Regulatory guidance on intelligent transparency

2 February 2022
Last updated:
1 December 2023

Questions to ask yourself

If you are using statistics and data publicly, for example in a press release, policy document, blog, or public statement, ask yourself: 

  • Is the source for the figure in the public domain? If so, ensure you cite the source so others can easily find it. If not, engage with analytical colleagues to agree the best way forward – there may be better, published data which should be used instead, or an ad hoc release may need to be prepared. 
  • Are there limitations or caveats which impact how the figure should be used? If so, ensure you communicate any limitations and caveats clearly. 
  • Is there context about the figure which impacts its interpretation? If so, ensure you communicate the context clearly. 
  • Could this figure be misinterpreted or misused if taken out of context? If so, consider ways you can reduce the risk of this happening in advance – for example, consider where and how caveats are presented in your output and whether it is necessary to ‘pre-bunk’ anticipated misuse or misinterpretations. It might be helpful to stand in the shoes of a journalist and ask yourself which single sentence you would quote in a news story. Satisfy yourself that these key lines are not too likely to mislead when taken out of context. ​The House of Commons Library has also published excellent guidance on this topic. 
  • Would further support to ensure intelligent transparency is achieved be helpful? If so, your analytical colleagues, including your Head of Profession for Statistics, should be your first port of call. They will be able to provide expert advice and guidance. You are also always welcome to contact us at OSR if you want a view on whether your plans meet our expectations. 
Back to top
Download PDF version (149.91 KB)