The Authority invited comments on the proposed approach. In response we received 14 written comments from private individuals, government departments and from statisticians responding in personal and professional capacities. Between September and December 2014 we spoke directly to over one hundred statisticians in government departments across the UK, as well as to some policymakers, public and private sector data suppliers and other regulatory bodies.
Overall, the feedback endorsed the proposals and reassured us that the approach was sound. It was clear that there is a common understanding that it is important for statistical producers to gain, and share with users, a fuller understanding of the administrative data that they use to produce official statistics, of the circumstances in which they are produced, and how they are tested and verified. Statisticians told us that they face many challenges when using administrative data, including having limited resources and obtaining data from old, poorly documented data systems. Statisticians also told us of some frustrations in having to react to policy changes rather than being consulted as part of the process. There was also a request for examples of good practice to be shared between statistical producers. We also heard from dynamic and enthused statisticians determined to implement improved processes and who shared with us good examples of their work.
We will publish supporting documents on our website, these will include:
- revised Guidance for policymakers using statistics;
- a series of case studies that demonstrate good practice in aspects of quality; assurance
- key responses to the consultation and the Authority’s response.