Data in the public interest

We strive for statistics and data to be used effectively in the public interest and our policy work in this area is wide-ranging.

Some of our letters, submissions and reports (listed below) focus on providing statistical advice to policy makers. Others consider the role of statisticians, data and analysis in democracy, and in fields such as data science, health and medicine, and the law.

Priorities in this area are informed by fellows of the RSS as well as wider research, and are coordinated by the Society’s policy and public affairs staff. Further listings of our policy work are also available, dedicated to official and national statistics, higher education, and education policy.

LETTERS: to the following newly elected metro mayors:
James Palmer (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough) (PDF)
Steve Rotherham (Liverpool City) (PDF)
Andy Street (West Midlands) (PDF)
Andy Burnham (Greater Manchester) (PDF)
Ben Houchen (Tees Valley) (PDF)
Tim Bowles (The West of England) (PDF)
Sent 19 May 2017
Response from Andy Street (PDF)
Received 5 June 2017

LETTER: to City AM regarding pre-release access to statistics (PDF)
Published 17 May 2017

RESPONSE: to the Department for Work and Pensions consultation on Security and Sustainability in Defined Benefit Pension Schemes (PDF)
Sent: 12 May 2017

EVIDENCE: to the Science and Technology Select Committee’s inquiry on algorithms in decision-making (PDF)
Published: April 2017

EVIDENCE: to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s ‘Fake news’ inquiry (PDF)
Published: April 2017

RESPONSE: ‘Focus on the data economy’ (PDF) to BEIS’ consultation on Industrial Strategy Green Paper
Sent: 11 April 2017

EVIDENCE: to the Science and Technology Select Committee's inquiry on research integrity (PDF)
Published: March 2017

RESPONSE: to European Medicine Agency draft guideline on strategies to identify and mitigate risks in first-in-human and early clinical trials (PDF), also submitted in the EMA’s form (PDF)
Sent: 28 February 2017

LETTER: to The Guardian regarding the Digital Economy Bill (PDF)
Sent: 17 October 2016

RESPONSE: to the Royal Society and British Academy’s call for evidence on Data Governance (PDF)
Sent: 4 November 2016

EVIDENCE: on research and statistics in the Digital Economy Bill, submitted to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee (PDF)
Sent: 30 September 2016

LETTER: from RSS President Peter Diggle to Prokopios Pavlopoulos (PDF)
Sent: 20 September 2016

RESPONSE: to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Inquiry on Lessons Learned from the EU Referendum (PDF)
Published: 15 September 2016

STATEMENT: Better measurement of inflation for households (PDF) in response to ONS development of a Household Payments Index
Issued: 22 August 2016

RESPONSE: to the Department of Health on changes to the death certification process (PDF)
Sent: 15 June 2016

RESPONSE: to BIS consultation on moving Land Registry operations to the private sector (PDF)
Sent: 24 May 2016

RESPONSE: to BIS consultation on the UK National Innovation Plan (PDF)
Sent: 23 May 2016

LETTER: to the Daily Mail on proposed data sharing legislation (PDF)
Sent: 22 May 2016

RESPONSE: to the Cabinet Office consultation on Better Use of Data (PDF)
Sent: 22 April 2016
This followed a STATEMENT that we made in response to the Cabinet Office consultation on Better Use of Data (PDF) that was issued 1 April 2016

RESPONSE to the Science and Technology Committee's inquiry on Science Communication.
Sent: May 2016

RESPONSE: to the Science and Technology Committee's consultation on the government's Forensic Science Strategy (PDF)
Sent: April 2016

RESPONSE: to US National Commission on Forensic Science Recommendations regarding use of the term ‘Reasonable Scientific Certainty' (PDF)
Sent: April 2016

RESPONSE: to the Department of Health’s consultation on proposed new alcohol guidelines (PDF)
Sent: March 2016

REPORT: from the Opportunities and Ethics of Big Data (PDF) workshop held 26-27 November 2015
Published: February 2016

