Better Use of Data for Statistics


Chapter 7 of Part 5 of the Digital Economy Act amended the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 to provide the UK Statistics Authority (and ONS as its executive office) with greater and easier access to data held within the public and private sectors to support the statutory functions of the Statistics Authority in the production of official statistics and statistical research.

These provisions bring the legal framework governing the production and publication of official statistics and statistical research in the UK into line with that of the UK’s international partners, supporting ongoing improvements in the quality, relevance and timeliness of official statistics in a changing world.

In 2016, the UK Statistics Authority published a paper setting out the requirements for new legislation.

The Statistics framework in the Digital Economy Act is underpinned by the Statistics Statement of Principles and code of practice on changes to data systems, which was approved by the UK Parliament in July 2018.

Ethics: One of these principles is that we will ensure that data access arrangements observe the relevant ethical standards, for example the Ethical Principles of the National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee, making sure at all times that these arrangements support us in the exercise of our statutory functions, including the delivery of official statistics and statistical research that serve a clear public interest. Further information about the work of the National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee is available via the link below.

Transparency: Another principle is to maintain Transparency around the data sources that the Office for National Statistics holds to support its statutory functions, including data sources that have been obtained under the Digital Economy Act’s statistics framework. A list of data sources is available on the ONS website and is updated regularly.