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UK Statistics Authority
Kate Harley
Head of Programme
UK Statistics Authority
An independent body from 1st April 2008:
Monitoring publication and quality of Official Statistics
Reporting to Parliament
Definitions, methodology & classifications
Assist in data sharing
Maintain a Code of Practice (consulting with Ministers)
Assess and designate National Statistics (when
requested by Ministers)
What are Official Statistics?
Statistics produced by UKSA, a government
department, devolved administration, or other
statistics as specified by a Minister of the
Crown or devolved administration.
Statistics & Registration Service Act 2007
What are Official Statistics?
“… consist mainly of regular and planned
statistics and analysis produced by statistics units
in the Scottish Government, GROS and ISD.”
Framework for Scottish Official Statistics
Official Statistics
• National statistics releases
• Information Requests
• New and emerging statistics
• Compendia of published National
• Further breakdown of published
National Statistics
• Parliamentary Questions
• Freedom Of Information Act
• Management information /
• Policy development & monitoring
• Research
National Statistics are a subset of Official Statistics which comply with
the Code of Practice
Heads of Profession
ISD – Susan Burney
GROS – Duncan McNiven
SG & Chief Statistician – Rob Wishart
Responsible for:
• The format, content and timing of statistical
• Promoting the professional independence of
their organisation's statistical work, the quality of
its outputs and the integrity and validity of its
statistics and commentary.
Code of Practice for Official
8 Principles:
1. Meeting user needs
2. Impartiality & objectivity
3. Integrity
4. Sound methods & assured quality
5. Confidentiality
6. Proportionate burden
7. Resources
8. Frankness & accessibility
Code of Practice for Official
3 Protocols:
1.User engagement
2.Release practices
3.Use of administrative sources for
statistical purposes
UK Stats Authority Assessment
January 2010
Cancer Mortality
Cancer Incidence
Cancer Survival
Cancer Place of
March 2010
New Ways
Knife Crime Statistics
December 2008
• The Home Office released figures claiming that there had
been a drop in knife crime
• Sir Michael Scholar complained that
– the figures had been released prematurely and
– were incomplete.
– he said that officials had asked the government not
to release "unchecked" and "selective" figures and
that doing so eroded public trust.
• Home Secretary Jacqui Smith apologised for the incident,
telling MPs the government had been "too quick off the
mark" in releasing the figures
Knife crime statistics
December 2008
Analysis against the Code of Practice for
Official Statistics
• Unclear description
• Selective or otherwise inappropriate
• Lack of contextual information
• Inappropriate conclusions being drawn
• Unsubstantiated claims.
• BBC's Home Affairs Editor says that the
UKSA concluded that far from playing fast
and loose with the regulations, the Home
Office and Number Ten “drove a coach
and horses through them".
• "were being mangled and manipulated to
make the case that the government's
knife crime campaign was having a rapid
Violent Crime Figures
UKSA Press release
• recent political and media debate about
trends in violent crime has misrepresented
the data and is, therefore, damaging trust in
official statistics.
• in particular at comparisons between
recorded violent offences in the late 1990s
and 2008/09
• comparison, without qualification, of police
recorded statistics between the late 1990s
and 2008/09 as likely to mislead the
Watchdog: Grayling 'likely to
damage' trust in statistics
Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling
has just been sent a sharp letter from
Parliament’s statistics watchdog telling
him that his use of figures in violent
crime is "likely to damage public trust in
official statistics".
• BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | ‘Hidden’ waiting
lists to be axed
• Boards on target to abolish hidden waiting lists
• Cancer patients: Scanlon slams SNP’s ‘hidden
waiting lists’ – News…
• Secret wait for cancer patients –
• Waiting list fiddlers ‘will be sacked’ | Mail Online

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