Publication - Factsheet

Coronavirus (COVID-19): daily data for Scotland quality statement

Published: 1 Sep 2020

Statement outlining the steps we have taken towards voluntary compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Published:
1 Sep 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): daily data for Scotland quality statement

The Scottish Government and partners are publishing daily and weekly data on Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland.

Much of the data reported by Scottish Government, including the figures from Public Health Scotland and the Care Inspectorate, is Management Information based on a range of operational systems. While checks are completed before publication to ensure data robustness, due to the speed of reporting these data are not currently subject to the full range of processes and quality assurance that would be required for official statistics. For more information about the data please see Data definitions and sources.

National Records of Scotland publishes the information on Deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland as National Statistics.

This statement outlines the steps we have taken towards voluntary compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

The code is built around 3 main concepts, or pillars:

  • trustworthiness – having confidence in the people and organisations that produce statistics and data
  • quality – data and methods that produce assured statistics
  • value – publishing statistics that support society’s needs for information.

The following describes how the pillars of the Code have been applied in a proportionate way.

Trustworthiness

To support the Scottish Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, this Management Information is part of the operational response to the pandemic and is seen in advance of publication by Scottish Ministers and officials.

These statistics have been developed under guidance from the Heads of Health and Social Care Analysis (HSCA) Hub in the Scottish Government Covid Public Health Directorate and the Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician.

The figures provided are compiled by professional Scottish Government analysts across the statistics, economist and research professions. Scottish Government works closely with partners in compiling these figures, including with Public Health Scotland on daily cases, testing and deaths data; National Records of Scotland on weekly deaths data; Health Boards on hospital and other NHS data, along with the Care Inspectorate for care homes data.

These figures have been published on the Scottish Government website on a daily basis since March. The First Minister regularly announces headline figures in her lunchtime briefings. The latest numbers are then published at 2pm each day. The figures are now updated on a daily or weekly schedule, depending on the measure. We formally pre-announce weekly publication timings to ensure that all users are aware of when updated data is available.

Additional data tables, including time series information and breakdowns by Health Board, are published alongside the main daily website update. Data previously reported on the website is made available in the Past data and trend charts for the daily updates on COVID-19. Updated Excel files are published at 2pm each day. Where figures have been revised, this is made clear and an explanation provided. Further detail on data definitions and sources is provided.

Quality

The data reported is Management Information based on a range of operational systems, including the Public Health Scotland Electronic Communication of Surveillance in Scotland (ECOSS) system.

The figures provided are compiled by professional analysts using the latest available data and applying methods using their professional judgement. They have been quality assured by the data producers and the HSCA Hub in Scottish Government.

Given the importance of this information and the level of public interest, data are released at the earliest possible opportunity. While checks are completed before publication to ensure data robustness, due to the speed of reporting these data are not currently subject to the full range of processes and quality assurance that would be required for Official Statistics. Several of the measures were developed rapidly in an initial response to the pandemic, and their definitions are reviewed over time.

Further information, including on limitations of the data, and links to data sources are provided on the accompanying Data definitions and sources page. Revisions to the data are detailed in the data tables and noted on the webpage where relevant. Any changes to the presentation and use of data are cleared with the appropriate data owners and the Heads of HSCA Hub.

Value

In publishing this data, we aim to provide evidence for Ministers, policy makers, external stakeholders and members of the public on how the coronavirus pandemic is progressing in Scotland and within Health Boards.

These figures are an important aspect of the Scottish Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. For example, data on trends in new cases, hospital admissions and deaths has been used to evidence moves between the phases of Scotland’s Route Map for transitioning out of lockdown. The timeliness of the data allows for regular monitoring of how the pandemic is changing.

Making this information available supports public scrutiny and transparency, providing timely and equal access to data for the public, media and other commentators and reducing the requirement for people to make specific information requests to Government and NHS.

The figures and analysis presented continue to evolve over time to ensure the most relevant information is included and the needs of stakeholders are met. We have responded to feedback on the clarity and usefulness of the data presented where possible.

As the suite of key national level measures around cases, numbers in hospital and ICU and deaths fell and Scotland shifted to the next phase of responding to the pandemic, HSCA Hub reviewed the published information releases to ensure our reporting remains fit for purpose and continues to meet the needs of Ministers, stakeholders and the public. Some changes to reporting were made in July 2020 to focus on data relevant to this stage in the pandemic and to suspend publication of other data that is now at very low levels and stable. We have also included links to the new regular reports and resources that Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland analysts have developed to avoid duplication of data presentation across different sources. We will continue to evaluate the frequency and focus on the information published based on need and public interest.