GKB: Geodemographics Knowledge Base

All analysts – wherever they work – share a common desire to use data to investigate and understand important questions. Whether the questions are being asked in commercial organisations, universities, government departments or charities, it makes no difference to this unifying characteristic. As well as being relevant, to have impact our work needs to be used and understood. And it needs to be trusted.

The Code of Practice for Statistics can help all analysts by challenging them to think about how they can reassure those using their analysis that they are trustworthy, that their analytical outputs are of high quality and are valuable.

The Office for Statistics Regulation is the independent regulator of official statistics. We are responsible for setting the standards in the Code of Practice. We encourage all analysts, wherever they work, to think about the Code pillars of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value when carrying out their day to day work and to consider voluntarily adopting the Code.

To voluntarily adopt the Code, we suggest you move through the following stages:

  • Understand the three pillars of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value
  • Reviewy our approach to producing and publishing statistics in relation to the pillars  
  • Consider if there are ways of improving your practice

Start by asking yourself:

  • How are we trustworthy?
  • What is the quality of our data?
  • How does our analysis provide value?

Doing this can help you do your job better. But it is also valuable for your organisation.

Where an organisation chooses to adopt and apply the three pillars for all or some of its statistics or functions, we ask that it publish a statement about why it thinks users can be reassured that it achieves Trustworthiness, Quality and Value in its published data and analysis.

This approach to voluntary adoption is flexible and entirely optional. Our Guide can help you work through what is involved.

In adopting the Code in this way, we believe that your organisation can show that it:

  • is ethical and honest in using any data
  • has a strong culture of professional analysis and it respects evidence
  • is open and transparent about the strengths and limitations of its statistics
  • communicates accurately, clearly and impartially
  • is committed to improving value by better understanding the needs of those using data

I would encourage you to talk about adopting the Code with your colleagues and look at how your organisation can provide public reassurance about the way that it handles data and helps serve society. Here is the experience of an organisation that has done just that.

We can help support you in this process. If you would like to find out more, please do contact me at regulation@statistics.gov.uk

Dr Penny Babb joined the UK Statistics Authority in 2008. She is the head of Policy and Standards in the Authority’s regulatory arm – the Office for Statistics Regulation. She led on delivering and maintaining the refreshed Code of Practice for Statistics, supporting its wide adoption across the UK. Penny has worked in official statistics for over 20 years, on births, cancer, social inequalities and police recorded crime. She was editor of the ONS flagship report, ‘Social Trends’.

Penny Babb, Head of policy and standards at the Office for Statistics Regulation

Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the MRS Census and Geodemographic Group unless otherwise specifically stated



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