The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has today issued a statement which urges all UK governments to address the way they communicate important COVID-19 data to the public. The statement focuses on the importance of data being shared in a way that promotes transparency and clarity, to support public understanding and confidence.

During the coronavirus pandemic, statistics and data have taken an increasingly prominent role in press conferences, media interviews and statements. Governments across the UK have used data to justify decisions which impact on everyone in society, including restrictions on retail, travel and socialising. The OSR states that whilst there have been examples of good practice, the use of data has not consistently been supported by transparent information provided in a timely manner and this could potentially confuse the public and undermine trust in the statistics.

The OSR detail key practices which should be followed and have also written a blog providing further advice on how governments could improve their data communications.

Commenting on today’s statement, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir David Norgrove said:

“I recognise the pressures faced by all those working on decisions related to coronavirus. But full transparency of data used to inform decisions is vital to public understanding and public confidence.”