National Statistics Accreditation

At the National Records for Scotland we have a responsibility to ensure the results of the 2022 Census in Scotland are correct, accurate and adhere to the Code of Practice for Statistics as determined by the UK Statistics Authority.

The conduct of the entire 2021 Census operation will be scrutinised by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR), the regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority, against the Code of Practice for Statistics.

The Code of Practice for Statistics promotes the production and dissemination of official statistics that inform decision-making. It helps producers and users of statistics by setting out the necessary principles and practices to produce statistics that are trustworthy, high quality and of public value.

Our report "How the National Records of Scotland is ensuring Census 2021 is trustworthy, high quality and of value to users” published 12 June 2019, is our first step towards measuring our progress against the Code and will form part of the OSR assessment.

The OSR will also consider evidence from a variety of sources including its own research, information we at the National Records of Scotland (NRS) have given them and, importantly, feedback from users and stakeholders connected with the census. Capturing the views of users and potential users forms an important part of OSR’s judgement about the statistics, including how they could be improved. If you would like to comment or speak to OSR, please see detail of the assessment on its website.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) are also responsible for providing evidence to demonstrate how their census undertaking is meeting the Code of Practice for Statistics. Use the following links to see their reports. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) - https://www.ons.gov.uk/census/censustransformationprogramme/census2021outputs/nationalstatisticsaccreditation

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)​ - https://www.nisra.gov.uk/statistics/2021-census/planning/national-statistics-accreditation

OSR response to NRS Phase 1 report

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has carried out an independent assessment of how the three UK offices delivering the 2021 censuses are progressing with their plans. Their report “2021 Censuses in the UK – Preliminary findings” published 4 October 2019, provides recommendations to NRS, the Office of National Statistics and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Their findings cover areas of work that each census office needs to undertake as part of the important process of maintaining National Statistics Accreditation for their census outputs.

We are grateful to census data users who provided information to the OSR as part of the review. We welcome the scrutiny and feedback and would like to thank the OSR for its helpful findings.

We’ll use the findings to inform improvements we are making to the census programme in Scotland and will continue to work closely with the OSR, ONS and NISRA.

NRS response to OSR Phase 1 findings

The OSR Phase 1 report “2021 Censuses in the UK – Preliminary findings” identifies a range of initial findings from the ongoing assessment, which require action on behalf of NRS, NISRA and ONS to strengthen our compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

The three Census offices are working, collaboratively where relevant, to address these findings as part of enhancing the public value, quality and trustworthiness of the data and statistics from Census 2021 across the UK.

The report ‘Response to Actionable Findings from Phase 1 of the National Statistics Accreditation’, published 15 June 2020, details the NRS response to the OSR findings.

Similar reports have also been produced by NISRA and ONS.

OSR review – Phase 1

The OSR have reviewed the actions NRS have taken to address the findings from Phase 1. A letter (link) from the OSR to NRS, published on 11 September, identifies:

  • actions taken by NRS which are particularly noteworthy
  • some areas where further action is needed

We will continue to report our progress towards addressing the OSR actionable findings as part of Phase 2.