of official statistics, stakeholders, and users, to hear their views and ideas for how we can improve and reshape the designation to better meet the needs of today – and tomorrow.

These conversations have been central in moulding our ideas and in this article, we describe our current thinking. We hope it will give an opportunity for others to reflect on what they would like from the designation and share their own thinking on how the ideas can be further shaped as we work towards producing our recommendations to the UK Statistics Authority Board in early 2022.

In this article, we set out our diagnosis of the problems with the National Statistics designation, our reflections on what designation means, and some pointers for ways to refresh designation.

You are very welcome to email with your comments.

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