The UK Statistics Authority has today published its Annual Review of Casework.
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.
The Office for Statistics Regulation investigates all cases reported to the Authority by members of the public, politicians, the media and third sector-organisations, as well as issues we identify ourselves.
This year’s annual review finds:
- Although the number of cases investigated by the Authority has risen, there have been fewer cases in which we have identified a clear misuse of statistics;
- Across some themes, including economic statistics, we are seeing fewer concerns raised about statistics production, suggesting improving trust in official data;
- There continues to be concern about the production of health and social care statistics; and
- Over the course of the year we have seen an emergence in concerns raised regarding education funding data.
Commenting on the publication of this annual review Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, said:
“This year the public, politicians and the media all played their part in raising cases with the UK Statistics Authority about the use and dissemination of statistics. But what we have found – and this may surprise some – is that the blatant misuse of statistics among politicians and members of the media is really quite rare.
“Of course we are looking carefully at those instances in which concerns persist. Reflecting on our casework, as well as our wider knowledge, the UK Statistics Authority will continue to think carefully about how it can improve the UK’s evidence base, including in important areas such as health and social care, and education funding.”
Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation, added:
“Casework is an extremely important element of our daily regulatory business and this report highlights the key issues we have identified proactively and reactively to independently stand up for statistics as a public asset. The Office for Statistics Regulation remains dedicated to enhancing public confidence in the trustworthiness, quality and value of statistics as set out by the Code of Practice, celebrating when the standards are upheld and challenging publicly when they are not.”