UCAS publishes a wide range of statistics and analysis reports about higher education, as well as providing a variety of data products and services, which can be accessed via the Data and analysis section of our website.
Why voluntarily adopt the Code of Practice for Statistics?
We publish more than two and a half million data points a year throughout the UK higher education admissions cycle. Being able to provide our users with the confidence conveyed by compliance with the Code is important. A commitment to Trustworthiness, Quality and Value offers our users this confidence, and gives us the opportunity for us to compare our processes, methods and outputs against the recognised standards that the Code requires of official statistics.
Formal voluntary adoption of the Code demonstrates this commitment to customers, stakeholders and the public, thereby strengthening our reputation in the production of analytical outputs that are high quality, useful for supporting decisions, and well respected.
What was involved?
UCAS used the Office for Statistics Regulation’s (OSR) four stage voluntary adoption model: Understand, Review, Consider, Publish, in deciding to voluntarily adopt the Code.
- Initial visit to UCAS from Ed Humpherson (Director General for Regulation, OSR) to promote voluntary adoption of the Code.
- A paper was submitted to the UCAS Executive Board, to recommend voluntary adoption of the Code, and detailing the benefits and main changes required.
- A Head of Profession for Statistics was nominated to lead on the project.
- A small working group was convened to explore feasibility and identify the key changes necessary. The group comprised Communications and Policy staff, as well as analytical teams responsible for publications and public reporting.
- Required changes were identified, to establish more formal processes around pre-release access and ensuring all analytical outputs are brought into the scope of the existing formal UCAS release process.
- Follow-up meetings were held with the working group to implement the outstanding changes ahead of launch, including developing stakeholder engagement and communications plans, a press release to accompany the launch, and internal communications to UCAS staff.
- A two-page statement of compliance (PDF, 0.12MB) was drafted and submitted with a follow-up paper to the UCAS Executive Board to secure final approval for voluntary adoption of the Code.
- Launch on 2 September 2019 with the publication of the Statement of Compliance on the UCAS website, together with an updated timetable for data releases.
What are the outcomes?
Voluntary adoption of the Code publicly demonstrates UCAS’s commitment to enabling users to access and understand our data more easily, and helps provide the organisational impetus to support these aims. We aspire to further our commitment to the Code by publishing more details on our analytical methods, and by continuing to innovate in visualising our data, to expand its accessibility.