The essence of designation

Through our NS review we have been reminded that the purpose of designation is to serve as a signal of compliance; to protect against interference; and, to inspire producers to improve their practice and enhance the public value of their statistics.

In getting back to its fundamental purpose, we want to reiterate the meaning of designation which we have expressed in this definition:

‘Designated statistics have been independently reviewed as serving the public good’

Simply, designation matters because in a world of abundant data you need to know which statistics you can trust. Designated statistics have been verified by OSR as serving the public good. This means they have been judged to comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics and show Trustworthiness, Quality and Value.

We need designation to inspire producers to improve their statistical practice and to enhance the public value of their statistics. Producers need to be proactive because if they are not deliberate and focused on driving improvement, standards slip and opportunities are missed – if you are not moving forwards, you are drifting backwards. Statistics may then no longer represent or serve society well.

And official statistics are a public asset – this means that the statistics are produced for the public, about the public, with the public. Producers need to show that statistics are the result of public engagement. Users and stakeholders are not only needed to help guide official statistics but also to assist in forming our regulatory decisions. Without the public we each cannot effectively serve the public good. The GSS user engagement strategy recognises this important need to build a meaningful and sustained dialogue. Producers have made progress over the past decade but as the strategy states more needs to be done. We wish to underscore the centrality of the public in official statistics.

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