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Types of official statistics

The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 defines 'official statistics' as all those statistical outputs produced by the UK Statistics Authority's executive office (the Office for National Statistics), by central Government departments and agencies, by the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and by other Crown bodies (over 200 bodies in total). This definition goes much wider, therefore, than the portfolio of statistical outputs produced by members of the Government Statistical Service (GSS).

The Act also allows ministers to determine, through secondary legislation, which non-Crown Bodies produce official statistics so that they, too, can be subject to scrutiny and assessment by the Statistics Authority, and be eligible for assessment as 'National Statistics'. This provision is designed to ensure a broad definition of official statistics, as well as flexibility so that the scope of official statistics can be adapted over time to suit changing circumstances.

The term 'official statistics', therefore, includes several categories of statistics produced by public bodies:

  • 'National Statistics' - these are certified as compliant with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
  • statistics produced by the GSS that are not 'National Statistics'
  • statistics produced by Crown Bodies but not under the professional management of the GSS
  • statistics produced by non-Crown Bodies included in secondary legislation
What are 'National Statistics'?

'National Statistics' are a subset of official statistics which have been certified by the UK Statistics Authority as compliant with its Code of Practice for Official Statistics. The label currently comprise three basic types:

  • legacy 'National Statistics' - those statistical products which obtained their designation as 'National Statistics' before April 2008, in accordance with the arrangements set out in the 'Framework for National Statistics' (2000) and which have retained their status, but which have not yet been formally re-assessed by the UK Statistics Authority for compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. The Assessment Programme began in November 2008. 
  • re-assessed 'National Statistics' - any statistical product which has retained its National Statistics status  after a formal re-assessment by the Statistics Authority of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
  • new 'National Statistics' - any statistical product which has been proposed by ministers as a candidate ‘National Statistics’ which has been subject to its first formal assessment by the UK Statistics Authority and which, as a result, has been granted accreditation by the Statistics Authority.

For a complete list of all National Statistics, see Statistics types.

Accredited 'National Statistics' are identified by the following quality mark:

National Statistics quality mark National Statistics quality mark