Equality of access to official statistics and the access to those who produce them is a fundamental part of the Code of Practice. To ensure that there is adequate access, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) avoids publishing statistics on England and Wales public holidays so that there is access to the those who release them on the day of release should there be any queries from the media or other users. However, Northern Ireland and Scotland have their own public holidays which differ from those for England and Wales. To ensure equal treatment across the UK, from April 2020, ONS will ensure that any release which contains data for the constituent countries of the UK is not published on a day when government offices are closed in one of the countries. ONS will therefore involve the devolved administrations in the process of setting the relevant future release dates
The initial impact of this policy is to move the release date of Labour Market Statistics in July 2020 from Tuesday 14 July (when Northern Ireland government buildings are closed) to Thursday 16 July. The release date in July 2021 will also move from 13 to 15 July. This change will ensure that users across the UK have the same access to advice from the teams who produce the statistics on the day of release.