National Statistics accreditation

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is carrying out an assessment of the 2021 Censuses for Northern Ireland, England-Wales and Scotland. OSR will be assessing the extent to which the censuses meet the professional standards set out in the statutory Code of Practice for Statistics.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) has a responsibility to ensure the results of the 2021 Census are correct, accurate and adhere to the Code of Practice for Statistics as determined by the UK Statistics Authority.

Please visit the OSR website for further information on how you can share your views and experiences of the 2021 Censuses.

The assessment process for the 2021 Census

The Code provides producers of official statistics with the detailed practices they must commit to when producing and releasing official statistics. The Code ensures that the statistics published by government serve the public. When producers of official statistics comply with the Code, it gives users of statistics and citizens confidence that published government statistics are of public value, are high quality and are produced by people and organisations that are worthy of trust.

The assessment will be split into three phases:

  • Phase 1 will consider suggestions that resulted from the 2011 Census phase 3 assessment and compliance against the three pillars of the Code to reflect planning and development at this point in time
  • Phase 2 will again consider compliance against the three pillars of the Code, with more focus on Quality and Value as the census offices progress towards census day
  • Phase 3 will be carried out after the census outputs are published and will involve an assessment of the outputs in light of users’ views

As part of Phase 1, NISRA have produced a report 'How NISRA is ensuring that Census 2021 will serve the public' published 12 June 2019.

Assessment reports for the rest of the UK

England-Wales and Scotland have also produced similar reports:

OSR response to NISRA Phase 1 report

The OSR is assessing how the three UK census offices are ensuring the 2021 Censuses will serve the public. Its report ‘2021 Censuses in the UK – Preliminary findings’ with the accompanying letter to the census offices, published 4 October 2019, details the extent to which planning, engagement and development activities by NISRA, NRS and ONS are compliant with the Code of Practice for Statistics. Furthermore, the report makes recommendations on what each census office needs to do to maintain National Statistics accreditation for its census outputs.

NISRA is thankful to census data users who have engaged with OSR as part of its assessment to date. It welcomes the scrutiny and feedback, and would like to thanks OSR for its fair and constructive findings. NISRA will work with NRS and ONS to address the findings as part of ongoing planning and development for the 2021 Censuses.