Reference: FOI-2024-1698

You asked

I would like to request the 2022 most common baby names list and all of the data for 2022 provided in a similar format to previous years for boys and girls names.

We said

Thank you for your request. 

Latest baby names are available here: Baby names in England and Wales: 2021

Baby names for babies born in England and Wales will now be included in our Births Characteristics publication. Our next publication due in March/April 2024 will include and additional table of names of babies born in 2022.

As such, baby name information for 2022 is exempt under Section 22(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, whereby information is exempt from release if there is a view to publish the information in the future. As a central government department and producer of official statistics, we need to have the freedom to be able to determine our own publication timetables. This is to allow us to deal with the necessary preparation, administration and context of publications. It would be unreasonable to consider disclosure when to do so would undermine our functions.

This exemption is subject to a public interest test. We recognise the desirability of information being freely available and this is considered by ONS when publication schedules are set in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics. The need for timely data must be balanced against the practicalities of applying statistical skill and judgement to produce the high quality, assured data needed to inform decision-making. If this balance is incorrectly applied, then we run the risk of decisions being based on inaccurate data which is arguably not in the public interest.  This will have an impact on public trust in official statistics in a time when accuracy of official statistics is more important to the public than ever before.