About this guide

We have written this guidance to increase awareness among statistics producers and users that the principles of the Code of Practice extend beyond statistics production to data sharing and access. We outline practices and processes that uphold these principles. Specific guidance about how to meet these expectations is signposted where available.

The central purpose for all official statistics producers is serving the public good through the provision of data and statistics. This obligation is reflected in the principles of the Code of Practice for Statistics which requires statistics producers to commit to, and to promote, the safe onward access to the data used as the basis for producing official statistics. These may include, for example, data from the census, population and business surveys, as well as administrative records.

This guidance is a companion to our guidance on data governance: building confidence in the handling and use of data, which supports data sharing for the public good. It is aimed at Heads of Profession for Statistics and analysts working in producer bodies with an interest in data linkage and sharing.

“Data is more useful when more people can access and use it. It is most useful when it can be joined together. Data that is inaccessible – or where access takes so long it is rendered irrelevant – is of limited utility. Jeni Tennison, CEO of the Open Data Institute[1]

[1] https://osr.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/odi-data-blog/