Annex 2: Code Maturity Model – an approach to integrated practice

Heads of Profession for Statistics and statistical leaders will be considering a variety of work areas in which they and their organisations are seeking to develop practice and business strategies. For example, we mentioned above the GSS user engagement strategy that calls on all producers to develop their own strategy for enhancing their engagement with users and potential users. Producers will also be thinking about their data governance approach in response to data protection legislation. They may be thinking about how they use data ethically and look to follow the recent guidance from the Centre for Applied Data Ethics. They are also called on to improve quality management through developing a data maturity model as part of the Government Data Quality Framework.

There are many aspects of statistics practice that interface with these kinds of strategies. We recommend that, rather than thinking about these strategies as separate approaches, producers see how they come together by applying the Code framework of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value (TQV). The Code Maturity Model can help producers keep track of how organisationally and strategically it can effectively demonstrate the Code standards. Taking an integrated approach gives the opportunity to maximise the benefits from these individual strategies and to also ensure that applying TQV is deliberate and proactive within producer organisations.

Being a maturity model, it has a scaled breakdown of how producers show each of the Code pillars, with four levels. It starts with ‘Beginning’, through progressively more developed levels of performance of ‘Progressing’ and ‘Accomplishing’, to the top level of ‘Exemplary’. The power of a maturity model is to aid an organisation in understanding itself, to honestly accept where it has strengths and limitations, and to recognise what it can do to develop. An openness of an organisation to appreciate its position in the CMM reflects an organisation that is willing and desiring to improve to better meet its goals for serving the public good and wants to work out how to do so.

While ‘accomplishing’ is showing good standards of practice, achieving ‘exemplary’ is not to indicate perfection. But it does point to an organisation that is flourishing in that Code pillar and is an example for others to follow. And as we noted before, if you are not moving forward, you are drifting backwards – exemplary practice is something that has to be worked at to be maintained. ‘Exemplary’ is about proactive and coherent practice.

The CMM provides a way for an organisation to better understand itself which in turn will be useful for producers to provide insight and reassurance to both OSR in its regulatory role and to users through the producer’s organisational statements of compliance. The introduction to the second edition of the Code of Practice encourages producers to publish statements of compliance – some have. We also ask voluntary adopters to publish statements of compliance – these are important statements simply setting out how the organisation in its own words is showing TQV. Compliance statements provide a means for the organisation to show its commitment to the Code standards and make itself accountable to its users for its approach.

We don’t intend to mandate application of the Code Maturity Model but we do encourage producers to do so. The goal is not about rating or ranking producers but to suggest an effective approach of getting the most from applying the Code of Practice.

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