The Office for Statistics Regulation vision is simple: Statistics should serve the public good.
As regulators, it is our role to support confidence in statistics by addressing harms and making sure that statistics serve the public good.
Statistics are vital to help inform decisions made by a wider group of organisations, including charities, researchers, trade unions, businesses and community groups, and statistics help those civil society organisations hold governments to account.
Statistics are key in influencing the choices made by citizens: how they vote, where they live and a wide range of other decisions.
Statistics are a key part of society and democracy, informing public and political debates, and sitting at the centre of discussions of health, education, the economy, crime, the environment and many other topics.
Alongside our domain activities and casework, we also have four key functions:
Our research programme will gather empirical research, undertake research projects, and collaborate with others who share our vision of statistics that serve the public good. Through the findings we uncover, we want to lead producers of statistics to develop a much better understanding of how their statistics can serve the maximum public good, so they can focus on what really matters.
Statistics serve very important functions; They support key policy decisions, but they also support the decisions made by society, providing crucial information for businesses, charities, community groups, and trade unions. They also inform individual citizens about the world they are living in, aiding decision-making about education, health, the economy, and other aspects of life. Our research programme aims to leading a better understanding of the public good and deliver on our vision.
Our Automation and Technology programme aims to provide intelligence for our regulators, helping us to understand the changing world and impact for statistics regulation and production, and to identify risks to use of statistics in public debate. Our current projects include automating the monitoring of public debate around statistics and identifying gaps in our knowledge and measure our impact.
The programme will also explore data use. We are looking at understanding data use in statistics and public debate, which is likely to also expand to use for decision making and impact on public choices. We will also be exploring OSR’s potential future remit and role in regulating data uses within the area of official statistics.
Our new Insight function has strategic oversight of how OSR uses intelligence and data to deliver on its vision. A key challenge for OSR is drawing together the findings and learning from all our different outputs and engagements, finding the common themes, identifying emerging issues, and filtering the priorities. The purpose of our Insight function is to design and deliver improvements in how OSR uses, analyses, and communicates information and findings, both internally and externally.
We aim to ensure that we are focusing our energies on the right issues, that relevant audiences are aware of our findings, and that statistics producers are responding to them.
Our policy and standards function maintains the Code of Practice for Statistics and the associated policies and guidance, and leads on promoting and supporting adoption of the Code across the UK. When producers of official statistics comply with the Code, it gives users of statistics and citizens confidence that published government statistics are of public value, are high quality and are produced by people and organisations that are worthy of trust.
We are also working on a review of National Statistics designation and understanding what it means to producers and users of statistics.
Voluntary Application of the Code of Practice for Statistics
In 2018, we introduced Voluntary Application alongside our refreshed Code of Practice for Statistics.
Voluntary Application is where an organisation commits to the three ‘pillars’ of the Code: Trustworthiness, Quality and Value, in how it produces, and releases information not classified as official statistics. Voluntary Application is available for organisations outside Government, and also for Government organisations publishing other types of information like research and open data.
We present an annual award for the Voluntary Application of the Code, the first of which was presented in October 2020.
You can find more information about Voluntary Application of the Code on the Code of Practice website.