Compliance Statement

DescriptionStatement of Compliance with the National Statistics Code of Practice and Protocols
ISBN0-7559-3939-5
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateMarch 15, 2005

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    STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE
    with the National Statistics Code of Practice and Protocols

    ISBN 0-7559-3939-5

    This document is also available in pdf format (268k)

    Purpose

    This statement of compliance sets out how the Scottish administration implements the National Statistics Code of Practice and its associated Protocols

    Application

    The statement applies to all National Statistics produced by and for the Scottish administration, which includes the Scottish Government, the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), and the Information Statistics Division of NHS National Services Scotland (ISD) and any references to the Scottish Government imply Government Departments and Departmental agencies.

    Most of our statistics are designated as 'National Statistics'. A catalogue of all our data products, identifying those which have been designated as 'National Statistics', can be found at the following address:

    General statement of compliance

    All Scottish administration National Statistics are produced in accordance with the arrangements set out in the Framework for National Statistics and in line with the principles set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice and its supporting Protocols subject to any exceptions noted in this Compliance Statement.

    Links to Framework, Code and Protocols:

    The Compliance Statement also includes additional policies/statements as shown below relating to specific Protocols.

    Supporting Protocol

    Compliance Statement

    • Customer Service and User Consultation

    Customer Service and Complaints

    • Data Access and Confidentiality

    Confidentiality and Access

    • Data Management, Documentation and Preservation

    Data Management

    • Data Presentation, Dissemination and Pricing

    Publication

    • Release Practices

    Release Practices

    • Revisions

    Revisions and Errors

    • Consultation Arrangements between the National Statistician and UK Government Ministers
    • Managing Respondent Load
    • Data Matching
    • Professional Competence
    • Quality Management
    • Statistical Integration

    Application to non National Statistics

    As far as possible the Code of Practice and Protocols will apply to all government statistics whether classified as National Statistics or not. The principle differences between National Statistics and other statistics produced by Government Statistical Service in Scotland are in relation to release practices, and quality. Production of other numerical information within government should follow the principles and practices of the Code as far as is appropriate.

    Reporting of non compliance

    All occurrences of non compliance in respect of National Statistics will be reported to the Chief Statistician via the Head of Profession where there is one. The Chief Statistician will report on these through his/her Annual Report and through such other measures as he/she considers necessary in consultation with the Head of Profession. This will include reporting non compliance to the National Statistician.

    Scottish administration parties

    The aim of the Scottish Government statistical service is to provide relevant and reliable statistical information, analysis and advice that meets the needs of government, business and the people of Scotland. Their website can be accessed at:

    The General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) is the department responsible for the registration of births, marriages, deaths, divorces and adoptions in Scotland and for carrying out periodic censuses of Scotland's population. Their data can be accessed through the GROS website:

    Information Statistics Division (ISD), a division of NHS National Services Scotland, is responsible for publishing most statistics about health and health services in Scotland and does so through the Scottish Health on the Web (SHOW) website:

    Customer Service and User Consultation

    Our Customer Service and User Consultation Policy is published in accordance with the requirements set out in the Protocol on Customer Service and User Consultation. It describes our intention to provide a high level of service to all our customers. More specifically, we aim to meet the following standards of customer service:

    Service to Data Suppliers

    We will endeavour to operate efficiently by placing the minimum load necessary on data providers and by integrating our statistical work across the Scottish administration where appropriate. We will take good care of all the information provided to us and we will respect the confidentiality of all identifying information in accordance with the accompanying Statement on Confidentiality

    Service to Users

    We will, maintain the relevance of all our statistical activities so that they meet the needs of all our users, and where possible, make sure that the information we provide is equally accessible to the whole community.

    ScotStat is a framework for the Scottish Government and associated agencies to consult with users and providers on Scottish official statistics. It aims to provide communication amongst those interested in particular statistics and facilitate the setting up of working groups on specific statistical issues. This site may be accessed using the following link:

    Service Standards

    If you get in touch with us, you can expect us to be polite, approachable and helpful, and to readily identify ourselves. We will make every reasonable effort to ensure that you are provided with information that is timely, relevant and accurate, and we will endeavour to meet the following targets.

