T3: Orderly release

Organisations should commit to releasing their statistics in an open and transparent manner that promotes public confidence.

What you should commit to

*T3.1 The release of both regular and ad hoc official statistics should be pre-announced through a 12-month release calendar, giving a specific release date and time at least four weeks in advance where practicable.

T3.2 Changes to pre-announced release dates or times should be agreed by the Chief Statistician/Head of Profession for Statistics. Any changes should be announced promptly, explaining the reasons for the change.

T3.3 Access to statistics before their public release should be limited to those involved in the production of the statistics and the preparation of the release, and for quality assurance and operational purposes. Accurate records of those who have access before they are finalised should be maintained.

T3.4 The circulation of statistics in their final form ahead of their publication should be restricted to eligible recipients, in line with the rules and principles on pre-release access set out in legislation for the UK and devolved administrations. The details of those granted access should be recorded, together with clear justifications for access. No indication of the statistics should be made public and the statistics should not be given to any other party without prior permission for access. The list of recipients should be reviewed regularly and kept to a minimum.

T3.5 Statistics and data should be released on a timely basis and at intervals that meet the needs of users as far as practicable. The statistics should be released as soon as they are considered ready, under the guidance of the Chief Statistician/Head of Profession for Statistics.

*T3.6 Statistics should be available to all users at the same time. The standard release time is 9.30am on a weekday. In circumstances when it better serves the public good for statistics to be released at an alternative time, the Director General for Regulation may approve the change. The time of release (whether the standard time or an alternative agreed with the Director General for Regulation) should be announced in advance and adhered to consistently.

T3.7 The name and contact information of the lead statistician or analyst responsible for production should be included in the published statistics.

T3.8 Policy, press or ministerial statements referring to regular or ad hoc official statistics should be issued separately from, and contain a prominent link to, the source statistics. The statements should meet basic professional standards of statistical presentation, including accuracy, clarity and impartiality. The lead statistician or analyst should advise on the appropriate use of the statistics within these statements.

T3.9 Scheduled revisions or unscheduled corrections to the statistics and data should be released as soon as practicable. The changes should be handled transparently in line with a published policy.

*On 5 May 2022, the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) revised practices T3.1 and T3.6. These changes follow a consultation on proposals to enable some greater flexibility on the timing of the release of official statistics, while the standard release time remains as 9.30am.

See OSR’s policy page for further information and the list of statistics granted an alternative release time.

Guidance and resources

Description Link Source
Answers to questions the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has received about publishing official statistics in line with the Code. Topics covered include: pre-announcing the release of statistics, labeling the status of the statistics and publishing ad-hoc statistics releases. Regulatory guidance on publishing official statistics and National Statistics Office for Statistics Regulation
How to report concerns about compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics. (This guidance supersedes all previous Government Statistical Service guidance about reporting breaches of the Code.) Reporting concerns under the Code Government Analysis Function
Examples of published breach reports. Breach reports UK Statistics Authority
A list of pre-release access orders. These orders set out the principles and rules that govern pre-release access to official statistics in their final form before publication. Pre-Release Access Orders, including devolved administrations UK Statistics Authority
This guidance provides best practice advice to help departments get maximum value from management information while protecting public trust in official statistics. The sections of this guidance relating to pre-release access are mandatory. National Statistician's guidance: management information and official statistics Government Analysis Function
Guidance that aims to help producers of official statistics consider how best to involve other administrations. Working across the devolved administrations Government Analysis Function
Published and upcoming official statistics from across UK government, including statistical releases and data tables. gov.uk statistics release calendar UK Government