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Public confidence project

Background

In the past, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Statistics Commission worked together on a project to explore the issues underlying public confidence in official statistics.

Project Aims

The aims of the project were to:

  • understand the issues underlying or driving public confidence in official statistics

  • assess the level of confidence the public has in official statistics

  • develop a quantitative measure of public confidence

A steering group with representatives from across government was established to oversee the project.

Sub Projects

The aims of the project were addressed through a series of sub-projects exploring public confidence. Each was commissioned either by ONS or the Statistics Commission. The sub-project findings were then drawn together to give an overall assessment of public confidence in British official statistics.

The sub-projects were:

  • desk-research to identify the issues underlying public confidence in official statistics in other countries

  • qualitative analysis of the general public's views of official statistics. This sub-project looked at how they formulate these views, principally captured though a series of focus groups

  • qualitative analysis of 'opinion-formers' views of official statistics. This sub-project looked at how they formulate these views, using unstructured interviews

  • quantitative analysis of the general public's views of official statistics. A measure of public confidence was developed, run on the National Statistics Omnibus Survey and the findings analysed

Deliverables

The principal deliverable of the project is the publication of the Public Confidence in British Official Statistics report drawing together the findings of the sub-projects.

A second survey to determine the level of public confidence in British Official Statistics was run on the ONS Omnibus Survey in March 2005 and a report - Public Confidence in Official Statistics, March 2005 - summarises the findings and makes some comparisons with the results of the survey carried out in 2004.

If you have any enquiries about this project please email: national.statistics@ons.gsi.gov.uk

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