Statistics policy

All Commons Briefing Papers
30 Documents
26.07.2016Chart style guide
This guide and sets out some best practice principles for statistical charts and conventions used by the statistics section of the House of Commons Library
26.07.2016Tables style guide
This guide and sets out some principles and conventions for table layout and format. As used by the Social & General Statistics section of the House of Commons Library
10.03.2015Understanding statistics on employment, unemployment and earnings
This note explains the meaning of different concepts within labour market statistics and identifies the key measures and sources to use.
01.03.2013Social Indicators
A compendium of the latest social statistics. This edition includes articles on: Why has crime fallen around the world?; International Year of Statistics.
01.03.2013International Year of Statistics: Social Indicators article
A brief article on Statistics2013 - the International Year of Statistics. This is an article in the March 2013 edition of the Social Indicators research paper.
27.04.2012Measuring well-being
How is measurement of well-being or "happiness" being investigated in the UK to complement more traditional measures of progress?
11.08.2010Unemployment by Constituency: changes to working-age rates
From August 2010, the ONS has switched from using the 'working-age' population to using the whole population aged 16 to 64 as the basis upon which a variety of headline labour market statistical indicators are presented. This note provides details on the change and looks at its effect on the Library's JSA claimant rate.
29.07.2010How to spot spin and inappropriate use of statistics
Statistics can be misused, spun or used inappropriately in many different ways. This is not always done consciously or intentionally and the resulting facts or analysis are not necessarily wrong. They may, however, present a partial or overly simplistic picture. This guide details some common ways in which statistics are used inappropriately or spun and some tips to help spot this. The tips are given in detail at the end, but the three essential questions to ask yourself when looking at statistics are -Compared to what? -Since when? -Says who?
11.01.2010How to understand and calculate percentages
08.12.2009The UK system of official statistics
03.12.2009Indicators of hospital performance published by the Care Quality Commission and Dr. Foster Research
This note examines measures of hospital standards and patient safety published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Dr. Foster Research Limited and critically appraises the methodology underpinning their assessments. Concerns have been raised about the lack of consistency between the CQC and Dr. Foster ratings; in the final section, a comparison is made between the two, and some explanations for the discrepancies are offered.
29.07.2009Parliamentary Trends: Statistics about Parliament
This paper provides a summary of statistics about Parliament. It brings together figures about both the House of Commons and Lords; their membership and activities. The aim is to provide comparisons over time, though periods may vary according to relevance and the availability of consistent data. Some are for parliamentary sessions (a parliamentary session begins each year with the Queen's Speech) some by calendar year and some by financial year. This should be borne in mind when comparing different sets of information.
02.06.2009Confidence intervals and statistical significance
This guide outlines the related concepts of confidence intervals and statistical significance and gives examples of the standard way that both are calculated or tested.
20.05.2009Uncertainty and risk
This guide gives a general overview of the concepts of uncertainty and risk, highlights their connection to other aspects of statistical literacy and looks at the communication and understanding of risk.
05.03.2009Statistics Literacy guide -Basic outline of regression analysis
Social scientists are often interested in analysing whether a relationship exists between two variables in a population. For instance, is greater corruption control associated with higher GDP per capita? Does increased per capita health expenditure lead to lower rates of infant mortality? Statistics can give us information about the strength of association, this can sometimes help in deciding if there is a causal relationship, but they are not sufficient to establish this on their own.
11.02.2009Statistical Literacy Guide -How to adjust for inflation
This note uses worked examples to show how to express sums of money taking into account the effect of inflation. It also provides background on how three popular measures of inflation (the GDP deflator, the Consumer Price Index, and the Retail Price Index) are calculated.
23.01.2009What is a billion? And other units
Is there a UK defintion of a billion? What is a trillion? How much power is there in a gigawatt?
22.01.2009Statistical Literacy Guide
This guide is a compilation of notes on individual subjects produced by the Social & General Statistics Section of the Library. Its aim is to help MPs and their staff better understand statistics that are used in press stories, research, debates, news releases, reports, books etc.
14.01.2009Social Indicators
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include crime and justice, defence, education, elections, health and population. This edition of Social Indicators includes an article from the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, Washington , D.C.. This edition includes: Social background of the United States Congress 2009 Local authority finance in a recession 2011 UK Census of Population Underage drinking Excess winter mortality
24.04.2008Social Indicators
Social Indicators. [Includes articles on 'Gambling in New South Wales, Australia' and 'A new era for UK official statistics: the launch of the UK Statistics Authority, and Topical Subject Pages on world food prices, the weather in 2007 and excess winter mortality.] House of Commons Library Research Paper 08/37.
10.10.2007Social Indicators
Social Indicators. [Includes articles on Independence for Official Statistics, Greenhouse Gases, and Clostridium Difficile, and a Topical Subject Page on Teenage Pregnancy] House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/70.
20.09.2007How to understand index numbers
20.09.2007A basic outline of samples and sampling
20.09.2007Rounding and significant places
Guidance on different ways to round numbers
20.09.2007Measures of average and spread
A common way of summarising figures is to present an average. Suppose, for example, we wanted to look at incomes in the UK the most obvious summary measurement to use would be average income. Another indicator which might be of use is one which showed the spread or variation in individual incomes. Two countries might have similar average incomes, but the distribution around their average might be very different and it could be useful to have a measure which quantifies this difference.
20.08.2007Chair of the Statistics Board
09.03.2007The Statistics and Registration Service Bill, Committee Stage Report
The Statistics and Registration Service Bill, Committee Stage Report. House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/25
15.12.2006Statistics and Registration Service Bill (Bill 8 2006-07)
The Statistics and Registration Service Bill (Bill 8 2006-07). House of Commons Library Research Paper 06/66.
16.09.2003Social indicators
Social indicators. (Includes article on Changes in police crime recording practices and topical subject pages on climate change and football disorder). House of Commons Library Research Paper 03/71.
10.04.2002Social indicators
Social indicators. (Includes articles on Railways across Europe, Private medical insurance and Sources of election statistics). House of Commons Library Research Paper 02/22.