    • We will endeavour to respond to customer correspondence, whether in paper or electronic form, within 20 working days commencing from the date when we receive your correspondence.
    • Our response will either be an answer to the issue you have raised, or a notification that the correspondence is being dealt with, but noting that the reply may take longer than the initial 20 day period.
    • Our holding reply will either contain a date by which we intend to provide a full response, or a date by when we will contact you with a progress update.
    • We will return person-to-person customers' calls within 10 business days.

    Sometimes, our service delivery standards will be affected by circumstances beyond our control. And occasionally we make mistakes. When this happens we will apologise and do everything we can to put things right. If you have a concern about the quality of our service, or the treatment you have received from us and you cannot resolve the problem with the person you have been dealing with, you can make a formal complaint.

    If you do decide to make a formal complaint, then please follow our Complaints Procedure.

    Complaints

    This guide tells you how to make a formal complaint about our administration or service and what you can do if you are unhappy with our response.

    Our commitment

    We aim to deliver a high quality service but we recognise that sometimes things can go wrong. When this happens, we will do our best to put matters right quickly.

    We will listen to your complaint and

    • treat it seriously, and in confidence;
    • investigate it thoroughly and fairly;
    • resolve it promptly, and informally whenever possible ;
    • wherever possible find a remedy and ;
    • learn from complaints to improve our services.

    If you are not satisfied with our service, please write to

    Chief Statistician
    Mr Rob Wishart
    3R-02
    St Andrew's House
    Edinburgh
    ED1 3DG

    Telephone: (0131) 244 0302
    e-mail rob.wishart@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

    We aim to respond promptly - on the spot for simple cases, and within 10 working days for more complex issues.

    If you are not satisfied with the initial response you receive, or the way in which your complaint has been handled, you can ask a Member of Parliament to request that the Independent Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (the Ombudsman), investigate your complaint and how it has been handled. The Ombudsman will only investigate after any internal review has been completed. If the Ombudsman is satisfied that your complaint has been dealt with fairly, he will close your case.

    The Statistics Commission is an independent non-departmental public body set up to ensure that official statistics are trustworthy and responsive to public needs. You may contact the Commission through their website at:

    We also welcome any comments or suggestions that would help us to improve our standards of service.

    Data Access and Confidentiality

    This statement is issued in accordance with the requirements set out in the Protocol on Data Access and Confidentiality and sets out the arrangements the Scottish administration have put in place to:

    • protect the security of our data holdings;
    • uphold our guarantee that no statistics will be published that are likely to identify an individual unless specifically agreed with them;
    • at the same time obtain maximum value from these micro-data by extending access to bona-fide and authorised third parties.

    Arrangements for maintaining the confidentiality of statistical data

    Data are held in accordance with the Scottish Government's IT Policy, approved by the Scottish Government Information Systems Security Committee (ISEC). This sets out the framework within which the Government will develop, implement, manage and review its IT security. The IT Policy exists within and develops upon the Scottish Government Information Policy.

    All Scottish Government staff will comply with the Information Management Policies which include compliance with the Code of Practice on Access to Scottish Government Information, the Scottish Government IT Code of Conduct and Statutory and Regulatory requirements. These include the Data Protection Act (1998) and the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002:

    Guidance given to Scottish Government staff on Information Management is available at:

    Physical security

    All staff working in this organisation require a pass to access the premises. All visitors must be signed in and accompanied on all sites. There is no public access to any part of the organisation where confidential statistical data may be held.

    Technical security

    We maintain a Government Secure Intranet (GSI) compliant network. No confidential statistical data are held on laptops or any other portable devices without approved access control or kept on unprotected portable storage media. All transmission of micro-data is conducted within the GSI network or on encrypted e-mail or password protected CDs or memory sticks.

    Organisational security

    We use a combination of survey project managers, data custodians, and data management teams to protect and maintain our data.

    Disclosure Security

    We use a combination of data manipulation and/or statistical disclosure techniques to meet the confidentiality guarantee. Disclosure security is continually under review but will be formally reviewed for adequacy in December 2005 and every five years hence.

    Arrangements for providing controlled access to micro-data

    We provide micro-data which has been made anonymous to authorised researchers in the academic sector, to Local Authorities, Health Boards, medical researchers, government departments, and Eurostat. Data may be released under arrangements described in a Service Level Agreement, a Concordat, contracts, and confidentiality declarations. In every case, a prospective customer must make an application for approval for release to the appropriate management team for each dataset or survey. The management team also maintains the definitive documentation of all access to data held by the organisation.

