All public facing statistics produced by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland are designated the title of 'Official Statistics'. The definition of Official Statistics is set out in Part 1, Section 6 of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. The term refers to any statistical outputs which are designed to inform officials, politicians and wider public debate about the national or regional position of particular issues. Official statistics are fundamental to good government, to the delivery of public services and to decision-making in all sectors of society.
Official Statistics should be produced in accordance with the UK Statistics Authority Code of Practice for Statistics (opens in a new window) and applies to all UK bodies. The framework for the Code of Practice for Statistics is based on three pillars:
- Trustworthiness is about having confidence in the people and organisations that produce statistics and data;
- Quality is about using data and methods that produce assured statistics;
- Value is about producing statistics that support society’s needs for information.
Each pillar contains a number of principles and detailed practices that producers should commit to when producing and releasing official statistics. When producers of official statistics comply with the Code, it gives users of statistics and citizens confidence that published government statistics are of public value
, are high quality
and are produced by people and organisations that are worthy of trust
The Code of Practice is designed to establish best practice standards in the production of statistics, that which will serve to ensure a coherent and transparent service for statistical users.
The UK Statistics Authority
was established under the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. It maintains responsibility for development, maintenance and endorsement of the Code. The Authority is an independent statutory body. It operates at arm’s length from government as a non-ministerial department and reports directly to the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The Authority has a statutory objective of promoting and safeguarding the production and publication of official statistics that ‘serve the public good’. The public good includes:
- informing the public about social and economic matters;
- assisting in the development and evaluation of public policy;
- regulating quality and publicly challenging the misuse of statistics.
The Office for Statistics Regulation
is the regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority. It provides independent regulation of all official statistics produced in the UK.
A key feature of Official Statistics is the legislative requirements surrounding the access to such statistics prior to formal publication. This is known as pre-release access PDF (159KB)
, and refers to the length of time officials and other public figures are permitted access to statistical information before it is disseminated to the wider public. Pre-release is currently granted to the Office’s official statistics publications for the following people
Furthermore, the Office demonstrates its support of Official Statistics standards through the publication of statements on its strategy in relation to: