Information neededResponse
Title and link to statistical outputUK Statistics on Waste - July 2021
Name of producer organisationDepartment for Environment, Food and Rural

Name and contact details of person dealing with reportKatherine Merrett
0208 026 3463
Name and contact details of Head of Profession for Statistics or Lead OfficialKen Roy
Link to published statement about the breach (if relevant)
Date of breach report14 July 2021

Information neededResponse
Relevant principle(s) and practice(s)Principle T3: Orderly release
Practice T3.4: Circulation of statistics in their final
form ahead of their publication should be restricted
to eligible recipients
Date of occurrence of breach14 July 2021

At 3.19pm on 14 July, a Defra press officer circulated communications lines for clearance via email. These lines included unpublished statistics from the UK Statistics on Waste publication which was due to be released the following day. The press officer was named on the pre-release access list for these statistics. However, one of the recipients of this email – the Deputy Head of Resources – was not.

The statistical team responsible for UK Statistics on Waste were also copied into the email, and immediately identified that the unpublished statistics had been circulated to an individual not on the pre-release access list. They contacted the Defra press office to ask them to recall the email, and notified the office of the Head of Profession for Statistics.

The individual who was included in the email was out of the office on 14 July so will not have read the email before the statistics were published. The impact internally was therefore minimal.

The external impact is also minimal, as the individual involved was out of the office on the day. The individual is also aware of the rules around pre-release access, so knows not to share unpublished statistics further.

The email was recalled by the press office in an attempt to prevent the individual involved from accessing the statistics. It appears that this recall attempt was unsuccessful, however. The statistics team therefore followed up with the Deputy Head of Resources directly (on their return to the office), who confirmed that they had not seen or read the email prior to publication.

The Head of Profession for Statistics was also informed as soon as the statistical team became aware of the breach. The statistical team will re-emphasise with press and policy colleagues the need to not
forward or share information with individuals outside of the pre-release access list.