Chief Statistician’s update: COVID-19 and the production of statistics and social research

Darllenwch y dudalen hon yn Cymraeg

Statisticians and researchers within Welsh Government collect, analyse and publish official statistics and research reports to help government, business and the public make informed decisions.

The coronavirus illness (COVID-19) is a significant challenge to us all, and we are working with colleagues across the Government Statistical Service and Government Social Research profession, to ensure that Wales along with the UK as a whole has the vital information needed to respond to the immediate and longer term impacts of this pandemic on our society and economy.

This means we will need to change our usual operations, to ensure we are able to support the government’s response to this crisis as well as providing the necessary information when it is needed the most.

We also need to consider what is right and appropriate for us to be asking data providers and respondents to supply to us at this time, given the pressures on key areas and staff. We will be making urgent decisions around which data collections can be paused, or in some cases cancelled. Decisions have already been made to cancel planned, and close down current, data collections and related research for schools.

The changes to our work, and data collections and research activity, will mean that the production of some statistics and planned research outputs will need to be suspended. It could also affect the quality of some of our other statistics, in terms of accuracy, or the level of detail available, such as less commentary or fewer breakdowns.

Decisions will be made on a case by case basis, prioritising what is relevant to the current situation, and we will be open and transparent about decisions made and the potential effects on our statistics and research. We will publish more on this in the coming weeks. Throughout this process, we will remain guided by the Code of Practice in publishing official statistics, that are of public value, are high quality and can be trusted, as well as the Government Social Research Code and publication protocol.

The latest information on our planned outputs or postponements will continue to be available on our release calendar.

The Office for Statistics Regulation have also issued a statement about their approach to regulating our statistical work at this time.

Glyn Jones
Chief Statistician

Steven Marshall
Chief Social Research Officer