    Recording the details of access authorisations

    Full details of all authorised access to our micro-data are available on request from the management team for each dataset or survey.

    Auditing of beneficiaries of access

    All beneficiaries of access are required to agree to audits of organisational, technical and physical security. The standards must be those to which the beneficiary agreed in the data access agreement.

    Exceptions

    Information Statistics Division and the General Register Office for Scotland have separate arrangements for securely handling their respective data and are not covered under this compliance statement.

    Security practices

    The Scottish Government is working towards full compliance with the security practices related to the British Standard on Information Security Management (BS7799) but current practices uphold Principle 7 of the Protocol (Data identifying individuals will be kept physically secure).

    Variations in the role of the National Statistician

    The National Statistics Protocol on Data Access and Confidentiality contain references to the National Statistician in respect to setting standards for confidentiality, designating responsible statisticians, auditing data access to third parties and having any breach of confidentiality reported to them. Also Principle 5 refers to the National Statistician having explicit direction and personal responsibility to provide information identifying individuals when it must be given up by law. In respect of data produced by or for the Scottish administration all matters will be determined by the Chief Statistician or relevant Head of Profession, although they will ensure that this is carried out in a manner which is consistent with the principles of National Statistics. Final decisions on the interpretation of the standards for confidentiality will be made by the Chief Statistician. The National Statistician's advice will be sought where necessary, and he may pursue issues should he wish under the terms of the National Statistics Framework and Statistics Concordat.

    Data Management

    Our Data Management Policy is published in accordance with the requirements set out in the Protocol on Data Management, Documentation and Preservation. The policy applies to all our published National Statistics, whether obtained from administrative or statistical sources, and however published.

    The Data Management policy requires the establishment of new processes and procedures and will therefore evolve as the effects of these take hold. This document gives current procedures and future directions.

    Policy Implementation

    The Scottish administration will implement this protocol in pace with necessary technical developments elsewhere, such as the GSS-wide Documentation (Metadata) System.

    Responsibility for the day-to-day implementation of this Data Management policy and for the stewardship of each Scottish Government data holding is vested in a number of Heads of Branch who work under the overall direction of the Scottish Government's Chief Statistician.

    Their responsibilities are to ensure that our organisation manages its data resources in accordance with the best practice principles and standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice and its supporting Protocols; with the Statements and Policies which form part of this Compliance Statement; and in accordance with the organisation's statutory obligations.

    Procedures and Systems

    The following systems and procedures support the implementation of this policy and will be implemented by the relevant Heads of Branch :-

    • Compiling and maintaining metadata to cover the whole life-cycle of each of the statistical resources they manage. At present metadata is maintained in the Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics system and in the ONS Statbase. In future we will also use a centralised metadata repository in house, using the standard metadata model being developed by the GSS augmented with local metadata, to provide the framework and audit trail for managing the full life-cycle of each data resource.
    • Guarding the integrity and security of their data holdings in accordance with the Scottish Government's IT Security and Information Management policies and Protocol on Data Access and Confidentiality.
    • Archiving and preserving their resources in line with the Scottish Government Information Management policy. As the use of the metadata repository for recording and managing the full life-cycle of statistical data develops we will review the operation of the Data Management policy.

    The Heads of Branch duties will evolve to match the development of each of the systems and policies described above.

    Publication

    Our Publication Strategy is issued in accordance with the requirements set out in the Protocol on Data Presentation, Dissemination and Pricing. The objective of the strategy is to ensure the widest possible access to statistical publications, while continuing to meet the needs of specific user communities.

    Related topics are covered in other protocols. The most relevant to this strategy include those on Release Practices, Customer Service and User Consultation, Revisions, and Data Access and Confidentiality.

    The publication strategy recognises that National Statistics are used by a wide community inside and outside government and aims to maximise the use of our statistical information in all walks of life - subject to the need to comply with legal, ethical and confidentiality constraints. It is based on the following key principles:

    Knowing our customers

    We will ensure that the content of our resources and products, and the supporting information we provide is informed by an understanding of our customers' needs - obtained through a combination of analysis of demand, networking, consultation, and market research. The main official vehicle for consultation is ScotStat, a network for users and providers of Scottish official statistics. More details of ScotStat can be found at the following link:

    In addition, all publications contain a contact address to which feedback can be addressed.

