Voluntary Application: Department for Health and Social Care

Highly Commended for the Award for Statistical Excellence in Trustworthiness, Quality and Value 2021

“I am delighted that the Test and Trace publication team has been recognised in this way. We stood up the publication very rapidly at the start of the pandemic, ten days after the launch of the Test and Trace Operation and have worked hard to ensure it has changed as the operation has developed. Everyone who has worked on this publication since it started has worked hard to ensure we adhere as much as we can to the Code of Practice whilst recognising that this is management information about the constantly evolving NHS Test and Trace operation. This award recognises their efforts in helping to ensure that we are transparent about its performance.”

Lucy Vickers, Deputy Director – Statistics and Data Science and Head of Profession for Statistics


Who are the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC)?

We are a ministerial department working for the UK Government. We support ministers in leading the nation’s health and social care to help people live more independent, healthier lives for longer. DHSC publish weekly statistics on NHS Test and Trace (England) across all four testing pillars. This provides a weekly update on the implementation and performance of the NHS Test and Trace in England. We launched our first publication in June 2020, just two weeks after the Test and Trace programme started. Since February 2021, our team has published additional data alongside the core metrics, focusing on rapid asymptomatic testing in England.

Applying the code

We have been committed to applying the Code of Practice since our first publication on June 11 2020. A statement of compliance with the code of practice was published on June 18 2020, showing that we found complying to the code to be paramount, especially during a time where testing data was heavily criticised.

We have also responded to a rapid review the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) undertook in July 2020 which set out several suggested improvements. Our team released a re-structured version of the publication in August to better meet user needs. Since then, we have continued to improve the publication based on user feedback.

We have applied the Code to many aspects of our work. For example, pilots involving the use of rapid testing started from November 2020 and ramped up from January 2021. In response to this, the increased public interest, and the need for transparency, our team developed a publication roadmap outlining how a new statistical publication could ensure information on the rapid asymptomatic testing programme was published in an orderly fashion. The team worked at pace to set this up and continue to expand it to provide information on the different rapid testing use cases.

Trustworthiness, Quality and Value

Our Test and Trace statistics enhance the public value of statistics. To do so, our statistics are transparent, consistent with other published figures, and timely. We also add new breakdowns to our statistics as they become available, which grants greater insight to users of our statistics.

We make sure any Data Quality issues are made available in the methodology section of our background information including any limitations and reasons for revisions we may have made. The statistics are published weekly regardless of the trend they show to inform public debate, decision making, and raise public trust in the programme. We believe in doing this we increase the transparency of our statistics and allow users to use our data effectively.

This transparent reporting has provided significant value for understanding the Test and Trace operation and to improve it. In November 2020, the operation introduced an improvement whereby a case could inform their household contacts of the need to self-isolate, improving the contact tracing journey for these individuals. This caused the percentage of contacts reached to increase from 60% to 90%. Our team highlighted this operational change clearly in the release and made use of a dashed line in the tables and graphs to show the break in the series.

The DHSC Test and Trace statistics are a single point of contact for information on the Test and Trace programme. For every data source used, our team ensure the figures align with other published figures and outline any differences between published figures for users. This provides a clear evidence base for users and allows them to accurately compare between our statistics and others.

We published our Test and Trace statistics even over the Christmas period, upholding our commitment to publish these statistics in a timely manner for users. We add new data iteratively to provide users with the additional information they require and to reflect the ever-changing operation of Test and Trace.

Voluntary Application: The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Winner of the Award for Statistical Excellence in Trustworthiness, Quality and Value 2021

“The Greenhouse Gas Inventory team at BEIS are delighted to receive this endorsement from the RSS and the OSR for our publication. Our users rely on the Conversion Factors for Company Reporting to accurately estimate their greenhouse gas emissions, and we are proud to demonstrate how we uphold the trustworthiness, quality and value principles so that the factors can be used with confidence. We are very grateful to our team at Ricardo Energy and Environment and the Waste and Resources Action Programme for their dedication to producing such high quality factors, and also to the RSS, OSR and Voluntary Application Community of Practice for the opportunity to share and encourage best practice.”

BEIS Greenhouse Gas Inventory team


Who are BEIS and what are the Conversion Factors?

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) replaced the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in July 2016. We employ around 3,000 staff who work in our offices in London, Aberdeen and around the UK. We are responsible for: business; industrial strategy; science, research and innovation; energy and clean growth; and tackling climate change.

The Greenhouse Gas Conversion Factors for Company Reporting, or conversion factors, are published annually by the Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHGI) team in the Science and Innovation for Climate and Energy (SICE) directorate. This publication allows users to convert activity data into greenhouse gas emissions. The resource is used by organisations to estimate their own greenhouse gas emissions from activity data, and therefore comply with Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) regulations and other environmental reporting needs or requirements.

As well as being the main tool to support companies to report emissions in the UK, the factors are also used in policy development and statistical publications across UK government departments and are internationally regarded as a high-quality resource.

Applying the Code

While Trustworthiness, Quality and Value (TQV) have been core commitments in the production of the Conversion Factors since they were first published, in 2020 we released our first Statement of Voluntary Compliance to publicly demonstrate this. The Conversion Factors were therefore the first BEIS publication to voluntarily comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Trustworthiness, Quality and Value

Given the increasing national and international focus on reaching net-zero emissions, a high quality resource for measuring emissions that can be used with confidence is of huge value, and in many cases essential, for a wide range of organisations and individuals. Trustworthiness is therefore a core principle for the Conversion Factors, and is exemplified throughout the production processes. They are produced by a team of analysts from Ricardo Energy and Environment and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) with over a decade of experience and managed by BEIS’ GHGI team, all of whom are independent from the policy context, allowing the statistics to be presented objectively. The statistics are released annually in the first week of June, with users able to sign up for notifications of updates. The annual improvement programme, which is informed primarily by feedback from expert peer reviewers and users, is approved through two annual steering groups, providing a mechanism to ensure independent and transparent decision making delivering both high quality data and high value to users.

The Conversion Factors are produced to a consistently high quality. The primary data source for the Conversion Factors is the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI), which is annually updated and improved to use the best possible scientific methods and data sources and subject to scrutiny via annual expert reviews from the EU and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

To ensure sound and transparent methods are being used in the production of the factors, we commissioned a 2021 audit of the Conversion Factors model suite. This found all the models comfortably exceeded required standards under the scoring system used in the BEIS QA Guidance for Models. The Conversion Factors are designed to deliver value to users by being relevant, accessible and up to date. Our improvement programme is innovative and responds to users’ needs, with a key example in the latest publication being the addition of new energy factors to enable companies to report energy use as required under the new SECR regulations.

Clarity and insight is delivered through the provision of a comprehensive methodology paper and accompanying major changes report, which explains year-on-year changes to the factors. We provide on-demand support to users of the factors through our dedicated mailbox, and the value we provide is exemplified through the positive feedback we receive on the provision of the factors; from individuals conducting personal interest projects to national governments interested in creating their own equivalents.

Ultimately, due to commitment in applying TQV, the Conversion Factors are one of the most comprehensive, high quality and up-to-date set of emission factors not only in the UK, but globally. They therefore deliver significant public value by enabling organisations to quantify, and subsequently measure progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.