LETTER: to the Chief Medical Officer from the RSS (PDF)
Sent: 25 January 2016

LETTER: to the RSS from the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies (PDF)
Sent: 21 January 2016

LETTER: to the Secretary of State for Health regarding alcohol guidelines (PDF)
Sent: January 2016

RESPONSE: to the BBC Trust Impartiality Review: BBC’s reporting of statistics (PDF)
Sent: December 2015

LETTER: to Independent Commission on Freedom of Information regarding its review of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (PDF)
Sent: 20 November 2015

LETTER: jointly from the Open Data Institute and the Royal Statistical Society to Lord Adonis of the National Infrastructure Commission regarding data as infrastructure (PDF)
Sent: 10 November 2015

LETTER: to England’s Health and Social Care Information Centre regarding their consultation on Data Sharing Framework Contract and Data Sharing Agreement (PDF)
Sent: 30 October 2015

LETTER: from UK Forensic Science Regulator on ‘Reporting analytical results against legal limits – drug driving’ (PDF)
Received: 27 October 2015
Response from the Chair of the RSS Statistics and the Law Section (PDF)
Sent: 22 December 2015

RESPONSE: to Research Councils UK on the Draft Concordat on Open Research Data (PDF)
Published: 30 September 2015

EVIDENCE: to the Science & Technology Select Committee’s ‘Big Data Dilemma’ Inquiry
Published: 15 September 2015

RESPONSE: To the UK Statistics Authority Consultation on Measuring Consumer Prices: the options for change (PDF)
Sent: 15 September 2015

RESPONSE: from RSS Statistics and the Law Section to the US National Commission on Forensic Science, on Ethics (PDF) and Scientific Certainty (PDF)
Sent: 14 May 2015

RESPONSE: to the UK Open Government Manifesto
Sent: 26 February 2015

ARTICLE: Our democracy relies on the quality of data in the public domain (at Democratic Audit) (at LSE Impact Blog)
Published: 20 January 2015

STATEMENT: The RSS signed up to a statement made by the Wellcome Trust regarding proposed amendments to new European Data Protection Regulation.
Issued: December 2014.

RESPONSE: to the World Health Organization on public disclosure of clinical trial results (PDF)
Sent: 14 November 2014

RESPONSE: to Department of Health consultation on Protecting Health and Care Information in England (PDF)
Sent: 8 August 2014

REPORT: The data trust deficit: Research by the Royal Statistical Society & Ipsos MORI on trust in data and attitudes toward data use and data sharing in the UK
(PDF)
(Tables)
Published: 22 July 2014

LETTER: to the British Medical Association on personal health data (PDF)
Sent: 9 June 2014
Response from the BMA (PDF)
Received: 17 June 2014

STATEMENT: Position on personal health data in England (PDF)
Sent: 29 April 2014

RESPONSE: to the Public Administration Committee inquiry on Civil Service Skills (PDF)
Sent: 7 March 2014

RESPONSE: to Law Commission Consultation Paper: Data sharing between public bodies (PDF)
Sent: 13 December 2013

LETTER: to Karolos Papoulias, president of the Hellenic Republic regarding Legal proceedings against Greek chief statistician, Andreas Georgiou (PDF)
Sent: 19 February 2013

LETTER: to Giorgio Napolitano, president of the Republic of Italy, regarding the conviction of scientists in relation to earthquake in L'Aquila, Italy (PDF)
Sent: 25 October 2012

EVIDENCE: to the Science and Technology select committee: Risk perception and energy infrastructure (PDF)
Sent: 14 December 2011

RESPONSE: to the Royal Society with regard to Science as an Open Enterprise - data capture for public good (PDF)
Sent: November 2011
The Royal Society’s final report from June 2012 is available here.

LETTER: to Frank La Rue, UN special rapporteur regarding statisticians in Argentina (PDF)
Sent: 25 October 2011

LETTER: from the president to the Lord Chancellor regarding the use of statistical evidence in court cases’ (PDF)
Sent: 23 January 2002