Information needed Response
Title and link to statistical output NI House Price Index
Name of producer organisation Land & Property Services
Name and contact details of person dealing with report Stephanie Harcourt
Name and contact details of Head of Profession for Statistics/Lead Official Stephanie Harcourt
Link to published statement about the breach (if relevant) N/A – no statement will be published due to the minimal impact of the breach
Date of breach report 17 November 2021

Information needed Response
Relevant principle(s) and practice(s) Principle T3.6 - Statistics should be released to all users at 9.30am on a weekday.
Date of occurrence of breach 17 November 2021

On 17 November 2021, the Department of Finance (DoF) Press Office issued a tweet at 9.20am, including an embedded video outlining five headline statistics from the NI House Price Index Quarter 3 publication, which was due to be released at 9.30am on the same day. The full report was not available to the public prior to the 9.30am release time. The error was noticed promptly, and the tweet was taken down within a few minutes. The tweet was then re-issued at 9.30am.

There has been no evidence of any impact on users or the producer body. The statistics are not market sensitive, only headline information was released and we assume only a small number of people might have seen the tweet in the few minutes that it was available in advance of the official release of the statistics at 9.30am.

This breach was the result of human error, in which the Twitter post was issued ten minutes early by a member of the DoF Press Team. The same DoF Press Team member has uploaded social media posts for previous quarters of the publication without incident. We will advise DoF Press Office of the incident and ask them to ensure that all staff are aware that official statistics cannot be released before 9.30am.

LPS Statistics Branch will continue to ensure that the timing of the release, as well as the importance of the embargo, is clearly marked on all social media requests sent to DoF Press Office.