Governance for statistical policies, standards and guidance

Policy details

Metadata item Details
Publication date:15 August 2019
Owner:GSS Policy and Coordination Team
Who this is for:Members of the Government Statistical Service


This document summarises the process to create, update and agree all Government Statistical Service (GSS) policies, standards, guidance and strategies (referred to collectively from this point forward as policies for short).


Policies help to ensure that statistical teams carry out their functions in an orderly, professional, and consistent manner, and in accordance with their statutory obligations. Producers of official statistics are expected to operate in accordance with these.

The Statistical Policy and Standards Committee (SPSC) has a broad role which involves the oversight of all statistical policies. This includes development, promotion, and monitoring the implementation and application of statistical policies.

Any queries regarding the Policy and Guidance hub should be directed to the GSS team at

The Policy and Guidance Hub

All GSS policies should be available on the GSS Policy and Guidance Hub (the Hub). The Hub has the following objectives:

  • helping people to find what they’re looking for
  • increasing awareness of existing policy
  • preventing use of out of date policy
  • avoiding unnecessary new policies / reinventing the wheel
  • identify gaps in policy areas

SPSC is ultimately responsible for the content of the Hub but day to day maintenance is provided by the Central Policy Secretariat (CPS) of the UK Statistics Authority and the GSS Best Practice and Impact Team at ONS.

Creating and updating GSS Policies

If you feel there is a gap in the available material and you are considering a new GSS policy, first check the Hub to make sure the information will not be duplicated and or contradictory to existing content.

Please also do this if you are updating existing policy. If in doubt, email This is also your first port of call for contacting SPSC regarding any GSS policy. CPS will be able put you in touch with the appropriate GSS committee who can help with a new or revised GSS policy.

New or updated policies should be sent to to include in the Hub. Please make sure you include appropriate metadata.

Identifying gaps or flagging errors in the Hub

If you find that there are clear topic gaps in the policies or guidance on the Hub, please email and your request will be raised with the appropriate committee. If you identify any errors on the Hub please also email the team at

Sign off

SPSC may consider any statistical policy at any time, and may sign off or withdraw any policy within its remit. Before signing off a policy, SPSC will need to be satisfied that its development has involved all relevant stakeholders and that the policy does not duplicate or conflict with existing policy.

Each policy will require appropriate and possibly different stakeholders to be involved or informed.

SPSC may delegate authority for sign-off of some policies to its sub-groups. For example, some harmonisation policies might be signed off at the National Statistics Harmonisation Steering Group (NSHSG).


SPSC will:

  • determine which particular GSS body should take lead responsibility for each
    existing policy and potential new policies
  • maintain and oversee the coverage and completeness of the Hub and identify any gaps

GSS bodies given responsibility for each policies will:

  • review their Terms of Reference to ensure the policy is within their remit
  • formulate, maintain and review each allocated policy to ensure its continued coherence and relevance
  • submit policies with metadata to CPS every time they effect a change to policies
  • feedback to CPS if they believe that the existing portfolio of policies is duplicative, incomplete, redundant, etc.

GSS Heads of Profession will:

  • implement each policy within their own organisations and ensure that their own staff are kept aware of the full portfolio of GSS policies and comply with each as appropriate
  • engage with their counterparts in arm’s length bodies sponsored by their organisation in order to ensure that they maintain an equivalent state of affairs
  • feedback to CPS if they believe that the existing portfolio of policies is duplicative, incomplete, redundant, etc.


The metadata on each document on the Hub will ensure that all policies are clear, up to date, and have a named contact. The metadata should be located at the beginning of the document.

Please provide:

  1. title
  2. purpose (summary of what the policy is about and target audience)
  3. author (i.e. Committee, group or individual responsible)
  4. contact details (i.e. a named contact with email (team inbox preferred))
  5. date of release
  6. date to be reviewed
  7. version control information (i.e. v1.0 or v2.0 etc.)
  8. keywords (identifiable /related words to aid the searcher)
  9. links to other relevant policies


Date Changes
15 August 2019 Governance for statistical policies, standards and guidance reviewed and updated.
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