Information needed Response
Title and link to statistical output Northern Ireland Racial Equality Indicators Report: 2014-2019
Name of producer organisation Statistics and Research Branch (SRB)
The Executive Office (TEO)
Name and contact details of person
dealing with report
Irene Hanna
02890 528215
Name and contact details of Head of
Profession for Statistics or Lead Official
Edel Hendry
028 9052 0029
Link to published statement about the
breach (if relevant)
Date of breach report 31 March 2021

Information needed Response
Relevant principle(s) and practice(s) Principle T3, Practices T3.4
The circulation of statistics in their final form ahead
of their publication should be restricted to eligible
Date of occurrence of breach 30/03/21

There was a breach at 11.24am on 30 March 2021, when in acknowledging receipt of the ministerial submission providing pre-release access (PRA) to the Northern Ireland Racial Equality Indicators Report 2014-2019, The Executive Office’s (TEO) Correspondence Unit copied in 14 named recipients and 2 limited access mailboxes who were not on the original CC list (agreed PRA recipients). Those who received the email and had not been named on the pre-release access list included the Head of the Civil Service, special advisors to the 4 Executive Office Ministers, and staff within the Private Office and Assembly Section. The Official Statistics publication was due to be published at 9.30am on 31 March 2021.

This error was spotted immediately by the branch and the Deputy Principal Statistician contacted the individual to ask for the email to be recalled, which happened at 11.44am. According to the recall response, only 2 email addresses were unsuccessful, of which one was a member of the production team.

This was followed up with an email to the recipients who were not agreed PRA recipients to ask that they delete the email, that they do not forward it, and if it had been forwarded, that they contact the recipient for deletion, which happened at 11.52am. The Senior Statistician subsequently emailed to ask all recipients to confirm if they had: (i) opened the email; (ii) opened the attachments; and (iii) if they had forwarded the email, to provide contact details. Of the seven who responded, only one had opened the attachments, and this individual subsequently deleted the email.

The breach was discovered immediately and remedial action was taken very quickly. All who received the email were staff within the Executive Office or Special Advisors to Executive Office Ministers. This breach is considered to have little to no impact on users.

There was no publicity around the figures or indication that the figures had been shared outside the
immediate recipients.

The statisticians reacted quickly to ensure as few recipients outside the pre-release access list accessed the email as possible. The Senior Statistician spoke to the individual’s line manager and advised them of the obligations and principles of the Code of Practice. The line manager of the person who was responsible for the breach has agreed to discuss pre-release arrangements with Statistics and Research Branch (SRB) ahead of any future Official Statistics releases, to ensure that everyone confirms they understand their responsibilities under the Code of Practice, with particular reference to trustworthiness and orderly release.

SRB will continue to clearly mark embargoed pre-release statistics with warnings (in red text, size 18 font) that the content and attachments of the email should not be distributed to anyone outside of those included in the correspondence, prior to the publication’s official release. Internal quality assurance processes will be reviewed to ensure reminders are issued to all recipients that any statistics that have not been published yet should not be shared. This might include marking statistics as ‘unpublished’