    Informing our users

    We will help customers and users to understand and make the best possible use of our products by publishing supporting, background, or educational information and material. This material will be placed on the appropriate topic pages of the Scottish Government Statistics website, the GROS website or ISD's Scottish Health Statistics website

    We are developing a structured approach to providing this material. This may include the following:

    • Occasional, analytical papers covering a specific topic. These would include Scottish National Statistics data but may include data from other sources.
    • Technical papers, focusing on methodological and statistical issues relating to the production of statistics within the Scottish Administration.
    • Correspondence notes. These would be in a Question and Answer format, and would provide a forum for users to submit comments, questions and/or criticisms.

    We will also encourage users to make use of appropriate contact e-mail addresses and telephone numbers listed on the websites, including the Customer Enquiry Service on the Scottish Government Statistics website and the Contact Points on the GROS website or ISD's Scottish Health Statistics website.

    A common identity

    We will make it easy to identify which of our products have been branded as 'National Statistics' by marking them clearly as such, and by following standard practices and procedures.

    Scottish administration National Statistics publications will:

    • be headed with the appropriate departmental logo (Scottish Government, GROS or NHS Scotland);
    • be labelled as National Statistics;
    • be labelled with National Statistics theme/sub-theme;
    • be labelled with Department/Division;
    • follow best practice when presenting numerical and graphical information; and,
    • include telephone, address and e-mail contact point.

    Standard formats for both web and paper publications will be used.

    Where National Statistics tables appear in a non-National Statistics publication, then the tables will be clearly footnoted as National Statistics and source and contact details given. Conversely, any non-National Statistics figures appearing in a National Statistics publication will also be clearly marked.

    The format of Scottish Government, GROS and ISD statistical publications varies, but will usually fall into one of the following categories:

    • National Statistics publications - these will be published subject to the full rigours of the National Statistics Code of Practice and Protocol on Release Practices.
    • Non-National Statistics releases - these will be published following the same basic principles, but subject to less rigorous arrangements.
    • Background data - released after a formal statistics release.

    Any publication will be clearly marked to show which category it falls into.

    Data that are not considered fit for general use may be released to expert users and/or included in relevant sections of our internet site as "data being developed". All references to the data by the Government will be accompanied by a clear statement of why they are being released and the limits on their use. They will not be classed as official statistics, will not necessarily be pre-announced and may be released to selected users at varying times.

    Web focus

    In order to promote widespread access and informed public debate, we will use the Web as our main channel for the dissemination of statistics. All our products are published on the Scottish Government Statistics website, GROS website or ISD's Scottish Health Statistics website. Our products may appear on the website before they become available in print. We will continue to provide products in other formats in line with our statutory obligations, and where there is sufficient demand.

    Charging

    All the information we publish on-line will be free at the point of use. Any charges we impose will conform to the rules and procedures set out in the Protocol on Data Presentation, Dissemination and Pricing, and will comply with departmental guidance on charging and with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. This means that the publication costs of a document can be recouped.

    For requests received under the Freedom of Information Act (FoI requests) the charging principles of that Act and the standard practice adopted by the Scottish Government apply. All requests made in writing for information that is held by the Scottish administration are FoI requests.

    Non-FoI requests, such as requests for new or additional analyses, will be charged in line with departmental guidance on charging. In the Scottish Government, non-FoI requests that take over three hours to complete can be charged, at the discretion of the Branch or Division Head. Should charges apply, the current rate is £60 per hour. In GROS, there is a charge of £20 for every completed hour taken to meet the request.

    Accessibility

    We will make it easier for users to find and understand our published data by continuing to improve signposting and standard documentation procedures.

    Freedom of Information

    Statistical information will be included in the Publication Scheme of the Scottish Government, GROS and NHS Scotland, produced to comply with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. We will include as much information as possible, including background data and analyses where appropriate under the Publication Scheme. Having a planned publication schedule will ensure equality of access and orderly release of related information, and will be a more efficient way of producing previously ad hoc material.

    Release Practices

    Our Release Practices Policy is published in accordance with the requirements set out in the Protocol on Release Practices.

    Accessibility: Number and types of releases

    All the Scottish administration's statistical outputs are on the Internet and freely available for download. All are made available as hard copy on request. Some publications are available at a price from Blackwell's Bookshop, but they are also distributed free of charge to many users.

    Each year the Scottish administration expects to produce about 150 statistics releases, ISD accounts for about half of these. There are currently 7 regular quarterly series, again mostly from ISD.

