Code universal principles


Here is a short summary of key aspects of the Code of Practice that you can keep in mind as you carry out your work. Some aspects of the Code are specific to official statistics but much of it is useful beyond OS – others can ‘think TQV’ too.

It is based on a review of the principles and practices used to inform a range of activities using the Code, including our rapid reviews, the framework developed by the ONS Sustainable Development Goals team for reviewing non-official data sources, and the Analytical Function’s (internal) quality stamp for analysis.

Universal principles for ensuring trustworthiness, quality and value

These are the heart of the Code of Practice for Statistics that we encourage anyone using data to consider and apply.


  • Show integrity – support staff to operate in an ethical, honest, objective and professional way
  • Be transparent – be open about your plans and progress, and how you will share your work, engage publicly and manage quality
  • Manage data safely and securely – always work in line with legal and ethical obligations


  • Use suitable data – clearly present key information about data sources, highlight why data are suitable and any issues
  • Apply sound methods – be open about your choices, give your reasons and highlight key limitations
  • Understand quality and uncertainty issues – share your findings and monitor for changes in quality


  • Be relevant – answer important questions, understand the needs of users and stakeholders and be open to innovate to meet emerging needs
  • Be accessible – ensure equality of access if publishing, meet accessibility standards, and keep information available
  • Present data clearly – ensure data are easy to work with, understandable and meet users’ needs

Based on the Code of Practice for Statistics from the Office for Statistics Regulation