Official Statistics published by NHS Digital are drawn from two principal sources:
- data extracted from administrative and management systems
- data collected from statistical surveys and collections
Any collection of data imposes a cost burden on the data suppliers. Producers of Official Statistics are encouraged to ameliorate this burden by making appropriate re-use of data sources and maximal use of administrative data in preference to the undertaking of new data collection exercises.
The Code of Practice for Official Statistics requires (Protocol 3, Practice 5) that producers of Official Statistics prepare, in consultation with the National Statistician, a Statement of Administrative Sources which identifies the following:
- the administrative systems currently used in the production of official statistics
- procedures to be followed within the organisation to ensure that full account is taken of the implications for official statistics when changes to administrative systems are contemplated
- information on other administrative sources that are not currently used in the production of official statistics but have potential to be so used
- arrangements for providing statistical staff, whether inside the producer body or elsewhere, with access to administrative data for statistical purposes
- arrangements for auditing the quality of administrative data used for statistical purposes
- arrangements for ensuring the security of statistical processes that draw on administrative data
This information is published for each administrative data source used by NHS Digital, with separate annexes for each statistical product that draws from these sources.
NHS Digital publishes more than 290 releases of Official Statistics each year. The use of administrative source data is not static but varies from time to time so as to make maximal and appropriate use of the sources available.
Information available on underlying sources is also subject to changes and updates. This will, therefore, be reviewed and updated from time to time (at least annually).