    Market sensitive statistics

    The following statistical outputs are formally classed as market sensitive:

    • Scottish Gross Domestic Product (quarterly)
    • Scottish Manufactured Exports (quarterly)

    Pre-announcement

    Release dates for all statistical outputs are pre-announced in the Scottish Government's website at:

    and in National Statistics Updates, available at:

    A 15 month schedule of releases is produced and updated quarterly, so there is always a full year programme. Month of release is given where known. Exact dates will be given for market sensitive statistics, six months ahead.

    There are established timetables for regular quarterly releases and exact publication dates will be given 6 months in advance, providing the publication date is certain.

    A month ahead programme is also produced in the middle of the preceding month, and this gives exact dates for all outputs.

    Timing and format of releases

    Publication is announced by means of a statistical release from the Scottish Government Press Office, normally issued at 9:30 a.m. on a normal working day. Exceptions may occasionally arise, for example if the report is being laid before Parliament.

    Any Ministerial statement is issued separately from the statistical release, usually at the same time and never in advance.

    The content and format of all statistical outputs is decided by the statistics branch in consultation with the Senior Statistician. The Head of Profession may require changes where he considers them appropriate. Branches are required to maintain regular consultation with users and providers on format and content.

    Releases have a wide variety of formats to reflect the type of material, user needs and resources available. Further information can be found within the Publications section of the compliance statement

    Pre-release access to statistics

    The Scottish administration will maintain a record of all those who have pre-release access and the purpose of that access, including management, briefing, and/or quality assurance purposes. This is available on request.

    Statistics branches are encouraged to provide access for quality assurance purposes and to ensure that management functions are properly advised.

    Recipients of market sensitive statistics are required to make the regular declaration specified in the protocol every year.

    Details of arrangements for individual releases will be included in the record referred to above. A reference to this information will be included in each release.

    Availability of detailed results

    The Scottish administration's statistical publications cover a very wide range of information. To encourage fullest use of source data, there are a variety of arrangements in place for making additional and more detailed results available on request, subject to restrictions of confidentiality and Freedom of Information provisions. These are described in relevant outputs and also on National Statistics online.

    Minimum standards to apply to non National Statistics

    The Scottish administration also produces for management and other purposes a range of statistics that are not classified as National Statistics. This applies particularly to ISD and details of such outputs are provided in their Statistical Plan.

    It is inevitable that those who have access to management information may become aware of likely results or directions of statistical analyses well before these are finalised or published as official statistics.

    The Scottish administration has practices in place for the release of such statistics that will not undermine confidence in official statistics. As a minimum it will:

    • Provide publicly accessible information about all its statistics.
    • Produce a plan for how and when information from each source is made available.
    • Put in place arrangements for controlling access prior to public release.
    • Put in place arrangements for release.

    In addition the Chief Statistician will take such action as he considers necessary to ensure that the integrity of official statistics is not adversely affected.

    As far as possible arrangements for non National Statistics will comply with the practices adopted for the Scottish administration's National Statistics. However, there may be other considerations that influence the arrangements for a particular publication/release. In these circumstances arrangements will be agreed with the Chief Statistician.

    In applying the above principles the Scottish administration will implement the following:

    • The statistical collections as agreed with Departmental Management Boards will be described on the Scottish Government's website and its Information Asset Register.
    • After they have been collected and validated, statistics compiled from these sources will be released in response to Parliamentary Questions and Open Government requests subject to cost, quality and confidentiality restrictions, or previously announced plans for release.
    • A security marking "Restricted - Statistics" will be used on all pages of documents containing statistics that are not already in the public domain. On the covering page there also be a statement of the purposes for which the information is shared, the potential damage of unauthorised release, and the responsibilities on the person with whom it is shared. A list of those to whom the document is sent will be retained by the author.
    • The release will identify a senior professional accountable for the content and release arrangements.
    • A record of these arrangements will be provided to the Chief Statistician to enable him to respond to enquiries from Statistics Commission.

    These standards all apply to the Scottish administration's National Statistics as well.

    Exceptions

    Variations in the role of the National Statistician

    The National Statistics Protocol on Release Practicescontains a number of references to the National Statistician making decisions in respect of timing, format, content or pre-release access to statistics. In respect of statistics produced by or for the Scottish administration all these matters will be determined by the Chief Statistician or relevant Head of Profession, although they will ensure that this is carried out in a manner which is consistent with the principles of National Statistics. The National Statistician's advice will be sought where necessary, and he may pursue issues should he wish under the terms of the National Statistics Framework and Statistics Concordat.

