§ Mr. Lamont
When the Central Statistical Office (CSO) was launched as an agency a little over a year ago I made clear the Government's commitment to the arrangements adopted to ensure the integrity and validity of United Kingdom official statistics and to sustain public confidence in them. I have now agreed some improved practices for the release of CSO statistics which demonstrates that commitment.
The improved practices, and their effect, are as follows:
- (i) all statistics will be published as early as possible, with many being released much more quickly than currently—improving decision-making and enhancing openness;
- (ii) data will be available to all users at the same time, but Ministers, and where appropriate the Governor of the Bank of England, and some officials (on a strict need-to-know basis) will receive copies of key statistical releases 1½ days in advance½promoting transparency; and
- (iii) the CSO will be entirely responsible for the contents of its press releases, subject to advance consultation with me on changes in format-demonstrating the integrity of the statistics.
The CSO is publishing today a document setting out its release practices in detail, and copies have been placed in the Library of the House.
These changes emphasise my determination to promote openness and transparency in the Government's economic decision making, enhance the reputation of Government statistics, and promote public confidence in their integrity.