What we do

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is the regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority, a body established by the Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007).

We are independent from government Ministers. We are separate from producers of statistics, including the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In line with the Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007) our principal roles are to:

  • set the statutory Code of Practice for Statistics
  • assess compliance with the Code of Practice
  • award the National Statistics designation to official statistics that comply fully with the Code of Practice
  • report any concerns on the quality, good practice and comprehensiveness of official statistics

This plan

This annual business plan focuses on what we aim to achieve in 2021/22, and how our work will contribute to delivering the OSR Strategic Plan, 2020 to 2025 and fostering the Authority’s ambitions for the statistics system, as set out in the Authority Strategy.

We also publish a Regulatory Work Programme. Our business plan for the coming year is ambitious. We aim to prioritise the issues that matter to people and be in a position to quickly respond to emerging needs.

Our work programme outlines our priority projects for the coming period, broadly maintaining a 6-month horizon. We update the programme every 4-6 weeks and we intentionally retain flexibility in the programme to allow us to respond to changes in the external environment and manage uncertainty in our own and producer resource. This agile approach was an important factor in allowing us to respond quickly to the pandemic in 2020.

We adopt a self-assessment model to measure our performance towards our vision for 2025. We have framed four maturity-level indicators against the Authority’s strategic priorities and we monitor the dashboard every 3 months through our Programme Review Board and report to the Regulation Committee and Authority Board. Our reporting builds on evaluation of delivery against our annual areas of focus, and more detailed project closure and impact reports.

More information about our vision and the history, purpose and governance of the Office for Statistics Regulation be found here.

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Our Vision

Our vision is simple: statistics should serve the public good.

What do we mean by serving the public good? Statistics published by public sector bodies should be produced in a trustworthy way, be of high quality, and provide value by answering people’s questions: providing accountability, helping people make choices and informing policy. And statistics are part of the lifeblood of democratic debate.

Statistics therefore should serve a very wide range of users. When they meet the needs of these users, they serve the public good.

But they do not always fulfil these ambitions. Their value can be harmed – through poor production, lack of relevance and coherence, and through misuse.

It is our role as regulator to minimise these problems. We have observed the increasing relevance of our Trustworthiness, Quality and Value approach to statistics regulation. By championing high standards, we uphold public confidence in statistics that serve the public good.

Authority Priorities for the Statistics System: 2020 to 2025

  • Build public trust in evidence.
  • Make greater data available in a secure way for research and evaluation.
  • Enhance understanding of social and economic matters.
  • Improve clarity and coherence of communication for maximum impact.
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