Sex, gender identity, trans status - data collection and publication: guidance

Guidance for public bodies on the collection of data on sex and gender.

2. Underpinning statistical principles

An important starting place for this work are the set of relevant statistical principles that will underpin the work to develop guidance on collection and publication of data on sex, gender identity and trans status.

The following are taken from the Code of Practice for Statistics[5]

  • The Chief Statistician/Head of Profession for Statistics should have sole authority for deciding on methods, standards and procedures, and on the content and timing of the release of regular and ad hoc official statistics (Practice T2.1)
  • Organisations should look after people's information securely and manage data in ways that are consistent with relevant legislation and serve the public good. (Principle T6)
  • Statistics should be based on the most appropriate data to meet intended uses. The impact of any data limitations for use should be assessed, minimised and explained. (Principle Q1)
    • Statistics should be based on data sources that are appropriate for the intended uses. The data sources should be based on definitions and concepts that are suitable approximations of what the statistics aim to measure, or that can be processed to become suitable for producing the statistics (Practice Q1.1)
  • Methods and processes should be based on national or international good practice, scientific principles, or established professional consensus (Practice Q2.1).
  • Statistics, data and metadata should be compiled using recognised standards, classifications and definitions. They should be harmonised to be consistent and coherent with related statistics and data where possible. Users should be provided with reasons for deviations from these standards and explanations of any related implications for use (Practice Q2.2).
  • Statistics producers should collaborate with topic and methods experts and producers of related statistics and data wherever possible (Practice Q2.6).
  • Users of statistics and data should be at the centre of statistical production; their needs should be understood, their views sought and acted on, and their use of statistics supported. (Principle V1)
    • Statistics producers should engage publicly through a variety of means that are appropriate to the needs of different audiences and proportionate to the potential of the statistics to serve the public good. An open dialogue should be maintained using proactive formal and informal engagement to listen to the views of new and established contacts. Statistics producers should undertake public engagement collaboratively wherever possible, working in partnership with policy makers and other statistics producers to obtain the views of stakeholders. (Practice V1.4).
    • The views received from users, potential users and other stakeholders should be addressed, where practicable (Practice V1.5)..

The following is taken from the European Statistics code of practice[6]

  • The overall methodological framework used for European Statistics follows European and other international standards, guidelines and good practices (Practice 7.1)

Dignity and respect

  • Data collection needs to be carried out in a way that treats people with dignity and respect

As with all official statistics, they are collected for the purpose of improving decision making, so another principle would be that

  • if statistics produce unexpected results, they should be investigated further, to see if there is a reason for these results



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