This is a case study for Principle Q3: Assured quality.

The NHS Digital Mental Health Act annual statistics bulletin contains official statistics about uses of the Mental Health Act in England.

In 2015 NHS Digital announced changes to the way it sources and produces these statistics. Previously these statistics were produced from the KP90 aggregate data collection. They are now produced from the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS). This transition to a new data source was a cost saving factor as well as a programme of work to improve data quality. MHSDS provides a much richer data source for these statistics, allowing for new insights into uses of The Act.

For the October 2017 release, NHS Digital published the annual statistics with the new data source, and also produced a background data quality report that clearly communicates this assurance to their users. The document highlighted the improvements to data, methods and source and provided information on data relevance, reliability, coherence, timeliness, and clarity. NHS Digital included detailed information on, and published, missing data they were using to identify the most efficient way to increase coverage. Other positive mentions within the report include a section on the trade-offs between output quality components.

The report is a good example of what to include in a background quality document that accompanies the statistics bulletin and the data. The result of the overall quality improvements ensures the Mental Health Act annual statistics fit their intended use.