    Revisions

    This Statement is issued in accordance with the requirements set out in the National Statistics Protocol on Revisions and sets out our intention to be open and transparent about any revisions we make to National Statistics and to ensure that users of our statistics have easy access to comprehensive information about those revisions:

    We will achieve this aim by:

    • maintaining an area on the Scottish administration websites which provide access to:
    • a list of any of our key National Statistics which are subject to a scheduled pattern of revisions as well as a link (where appropriate) to their separate Revisions Policies;
    • current and historical information on any revisions, corrections or changes to any of our National Statistics, and the reasons for their occurrence;
    • lists any of our key outputs which are deliberately not revised and the reason why.
    • including explanations for, and background details about, revisions, corrections or methodological changes within any of the publications that incorporate them.

    Errors

    Many of the revisions we make are a normal, unremarkable and inevitable feature of statistical life and users are able to absorb and plan for those revisions accordingly. However, some revisions are 'avoidable' in the sense that they are the consequence of errors or weaknesses in our procedures or systems, rather than of design. In the latter case, and regardless of whether the responsibility is ours or others, we will follow the procedures described below:

    Announcement of impending corrections

    We will be open and transparent about the need for any unscheduled corrections and, in normal circumstances, and once we ascertain the need for a correction, and become aware of its likely size and direction, we will inform all users about our intention to issue corrections, and by when.

    In the case of market-sensitive statistics, however, difficult decisions sometimes have to be taken about the most appropriate way to balance competing principles. The National Statistician/Heads of Profession reserve the right to decide when users' right to know about impending corrections must give way to the requirement not to create market uncertainty. In such circumstances, and in due course, we will explain the reason for our chosen course of action.

    Dissemination of corrections

    Decisions relating to the dissemination of unscheduled corrections will be made by the Chief Statistician, or in the case of ISD by the Director of ISD, in the light of the circumstances prevailing at the time but in general terms:

    Web versions of releases/publications/tables/articles/etc

    As soon as possible after we ascertain that a correction is necessary and warranted, we will amend all current electronic versions of any release, publication, table, article etc which contains the affected statistics or text, and re-populate the website as soon as possible with those amended versions. If the correction is minor or insignificant in the sense of being inconsequential and hardly noticeable, we will insert the necessary changes without alerting anyone. Otherwise, these electronic versions will include a note alerting readers to the fact that certain (albeit insubstantial) corrections have been incorporated and the reason why. If the error is substantial or significant, we will, in addition, issue a prominent alert on the website to notify users about the correction and the reason for its occurrence.

    Paper versions of releases/publications/tables

    Unless there are compelling reasons, we will not attempt to recall/re-issue any paper versions of any release, publication or table etc that contains the affected statistics or text if it has already been distributed. We will, of course, ensure that when we issue further paper copies, they will include any corrections that have been incorporated in the electronic versions.

    However, if the error is substantial or significant, we will, where practicable, notify the recipients of paper versions by telephone or e-mail, and point them to the revised version available on the web. If the release or publication has a long shelf-life, we will consider re-issuing a revised paper version.

    Consultation Arrangements between the National Statistician and UK Government Ministers

    This Protocol does not apply to the Scottish administration.

    Managing Respondent Load

    This statement is issued in conformance with the requirements set out in the Protocol on Managing Respondent Load and sets out the arrangements for the Scottish administration. It covers the Scottish Government, General Register Office for Scotland and other National Statistics produced for Scottish Ministers.

    Scottish administration compliance with this Protocol should be seen in the context that:

    • most surveys of businesses in Scotland are carried out by UK Departments or by other Scottish bodies,
    • many of the administration's sample surveys of the population are not National Statistics and are not managed by the Government Statistical Service, and
    • collection of data for National Statistics is only a small proportion of the information gathered from local authorities.

    As suggested in the Protocol itself, compliance will be achieved incrementally. This will be achieved in the following ways.

