Information needed Response
Title and link to statistical output NISRA Awareness and Customer Satisfaction Survey 2020
Name of producer organisation Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
Name and contact details of person
dealing with report
Alexandra Pauley
Name and contact details of Head of
Profession for Statistics or Lead
Siobhan Carey, NISRA Chief Executive and
Registrar General,
Link to published statement about the
breach (if relevant)
Date of breach report 14 April 2021

Information needed Response
Relevant principle(s) and practice(s) Practice T3.6 – Statistics should be released to all
users at 9.30am on a weekday
Practice T3.1 – The release of official statistics
should be pre-announced.
Practice T3.3 – Access to statistics before their public release should be limited to those involved in the
production of the statistics.
Practice T3.4 – The circulation of statistics in their final form ahead of their publication should be restricted to eligible recipients.
Date of occurrence of breach 12 February 2021 (T3.1 & T3.6)
18 September 2020 (T3.3 & T3.4)

At 10.28am on 12th February 2021 the NISRA Awareness and Customer Satisfaction Survey 2020 publication was published on the NISRA website. The release date had not been pre-announced in advance.

Key figures from this publication had previously been published in the NISRA Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20 which was laid before the NI Assembly on 18 September 2020 and published on the NISRA website on 22 September 2020.

This breach arose as a result of a lack of clarity regarding the status of the publication, with the Senior Manager for the area believing it was Management Information (which does not need to be compliant with the Code of Practice) rather than official statistics.

The breach was discovered when it was noted that there was a typo in the published date on the page. One of the cc recipients was aware that these were official statistics and queried the publication time.

These statistics were not released according to the correct protocol which could have undermined public trust in NISRA’s adherence to the Code of Practice. The inclusion of the statistics in the NISRA Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20, prior to the release of the official statistics publication, meant that users did not have access to the official statistics publication and the relevant explanatory material. The failure to pre-announce the publication means that users may not have been aware of its release.

However, no complaints have been received and there is no evidence of any adverse impact. The main users of these official statistics are internal, aside from their use in the Annual Report.

The Senior Manager has been briefed on the status of the official statistics and appropriate protocol. Branch procedures will also be updated to ensure such an oversight does not re-occur.

All staff involved in decisions regarding official statistics will be required to complete Code of Practice training.