Annex A. UK Statistics Authority Response to Recommendations
2. We recommend that UKSA urgently investigate
the quality of crime statistics in Scotland and Northern Ireland
and their compliance with the Code of Practice, in the light of
the findings of this inquiry, and UKSA's decision to remove the
'National Statistics' kitemark from crime statistics in England
and Wales. (Paragraph 8)
The Authority's assessment of crime statistics in
England and Wales detailed
an accumulation of evidence suggesting that police recorded crime
data may not be reliable. Against this backdrop, we share the
Committee's view that it is timely to re-assess statistics based
on police recorded crime in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Authority announced its intention to re-assess
Scottish police recorded crime statistics in March 2014 and the
full assessment report was published in July.
As set out in the Authority's Assessment work programme, statistics
based on police recorded crime in Northern Ireland are also scheduled
to be re-assessed by the Authority later this year.
12. We recommend that the ONS review and then
publish, alongside the Crime Survey for England and Wales, information
about the nature of the sample, including the impact of the reduction
in sample size on the reliability of the statistics, its cost
over time, and an explanation of what statistics might be published
at a sub-national level, for example for the larger police forces.
In response to the Authority's assessment of crime
statistics in England and Wales, ONS has already published additional
information on the reduction in the sample size of the Crime Survey
for England and Wales.
This explains the impact of the reduction in the sample in April
2012, which resulted from budgetary cuts. ONS are also currently
reviewing the production of sub-national estimates and will bring
forward options for users' consideration later this year.
19. We recommend UKSA works closely with the Home
Office in its role as the first recipient of raw data from forces,
and ensures the Home Office takes active primary operational responsibility
and accepts accountability for ensuring the integrity of the data
which it collates, validates and submits to the ONS for publication.
UKSA should hold the Home Office directly accountable for its
role in the recorded crime statistics process, including its validation
and quality assurance processes as well as its policy guidance
to forces and Police and Crime Commissioners, and should in future
examine the Home Office's processes and procedures directly rather
than at one remove. (Paragraph 60)
As part of its work to address the weaknesses in
the police recorded crime process, ONS is working closely with
the Home Office to review and improve the processes by which police
recorded crime data is collated and validated with police forces.
As with other statistical releases, the Authority
expects both the collectors of data and the producers of statistics
to play an important role in ensuring the integrity of underlying
data and resultant statistics. It will consider whether the improvements
made by ONS and the Home Office in collating and validating police
recorded crime data are sufficient, when it re-assesses crime
21. We recommend that UKSA should review the role
and composition of CSAC and the structures supporting the production
of crime statistics, just as it has recently with a similar committee
advising on inflation figures, to ensure that CSAC is independent
and rigorous and that these statistics best meet user needs in
future. (Paragraph 62)
The Authority considers that it is good practice
that the performance of its Boards and Committees be regularly
reviewed. The Crime Statistics Advisory Committee is to conduct
a review of its effectiveness in September 2014. The Authority
will consider that review when it is completed.
23. UKSA must not in future grant to, or maintain,
the kitemark of 'National Statistics' on any set of statistics
where it has failed to verify whether the underlying data meets
the standard required. They should, as a matter of urgency, review
all other similar statistics where collection processes are beyond
the control of the ONS. UKSA should review the Code of Practice
for Official Statistics to determine whether it needs to be revised
to allow for the new emphasis on administrative data. (Paragraph
As the Committee noted in its report, the Authority
has already launched a programme of work on the use of administrative
data in official statistics. As part of this work, the Authority
has considered how underlying data are currently being audited,
and ways in which auditing arrangements can be improved. An exposure
draft of this work was published in July, and following consultation,
a final report will be published before the end of 2014.
Alongside this work, the Authority continues to assess
the compliance of official statistics against the Code of Practice.
As set out above, it has recently published its re-assessment
of police recorded crime statistics in Scotland, and the re-assessment
of police recorded crime statistics in Northern Ireland is scheduled
to commence later this year.
Furthermore, in order that we may prioritise assessments
which drive change and provide maximum assurance to users, the
Authority has recently published updated criteria for prioritising