This is one of a series of reports prepared under the provisions of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. The Act gives the Statistics Authority power to re-assess whether the Code of Practice for Official Statistics continues to be complied with in relation to official statistics already designated as National Statistics. The report covers the sets of statistics produced by the Department for Education (DfE), the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government, and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Northern Ireland (DHSSPS) (collectively referred to as the producer bodies in this report) and reported in the following publications:


• Children looked after in England (including adoption and care leavers)

• Outcomes for Children Looked After by Local Authorities in England

The Welsh Government:

• Adoptions, Outcomes and Placements for Children Looked After by Local Authorities, Wales

• Social Services Statistics Wales (parts relating to LAC)

• Referrals, Assessments and Social Services for Children, Wales (parts relating to health checks for LAC, and reviews carried out within statutory timetables)

The Scottish Government:

• Children’s Social Work Statistics Scotland (parts relating to LAC)


• Children in Care in Northern Ireland

• Children Adopted from Care in Northern Ireland

• Children’s Social Care Statistics for Northern Ireland (parts relating to looked after children (LAC))

• Northern Ireland Care Leavers Aged 16-18

• Northern Ireland Care Leavers Aged 19

The previous assessments of these sets of statistics were reported in Assessment reports 13, 14, 15, 16, 188, 219 and 223. In some cases the ways in which the statistics are now packaged for publication and the names of the individual products have changed.

This re-assessment is the first in what may become a series of topic-based assessments, each covering a variety of producer bodies. It has been designed to focus on issues that are inherent to this particular topic and which arose in the earlier assessments. It does not therefore cover every element in the Code. The issues are:

• the quality of the data used to compile the statistics

• the collection and use of child-level (as opposed to aggregate) information

• comparability across the UK

• coverage of the topic area and packaging into statistical products

The specific elements of the Code that are relevant to these issues are Principles 4.2, 4.3, 4.5, 4.6, 5.1, 5.4, 6.1, 7.5, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 8.6 and Protocol 3.3.

The following Official Statistics are included within this report in order to gain a better overview of the topic area. Because the assessment does not cover all of the practices within the Code, they are not being assessed here with a view to designation as National Statistics:

The Welsh Government:

• Wales Children in Need Census (parts relating to LAC) (Welsh Government)

• Fostering and Adoption Intermediary Services, Wales (the part relating to foster settings for LAC) (Welsh Government)

The Scottish Government:

• Education outcomes for Scotland’s looked after children

This report was prepared by the Authority’s Assessment team, and approved by the Assessment Committee on behalf of the Board of the Statistics Authority, based on the advice of the Head of Assessment.

Statistics on Looked After Children: Letter of Confirmation as National Statistics – DfE

Statistics on Looked After Children: Letter of Confirmation as National Statistics – NISRA

Statistics on Looked After Children: Letter of Confirmation as National Statistics – SG

Statistics on Looked After Children: Letter of Confirmation as National Statistics – WG