    Scottish Population Survey Coordinating Committee

    The Scottish Population Survey Coordinating Committee (SPSCC), attended by interested parties within and out with the Administration has the following remit:

    • To consider the role of different surveys in respect of common socio-economic and demographic data with a view to developing a more strategic approach and eliminating unnecessary duplication.
    • To consider issues and options in respect of harmonisation, and in particular to ensure the harmonisation of question design and use of standard classifications.
    • To consider issues of timing including sharing of practice and the management of continuous surveying methods.
    • To pursue the opportunities and impact of the Continuous Population Survey
    • To consider the capacity and expertise in Scotland for managing, commissioning conducting and using the results of surveys.
    • To consider any issues in respect of the burden on data providers and the Survey Monitoring and Advice guidelines.

    Survey Monitoring and Advice Group

    An internal Survey Monitoring and Advice Group (SMA), attended by statistical staff across all Departments in the administration:

    • Provides technical advice and assistance to those people collecting information in the Scottish Administration. It will aim to improve the way that samples are designed and ensure there is a balance between data requirements and burden on respondents.
    • Eliminates duplication across surveys and ensure that the most appropriate survey is being utilised.
    • Shares and promotes best practice in survey methodology.
    • Maintains a central database which allows for analysis of coverage and compliance costs and evaluation of impact to respondents when new surveys are introduced.

    It is planned that the focus of this group will change in the light of the Protocol and that the group will support the strategic role of the SPSCC group. This should ensure that continual improvements are implemented to survey procedures, that the principles contained within the Protocol are implemented within the Scottish administration and that information on progress is made publicly available.

    Reviews

    Reviews of National Statistics surveys are carried out as an integral part of each survey cycle. These reviews will take account of the guidance in the Protocol. Handling of quality reviews is covered in the compliance statement on the Protocol on Quality Management.

    Significant developments in implementation will be set out in the annual Statistics Plan and Annual Report.

    Exceptions

    Clause 3 (b) of the Protocol, the Prime Minister's Instructions on the Control of Statistical Surveys and the Osmotherly Report only apply to UK Government. There has been no demand from providers for an annual compliance plan and the Scottish administration does not produce one.

    However the Scottish Administration will continue to estimate compliance costs for surveys of businesses and local authorities. These estimates are provided annually for the National Statistics compliance costs exercise and are available on request.

    The Scottish administration will consider the results of the Office for National Statistics review of compliance cost estimation for surveys of households and individuals. At present the administration does not intend to produce an estimate of such costs, but will review this position should there be a demand from providers of data in Scotland and should a suitable cost estimation process be available.

    Data Matching

    The Scottish administrations recognise the benefits of the Protocol on Data Matching and fully endorse all principles. The Survey Monitoring and Advice Group, as discussed in the Managing Respondent Load statement, will progress the work of this Protocol and ensure the Scottish administrations make full use of all statistical resources.

    Professional Competence

    The Scottish administrations fully endorse the principles set out in this protocol, recognising that all those who contribute to the delivery of statistical products and services will be achieved only by making full use of their talents and by giving them opportunities to develop their professional skills.

    The Professional Statisticians Competency Framework has been developed in Scotland. This defines the general areas of knowledge and expertise expected of statistical staff working on National Statistics. These are considered together with the Statistician Competence Framework developed by the Government Statistical Service (GSS).

    A number of cross-office groups are run which incorporate the principles of this protocol:

    Assistant Statisticians Organising Group

    Facilitates regular communication and networking among Assistant Statisticians, and provide a forum in which Assistant Statisticians feel comfortable in the discussion of issues relevant to their work with their peers.

    Training and Development Group

    Considers any training and development issues arising from the application of the Scottish and GSS competency frameworks, including provision of appropriate statistical training and consideration of individual bids for specialist training.

    Recruitment, Retention and University Liaison Group

    As well as developing and maintaining an effective system for recruiting numerate graduates into the GSS, this group monitors any retention and rotation issues in the statistics group and works with the Human Resources policy team to increase the diversity of applicants to bring in more staff from minority groups.

    Quality Management

    The Protocol on Quality Management will be fully adopted by the Scottish administrations, and will ensure that all National Statistics are fit for purpose and of high quality. The supporting principles of this Protocol will be achieved through supportive work of the other National Statistics Protocols, with the Scottish administrations viewpoints expressed elsewhere in this document.

    Statistical Integration

    We recognise the benefits of adopting standard National Statistics methodologies and classifications to enable international and UK comparisons to be made on key economic and social statistics and will work with the UK administrations to take advantage of these benefits. We also recognise that in some areas it will be more beneficial for Scottish definitions and classifications to be used to meet local and changing needs over time.

    Further information on statistical classifications used in Scotland are available from: