Official statistics and user engagement

Official statistics are a fundamental requirement for good government, the delivery of public services, and evidence based decision making in all sectors of society. 

Code of practice

Adherence to the code of practice for official statistics ensures that we meet the needs of government and society and in a way that is both transparent and trusted.

DHSSPS statistics charter

Information on our policies and procedures to ensure official statistics produced by the DoH comply with the principles and protocols contained in the code can be found in the DoH statistics charter

National statistics

All statistics produced by government bodies are classified as official statistics and should be produced in accordance to a code of practice which ensures impartiality, integrity, confidentiality and quality. Many of the statistics produced by the DoH are national statistics. This is the name for official statistics which have been assessed for quality by the national statistics assessment board. 

UK statistics authority and the code of practice

The UK statistics authority is an independent body operating at arm's length from government as a non-ministerial department, directly accountable to parliament. It was established on 1 April 2008 by the statistics and registration service act 2007 and oversees the production of statistics throughout the UK.

The authority's statutory objective is to promote and safeguard the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good. It is also required to promote and safeguard the quality and comprehensiveness of official statistics, and ensure good practice in relation to official statistics.

Adherence to a common code of practice for official statistics, by all the public bodies that produce official statistics, is central to maintaining a unified and trusted statistical service that meets the needs of government and society.

Official statistics assessed as compliant are designated as national statistics. Bodies that produce national statistics are required to ensure that the code continues to be observed. For other official statistics, compliance with the code is not a formal requirement.

Assessments of compliance

Visit the UK statistics authority monitoring & assessment webpage to view both the assessment report and letter of confirmation for DoH statistics which have passed national statistics assessment.  The reference number for each set of DoH national statistics is set out in the below table.

Assessment number DoH national statistics
16 statistics on children looked after by health and social care trusts in Northern Ireland
153 statistics on hospital waiting times in Northern Ireland
188 statistics on children’s social care in Northern Ireland
220 statistics on community care for adults in Northern Ireland
222 statistics on hospitals in Northern Ireland
265 statistics on looked after children

Breaches to the code of practice for official statistics

Publication hub

The publication hub is the central website for hosting all releases of national statistics by government departments in the UK. It also provides links to statistical products and publications that are not classed as national statistics, past and present statistical releases, and information about when future statistical releases will be available.

Accompanying statements and policies

As well as complying with the code of practice and its supporting protocols, all of our national statistics are also produced and published in accordance with the following statements and policies.

Lists of those who receive pre release access to our publications can be found accompanying the most recent publication.

User engagement

Effective user engagement is fundamental both to promoting confidence in statistics and securing maximum public value. For this reason information and analysis directorate (IAD) wish to be fully informed about the needs of all of our users of statistics in order to reflect these in the programme of work that we draw up.

Current consultations

There are currently no consultations.

External engagement

Regional information group (RIG) - the department have established a regional information group to facilitate access to information to meet the needs of the minister and department.  It will identify, prioritise and agree the information needs of the health and social care board (HSCB), public health agency (PHA), patient client council (PCC), regional and quality improvement authority (RQIA) and business services organisation (BSO) in relation to relevant information to be sourced by the HSCB from the health and social care (HSC) trusts, and by the PHA.  The RIG will ensure the information is provided to agreed standards of timeliness and quality and that arrangements for data collection are sufficient to enable the department to meets its statutory obligations under the statistics and registrations services act 2007. 


Related to Official statistics and user engagement

Access to information

How to request information from the Department of Health including Freedom of Information, information about yourself and the type of information we commit to publish on a regular basis. More...

Back to top