On this page you can find a glossary of terms used across the Code of Practice for Statistics website.
If you can’t find the term you’re looking for, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ad hoc official statistics are statistical analyses produced and released where there is a pressing need for official statistics in the public interest.
Coherence is the degree of similarity between related statistics and the fuller insight achieved by drawing them together.
Collaboration means working jointly.
Experimental statistics are a subset of newly developed or innovative official statistics undergoing evaluation. They are developed under the guidance of the Head of Profession for Statistics and are published in order to involve users and stakeholders in the assessment of their suitability and quality at an early stage.
Limitations are inherent weaknesses in the quality of statistics, data or statistical methods that should be understood in order to ensure their appropriate use and interpretation.
Management information is the aggregation and summary of operational data as statistics, to inform business decisions.
Official statistics are statistics produced by crown bodies, those acting on behalf of crown bodies, or those bodies specified in statutory orders, as defined in section 6 of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. The responsible Minister, acting on the advice of their statistical Head of Profession, and in accordance with the guidance issued by the National Statistician on identifying official statistics (PDF, 1MB), determines whether or not statistics should be treated as official statistics.
National Statistics and experimental statistics are types of official statistics.
Official statistics which are assessed as fully compliant with the Code (that is, they meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value) are given National Statistics status by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR), in line with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. OSR maintains a complete list of statistics that have been designated as National Statistics.
OSR also maintains a register of de-designated statistics. When statistics do not maintain the highest standards expected by the Code, OSR can remove their National Statistics status. In some cases, National Statistics status will be temporarily suspended after a producer body approaches OSR when its statistics have temporarily fallen below expected standards – for example, through error or during a change in methods.
The public good is defined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 in terms of the UK Statistics Authority’s statutory objective to promote and safeguard the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good.
This includes informing the public about social and economic matters; assisting in the development and evaluation of public policy; and regulating quality and publicly challenging the misuse of statistics.
Quality in statistics refers to data and methods that produce assured statistics.
Quality means that statistics fit their intended uses, are based on appropriate data and methods, and are not materially misleading.
Quality requires skilled professional judgement about collecting, preparing, analysing and publishing statistics and data in ways that meet the needs of people who want to use the statistics.
Transparency means being clear and open, for example, about the choices being made, and not holding back or being opaque about decisions.
Trustworthiness refers to confidence in the people and organisations that produce statistics and data.
Trustworthiness is a product of the people, systems and processes within organisations that enable and support the production of statistics and data.
Trustworthiness comes from the organisation that produces statistics and data being well led, well managed and open, and the people who work there being impartial and skilled in what they do.
Statistics have value when they support society’s needs for information.
Value means that the statistics and data are useful, easy to access, remain relevant, and support understanding of important issues.
Value includes improving existing statistics and creating new ones through discussion and collaboration with stakeholders, and being responsible and efficient in the collection, sharing and use of statistical information.
Voluntary application of the Code is for any producer of data, statistics and analysis which are not official statistics, whether inside government or beyond, to help them produce analytical outputs that are high quality, useful for supporting decisions, and well respected.
A commitment to Trustworthiness, Quality and Value offers the opportunity for an organisation to:
- Compare its processes, methods and outputs against the recognised standards that the Code requires of official statistics
- Demonstrate to the public its commitment to trustworthiness, quality and public value
The approach is flexible and entirely optional.