Guidance and resources – using official statistics

Why is the Code important?

Official statistics are an essential public asset. They provide a window on society, the economy and on the work and performance of government. They are fundamental to the judgements and decisions made by the public, by government and by an enormous range of other organisations.

The Code of Practice for Statistics plays an essential role in ensuring that statistics published by government inspire public confidence through demonstrating trustworthiness, and providing high-quality statistics that enhance public value.

Why is the Code relevant to me?

The Code benefits all of us, as users and as citizens. The need to focus on the interests of users of statistics sits at the heart of the Code.

Compliance with the Code gives you confidence that the statistics produced by government departments and public bodies have been prepared by professionally-independent statisticians, free from political pressure; that they are produced using sound methods and are based on reliable data sources; and that they provide insight, support decision-making and inform debate.

Guidance and resources

The menus below include helpful links and guidance on finding statistics and data, checking the quality of statistics, and writing about statistics. Some of this guidance was written for producers of official statistics, but general users may find it useful when thinking and writing about statistics in other contexts.


A complete list of all statistical products that the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has designated as National Statistics.List of National StatisticsOSR
Find official statistics from across government, including statistical releases and data statistics homepageUK Government
Find official statistics from across the Scottish Government, including statistical releases and data Government
Find official statistics from across the Welsh Government, including statistical releases and data tables.Welsh Government statistics homepageWelsh Government
Find official statistics from across Northern Ireland, produced by the Northern Ireland Statistics Research Agency (NISRA), including statistical releases and data tables.NISRA homepageNISRA
Find official statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), including statistical releases, articles, and data tables.ONS homepageONS
Visual.ONS is a website exploring new approaches to making ONS statistics accessible and relevant to a wide public audience.Visual ONS homepageONS
Nomis is a service provided by ONS to give you free access to the most detailed and up-to-date UK labour market statistics from official sources.NomisONS
Stat-Xplore provides a guided way to explore DWP benefit statistics and allows you to create customised tabulations.Stat-XploreDWP
StatsWales is a free-to-use service that allows you to view, manipulate, create and download tables from Welsh Government data.StatsWalesWelsh Government
Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service (NINIS) makes available small area information held within Central Government and Non-Departmental Public Bodies in Northern Ireland.NINISNISRA

Find data published by government departments and agencies, public bodies and local authorities. You can use this data to learn more about how government works, carry out research or build applications and Government
Explore the UK’s largest collection of social, economic and population data resources.UK Data Service homepageUK Data Service

We have developed a diagnostic tool to help users decide if data are suitable for their use, if data are reliable, and to form a view on official statistics.

Data Diagnostic Tool (PDF, 0.24MB)

A Government Statistical Service (GSS) guide to writing about statistics.Writing About Statistics guide (PDF, 0.21MB)GSS
The Office for National Statistics’ style guide covers the elements of writing about statistics. It aims to make statistical content more open and understandable, based on editorial research and best practice.ONS style guideONS
The United National Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) guide on making data meaningful is a practical tool to help managers, statisticians and media relations officers use text, tables, graphics and other information to bring statistics to life using effective writing techniques. It contains suggestions, guidelines and examples.A UNECE guide to Making Data MeaningfulUNECE
Guidance for BBC journalists regarding how to report statistics. Its purpose is to highlight some of the pitfalls and offer guidance on how to interpret and report figures. Topics include: looking beyond the headline, contextualising statistics, and transparency.BBC reporting statistics guidelinesBBC
A guide to interpreting and using statistics by economist Tim Harford. It contains six tips for questioning dubious statistics and understanding what a statistic is really telling you.Postcard-sized guide to statistics Tim Harford