Information needed Response
Title and link to statistical output Statistical Bulletin, Higher Level Apprenticeships in
Northern Ireland, academic years 2017/18 – 2019/20
Name of producer organisation Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland)
Name and contact details of person
dealing with report
Seana McIlwaine
Phone: 02890257708

Name and contact details of Head of
Profession for Statistics or Lead
Nicola Fisher, Senior Principal Statistician
Phone: 02890257510
Link to published statement about the
breach (if relevant)
Date of breach report 15 March 2021

Information needed Response
Relevant principle(s) and practice(s) T3: Orderly release
T3.3: Access to statistics before their public release
should be limited to those involved in the production
of the statistics.
T3.4: Circulation of statistics in their final form ahead
of their publication should be restricted to eligible

Date of occurrence of breach 15 March 2021

On 15 March 9.30am, an individual in another department with the same name as someone with pre-release access (PRA) was sent an email and attachments containing embargoed statistics by a statistician in the Department for the Economy (DfE).

The wrong individual was inadvertently sent an email containing embargoed statistics at 9:30am during the pre-release period. The official had the same name as the intended recipient. On noticing the error, the official who was sent the information inadvertently was contacted at 10.59am, by phone and email. They had not opened the email and it was requested they delete the email – confirmation of this was received at 11.21am.

There has been no external impact of the breach. The embargoed statistics were briefly available to an official without pre-release access, however the responsible statistician contacted the official and received confirmation that the statistics had not been read and the email had been deleted on request. There is no impact on the official release of the statistics at 9.30am on 16th March 2021.

With a view to minimising the risk of human error, all staff in the DfE statistical team have been reminded about the importance of the accuracy of PRA release e-mails. Branch procedures have been revised to ensure that the named recipients are double checked prior to issue, ensuring to click on the individual email addresses of all recipients prior to issuing the email to ensure the correct contact is selected.