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Good Practice and new Code of Practice

Since I joined the Good Practice Team back in August, I’ve been getting stuck in to our core activities: delivering training, providing ad hoc advice, and developing materials and guidance. Over the summer, the whole team was kept busy accompanying colleagues from the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) on their Code of Practice consultation road show. The consultation ended on 5th October, and as we were writing our team response, I started to reflect all I had seen and heard during the consultation seminars. OSR have been doing the same and you can read Penny’s blog on the UKSA website.

As a newbie to the GSS and the Civil Service, I welcomed the opportunity to get out and about to departments to talk to about the Code. I’ve met colleagues from across a number of departments and agencies at consultation events, and have had a front row seat to important discussions about the new Code and the potential impact on the GSS and colleagues in other professions.

It was great to see how positive people are about the new Code and the new structure based around the pillars of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value. Colleagues welcomed the strengthening of the Head of Profession role and the emphasis on the responsibility of everyone within organisations producing official statistics to comply with the Code. There were some passionate debates around pre-release access and the new concept of voluntary compliance for non-official statistics and other numerical information. I’m looking forward to seeing how these discussions shape the final version of the Code.

Hearing first-hand the concerns and challenges faced by statisticians, analysts and policy professionals gave me a valuable insight into how we, the Good Practice Team, can best support both producers and users of statistics to comply with the Code. We are working with the OSR to develop an interactive version of the Code of Practice which will sit on the UKSA website. The Code will still be available as a PDF, but this online version will enable users to navigate easily between pillars, principles and practices. Users will be able explore content thematically and by their role, and the Code will contain case studies, guidance and other relevant content. There is already lots of guidance available to support producers to comply with various aspects of the Code, most of which can be found in the Policy Store. As OSR have been working through the consultation responses, the Good Practice Team have been reviewing the guidance ready for the launch of the Code in early 2018. We’ll be using what we learnt at consultation events, as well as points highlighted within formal responses, to update the guidance. All of this new and updated guidance will be available through the Code of Practice pages and on the new GSS website.

If you have any ideas about how an interactive version of the Code of Practice could best support users, please get in touch with OSR. And if you have any requests for support or guidance from the Good Practice Team, you can email us. You can see a summary of the support we currently provide in our Good Practice Team Brochure.