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 BIS Statement of Administrative Sources Background

Official statistics published by BIS and its partner organisations are based on two main sources – data gathered from statistical surveys, and data extracted from administrative or management systems.

By using data which is already available within administrative or management systems, rather than collecting data afresh, we are able to limit the overall burden placed on data providers, and also avoid the costs of mounting dedicated data collection exercises. In addition, the information we extract from such systems often has the advantage of being more timely than statistical survey data and, when compared with data from surveys (and particularly sample surveys), can also deliver data with a greater breadth of coverage.

The UK Statistics Authority actively encourages public bodies to exploit administrative and management sources for statistical purposes. However the Authority recognises that the statistical advantages of such arrangements can only be fully realised if statisticians have appropriate access to such systems; if statistical purposes are reflected in the design, management, and development of such systems; and if adequate safeguards are put in place to ensure the professional integrity of any official statistics derived from them.

The Authority‘s main requirements are set out in the third Protocol attached to their Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Amongst other things, this Protocol requires all producers of official statistics to publish, in consultation with the National Statistician, a ‘Statement of Administrative Sources’ which lists:
  • the administrative systems they currently use to produce official statistics;
  • information about other administrative sources that are not currently used for statistical purposes but which have the potential to be so used;
  • the arrangements they have put in place to provide statistical staff with appropriate access such sources; to take account of changes to such systems; to audit the quality of the administrative data used for statistical purposes; and to ensure the security of the resultant statistical processes.
Statements of Administrative Sources are held by the following BIS partner organisations which produce official statistics, and can be viewed at the following pages:

Insolvency Service
Higher Education Statistics Agency
Student Loans Company
Data Service

Other BIS official statistics are produced using survey data.

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Last updated on 27 August, 2010

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