Annex 1: An ABC of designation

Here’s a simple model that we recommend to all producers as a way of thinking about designation and the Code:

A = Apply TQV
B = Be sure – self-evaluate/peer review
C = Confirm designation – have your OS verified by independent review

Apply TQV

It has been great to hear how the Code has become central to statistical practice across producer organisations. It provides a strong foundation for good practice throughout the organisation if analysts and statistical leaders advocate the Code pillars and when there is endorsement from the top. We encourage statistical producers to promote the Code with their colleagues and help them appreciate their responsibilities in how they handle data.

Our experience with voluntary application of the Code pillars has confirmed the value of using this framework in a variety of settings. This wider application is not about broadening the regulatory reach of OSR but to realise greater benefits for the organisations from the individual and collective challenge in adopting the TQV framework.

Be sure

This is a prompt to statistical leaders to check and see how the Code is being understood and applied. It can be easy to assume that central guidance is being carried out but assumptions can be dangerous. There are some good examples across statistical producers of checking – one of my favourites is the Welsh Government’s approach to quality management across its statistical teams. You can read a case study about its approach on our Code website.

Taking stock provides the means to identify good examples as well as good lessons for sharing. We would like to see statistical leaders adopt ways of reviewing practice and of sharing with each other what works and what doesn’t. Being open to hearing criticism from others is also a key skill – it requires a preparedness for sharing vulnerabilities and a willingness to possibly hear some hard truths. There are opportunities for producers to partner with others to offer and receive peer reviews. In addition, OSR can look at developing a self-assessment guide to help producers reflect on getting the most from the approach.

Confirm through designation

The designation may not be the starting point but it is valuable for official statistics, as it is the outward confirmation for users of the standards that have been applied. Producers can gain the benefit of external review by us as the regulator to see how you can further improve your statistics. Being the product of independent verification is vital for achieving the confidence of the public, who told us that a commitment to high standards is not enough.

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