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Code of Practice

The UK Code of Practice for Official Statistics was published in January 2009 by the UK Statistics Authority, as required by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. The Code of Practice sets out common standards that should be followed by all UK organisations that produce officialCode of Practice statistics.

The UK Statistics Authority assess whether or not producers of official statistics have complied with the Code of Practice. Official statistics that have been assessed against the Code of Practice and found to be compliant with it can be designated as National Statistics.

The Code of Practice contains eight principles and three more detailed protocols. Together, these standards help to ensure that:

  • the range of UK official statistics meet the needs of users,
  • the statistics are produced, managed and published to high standards,
  • the statistics are well explained.

Guidance and Obligations

The National Statistician’s Guidance helps all producers of official statistics follow the Principles and Practices of the Code of Practice. Further useful information can also be found in the A-Z of policies and guidance.

The UK Code of Practice is consistent with the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and the European Statistics Code of Practice, which all producers of European statistics are expected to comply with.

Ministers also have obligations under the Code of Practice, such as not quoting official figures until they have been released to the general public. Sections 8.15 and 8.16 of the Ministerial Code (May 2010) and a guidance note on Good Practice in the use of Official Statistics from the former Head of the Civil Service, Gus O’Donnell (2009), both remind ministers and others of their obligations under the Code of Practice.


If an organisation breaches any aspect of the Code of Practice they can be held to account by the UK Statistics Authority. For more information, take a look at our guidance on breaches of the Code of Practice.