New Code of Practice for official data says release dates should be pre-announced. Will DfE comply?

Janet Downs's picture

The release of ‘regular and ad hoc’ official statistics should be announced in advance through a 12-month release calendar, the UK Statistics Watchdog says in its new Code of Practice for Statistics. 

The ‘specific release date’ should be announced ‘at least four weeks in advance where practicable’, the new Code advises.

I have checked the Statistics Release Calendar for the Department for Education (DfE0 which lists statistics to be published up to December 2018.    But there’s no mention of two important pieces of data:

1         The names of academies transferred during the financial year 2017/18 and associated costs, if any.   The DfE has committed to releasing this data on an annual basis following years of foot-dragging but we need to know when. 

2         Impact Assessments for free schools which opened in 2016 and 2017.  These are overdue.  Impact Assessments for free schools which opened in 2015 were published within weeks of their opening.  Delayed publication for 2016 and 2017 raise the suspicion that the DfE has something to hide – Impact Assessments which show a new free school could have a negative impact on existing schools, perhaps.  

It may be, of course, that the DfE will announce the publication of these two items ‘at least four weeks in advance’.  But this allows the DfE to kick publication down the road and increases the risk that important information will be missed. 

There is a public interest in the publication of this data on an annual basis.  The DfE should be able to include the publication date in a 12-month Statistics Release Calendar.

I have submitted a Freedom of Information request  asking the DfE to include publication dates of these two items in its 12-month Statistics Release Calendar.  

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