The UK Statistics Authority has today published its Annual Review of Casework.
The report covers April 2019 to March 2020 and also includes a summary of the first quarter of 2020/21.
Making public statements about the dissemination and use of statistics has been an important part of the Authority’s work since it began. In this work, the Authority is guided by its statutory objective to promote and safeguard official statistics.
As the Authority’s regulatory arm, the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) investigates all cases reported to the Authority by members of the public, politicians, the media and third sector organisations, as well as issues identified through internal processes.
The 2019/20 casework review spans a period that included EU Exit and a general election, during this period the Authority pushed for greater transparency and clarity. Following our interventions, we saw new official statistics published on schools funding. Authority interventions were also discussed in Parliament, with homelessness and rough sleeping being recurring themes of debate.
While the focus of the report is 2019/20, it is notable that in the first three months of 2020/21, the Authority dealt with more cases than in total for any other year, with 90% of these covering issues related to coronavirus. Given the increased volume of casework and interest in what we are doing, the Office for Statistics Regulation has also today started publishing quarterly management information.
In the early part of 2020/21 COVID-19 has dominated our casework. We have focused on transparency, clarity and insight, pushing for clear and accessible data to support public statements and making the case for clarity and insight in statistics produced by government.
Commenting on the report, Sir David Norgrove, Chair of UK Statistics Authority said,
“The volume of casework now handled by the Authority bears out the central importance of sound statistics to the current situation. Over the past year, through a general election and the pandemic, OSR have stepped up to ensure trust and safeguard the provision of statistics for the public good.”
Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation commented:
“We take approaches from the public about the use of statistics very seriously. This report shows how we protect the role of statistics in public debate, which has never been more important.”