What is voluntary application?

Voluntary application (VA) 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 the Code pillars of 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

For example, a government department can use the pillars to help provide clear advice to ministers about evidence. A charity can use the pillars to provide reassurance to its donors about its fundraising and public services.

The Voluntary Application Award

If you choose to voluntarily apply the Code, you will be eligible to apply for the Voluntary Application Award.

The award recognises excellence in the voluntary application of the pillars of the Trustworthiness, Quality and Value (TQV) of the Code. The award is given by Office for Statistics Regulation, in partnership with the Royal Statistical Society. Civil Service World is the media partner for the award.

Entrants will need to demonstrate how they meet each of the following criteria:

  • A stated commitment to applying TQV in producing and sharing their information
  • Examples of how TQV have been applied to innovate or improve their information or processes
  • A demonstration of how public value has been enhanced by their application of the pillars

The first ever Voluntary Application Award was presented in October 2020. You can read Case Studies from the winners and runners up on our Voluntary Application Case Study pages.

Information on how to apply for the 2021 Voluntary Application Award will be available early in the New Year.

Community of Practice

We’re in the process of building a Community of Practice where, if you choose to voluntarily apply the Code, you’ll be able to meet other adopters of the code and share best practice.

The next Community of Practice event is a webinar taking place on Thursday 12 November 2020 from 10.30am-11.30am. In this session, we will be celebrating the first winners of the RSS/OSR award for voluntary application of the Code pillars. Listen in to some fascinating talks and share your questions and experiences. Learn from others also applying the Code pillars of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value.  

If you would like to attend, please email regulation@statistics.gov.uk to express your interest. 


If you have any questions about voluntary application of the Code, please contact Penny Babb in the Policy and Standards team at the Office for Statistics Regulation by emailing regulation@statistics.gov.uk.