COVID-19 and the production of statistics and social research

March 24, 2020 by No Comments | Category Uncategorized

Statisticians and researchers within The Scottish Government and other public bodies collect, analyse and publish official statistics and research reports to help government, business and the public make informed decisions.

The coronavirus illness (COVID-19) is a significant challenge to us all, and we are working with colleagues across the Government Statistical Service and Government Social Research profession, to ensure that Scotland along with the UK as a whole has the vital information needed to respond to the immediate and longer term impacts of this pandemic on our society and economy.

This means we will need to change our usual operations, to ensure we are able to support the government’s response to this crisis as well as providing the necessary information when it is needed the most.

We also need to consider what it is right and appropriate for us to be asking data providers and respondents to supply to us at this time, given the pressures on key areas and staff. We will be making urgent decisions around which data collections can be paused, or in some cases cancelled.

The changes to our work, and data collections and research activity, will mean that the production of some statistics and planned research outputs will need to be suspended. It could also affect the quality of some of our other statistics, in terms of accuracy, or the level of detail available, such as less commentary or fewer breakdowns. There will be new outputs related to COVID19.

Given that some statistics and research outputs will be even more important during this period, whereas others less so, decisions will be made on a case by case basis, prioritising what is relevant to the current situation, and we will be open and transparent about decisions made and the potential effects on our statistics and research. Throughout this process, we will remain guided by the Code of Practice for Statistics in publishing official statistics, that are of public value, are high quality and can be trusted, as well as the Government Social Research Code and publication protocol.

The latest information on our planned outputs or postponements will continue to be available on our release calendar.

The Office for Statistics Regulation have also issued a statement about their approach to regulating our statistical work at this time.

Roger Halliday, Chief Statistician

Audrey MacDougall, Chief Social Researcher

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