Code of Conduct

The Society’s Code of Conduct (PDF) was put in place in 1993 and was revised in 2014. The code of conduct has been drawn up to reflect the principal duties and obligations which all fellows should attempt to fulfil in pursuing their professional lives.

On its introduction, John Pullinger, former President of the RSS, said: 

"The Royal Statistical Society chose the wheatsheaf as its symbol to show that our role is to gather the harvest of data and package it in a way that can be used productively to feed better decisions. Now our logo is rather less lyrical in form but the meaning is still clear – data, evidence, decisions. Our purpose is all about adding value to data to make a positive impact. This role puts us at the heart of decision-making in all walks of life and requires us to set and display high standards in our work.

As professional statisticians we are guided by a Code of Conduct. This is mandatory for all CStats and GradStats and recommended to all other fellows of the Society.

It requires us to act in the public interest. This means operating without fear or favour. We cannot be required to produce results that go further than the data supports either through bias or imprecision. That characteristic is what makes us valuable to employers – if it has been produced by a professional statistician it can be trusted. It is also our protection against those who would seek to get us to produce answers to their liking unsupported by the numbers.

The Code requires us to act in the interests of our employers. This is about being useful. We are paid to do a job. To add value to the organisation paying the cheques.  In the modern data economy the value that the professional statistician can offer is immense and it is our duty to find that value. We must get under the skin of the places in which we work to see how what we have to offer can make a difference.

The Code requires us to support the profession. As part of a community, we are strengthened by our support for each other. We can draw on both the intellectual strength of colleagues who have an expertise complementary to our own and the emotional strength of our peers who face the same challenges in living up to a challenging vocation.

The Code also requires us to be competent. We must invest in our skills. We must also know our limits and not go beyond what we know.

Our Professional Affairs Committee, led by Steve Pyke and Trevor Lewis has been reviewing the Code of Conduct to ensure it provides the best possible guide for the current time. Much of it is timeless but its value lies in how we use it in our professional lives today. After a period of consultation, the new Code was issued on 1 June 2014."


There is an abbreviated version of the Code of Conduct that is made available as a reminder and for communication purposes.

The code is mandated for professionally qualified fellows and commended to all fellows of the Society.

The registers of professionally qualified Fellows are available online for both holders of the CStat and GradStat awards.

Fellows may seek the support of the Society if they encounter situations which challenge their ability to act professionally (i.e comply with the Code of Conduct) by contacting the Director of Membership and Professional Affairs in the first instance.

If you have concerns about the professional behaviour of a fellow, believing the fellow to be in contravention of the code, please raise your concern with the Director of Membership and Professional Affairs.

The Director of Membership and Professional Affairs is Nicola Emmerson (n.emmerson@rss.org.uk).