Data is the essential ingredient for the work of ONS, supporting sound decision-making and democratic debate by publishing official statistics on the economy, population and society at national, regional and local levels.

As the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority and independent of government, we produce statistics for the public good, according to the professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

These pages set out clearly and publicly an overview of the data policies followed by ONS. They cover how data is collected, kept and used, how we publish the statistics produced from it, and how we support researchers to use this resource for the public good.

In summary, we will:

  • be open with data providers and value their time and contribution, collecting data only when necessary
  • treat the data we hold with respect, keeping it secure and confidential
  • use data from surveys, the census and administrative sources for statistical and research purposes only
  • adopt statistical methods that are professional, ethical and transparent
  • publish the statistics we produce openly online, available free of charge to all
  • support researchers to realise additional public benefit from data, while safeguarding the confidentiality of individuals’

These policies apply to the use of data about individuals and businesses for statistical and research purposes. Separate policies apply to management information used in the day to day running of ONS, for example, data on our staff and suppliers.