The RSS's written response to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee inquiry on 'Data Transparency and Accountability: Covid 19' has just been published.
In our response we make the following recommendations:
- That a formal government review, analogous to the Bean review of economic statistics, is conducted into England’s health data to ensure that a well-functioning system is established at the earliest opportunity.
- Whenever data is referred to in support of a decision, the government should publish all relevant data alongside the decision and clearly signpost to it.
- A considerable strengthening of Office of Statistics Regulation: increasing its resources to a level at which it is able to proactively identify issues with the production of statistics and reviewing its powers to see if there is a case for strengthening them.
- The UK Government should publish a clear framework for how data will be used to make decisions regarding local, regional or national lockdowns in England and should publish the relevant data when making decisions.
- If regular briefings are required again for England, a mechanism should be introduced to ensure independent and non-political communication of data – such as a weekly briefing to journalists by the national statistician, chief medical officer or chief scientific officer. We believe that, if implemented, these recommendations would together substantially improve both public confidence in and understanding of the UK Government’s decisionmaking process.
Read the response in full (PDF).
Read more about our work on this issue.