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ISD Scotland better information, better decisions, better health

About ISD

About Our Statistics

NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland

About Our Statistics

As a recognised producer of Official Statistics in Scotland, ISD works to the Code of Practice for Official Statistics which is maintained by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA). Our Official Statistics publications are regularly assessed by the UK Statistics Authority and are designated to have complied with the Code of Practice. UKSA assessment reports on ISD publications are available on their website. We pride ourselves in meeting our obligations under the code for objectivity, integrity and transparency.

Our Publications

The dates of all forthcoming ISD Official Statistics publications are pre-announced on our website in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Official Statistics publications are released as soon as possible after data is available for release. This means we can make the most up to date health information available to our users, as well as being in line with the Code of Practice. We also 'group' publications as this allows us to better manage the publishing process.  Overall, the number of publications and the amount of health data released has increased in recent years which means that there can be times when there is a large number of releases in one day.

We consult users of our statistics and always welcome feedback to help improve what we do. We appreciate that our publications contain complex information and we always welcome the opportunity to provide clarification.  If you have any questions about our publications, you can contact the staff listed in the publication or contact NSS Product Support on 0131 275 7050 or  .

Official Statistics

The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 created the UK Statistics Authority and empowered it to determine, and assess compliance with, the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. ISD is designated by legislation as a producer of Official Statistics and is obliged to adhere to the Code of Practice and relevant legislation.

Official Statistics are defined as "all those statistical outputs produced by the UK Statistics Authority's executive office (the Office for National Statistics), by central Government departments and agencies, by the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and by other Crown bodies (over 200 bodies in total)." For further information on Official Statistics, see below and also the UK Statistics Authority's website.

Not all ISD publications fall under the Official Statistics banner. Where possible and appropriate, ISD will endeavour to treat such publications in the same manner as Official Statistics publications and for example, provide pre-announcement of publication dates.

Compliance with the code allows official figures and statistical publications to carry the 'National Statistics' label and give recognition that our statistics meet the needs of users, are methodologically sound and of assured quality, politically independent and have been produced and explained to high standards.

The UK Statistics Authority commenced their assessment of ISD's publication against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics in January 2010. The reports for all the assessments to date are published by the UKSA.

We are delighted that the UKSA confirm that, subject to meeting a small number of requirements, all publications to date have been designated with the "National Statistics" kite mark. This demonstrates that the statistics meet the standards set out in the UKSA's Code of Practice for Official Statistics - key principles of the Code of Practice include user engagement, assured quality and support to interpretation of the statistics. We feel that these positive assessments are due in part to close working between ISD and the users of statistics in NHS Boards, Scottish Government and elsewhere; and not least to the efforts of everyone, particularly those staff in NHS Boards, who supply data to the national databases.

Following a story on the 6 March 2017 in the Herald newspaper about Chronic Pain waiting times, Scott Heald, Head of Profession for Statistics wrote to the editor on the 7 March 2017, to advise that the story was inaccurate. A copy of the letter is here. If you have any questions about the collection and reporting of waiting times please contact us at:

The Office for Statistics Regulations received a complaint from a user of the ISD Chronic Pain Waiting Statistics. These are not Official Statistics due to data quality issues and the current developmental work that ISD is engaged in with NHS Boards to make improvements to the quality of data they collect, record and submit to ISD. Following an investigation, UKSA's Office for Statistics Regulation wrote to the complainant and published a letter Download PDF file. Scott Heald, Head of Profession for Statistics in NHS National Services Scotland responded to the letter which is published here.


ISD is subject to both the UK Statistics Authority Code of Practice and Scottish legislation in terms of publication of information. In order to meet our obligations under the code of practice ISD provides:

More information on Official Statistics

The UK Statistics Authority's statutory objective is to promote and safeguard the production and publication of official statistics. The following can be found on the Authority's website:

The National Statistics Publications Hub is a gateway to UK National Statistics. All ISD National Statistics and non-National Statistics can be found on this website.

'National Statistics' are a subset of official statistics which have been certified by the UK Statistics Authority as compliant with its Code of Practice for Official Statistics. The label currently comprise three basic types:

  • legacy 'National Statistics' - those statistical products which obtained their designation as 'National Statistics' before April 2008, in accordance with the arrangements set out in the 'Framework for National Statistics' (2000) and which have retained their status, but which have not yet been formally re-assessed by the UK Statistics Authority for compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. The Assessment Programme began in November 2008.
  • re-assessed 'National Statistics' - any statistical product which has retained its National Statistics status after a formal re-assessment by the Statistics Authority of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
  • new 'National Statistics' - any statistical product which has been proposed by ministers as a candidate 'National Statistics' which has been subject to its first formal assessment by the UK Statistics Authority and which, as a result, has been granted accreditation by the Statistics Authority.

Accredited 'National Statistics' are identified by the following quality mark:

National Statistics

UK and International Statistics

ISD regularly contributes to a range of UK and International Statistics Download pdf file [67kb]. This link provides a summary and links to UK and international reports, for example 'UK Health Statistics'.

Role of the Head of Profession for Statistics

The key purpose of the 'Head of Profession for Statistics' role is to:

  • Oversee the professional statistical functions of NSS, Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS24, leading professional statistical planning and the formulation of statistical policy. Accountable for setting goals and standards for these organisations, safeguarding the professional integrity of the statistics produced and for interpreting and implementing the provisions set out in statistical legislation. 

Role of the ISD Statistical Governance Team

The ISD Statistical Governance Team provides support to the Head of Profession (Scott Heald) and wider NSS/NHS24/SAS on matters relating to the Statistics Code of Practice, UK and International Statistics and reference data (relating to population, geography and deprivation).

These key areas of responsibility are outlined below:

  • Adherence to the UK Statistics Code of practice
    The team plays a key role in supporting the Head of Profession in delivering the governance role relating to the Statistics Code of Practice, and a support role to teams involved in the production of official statistics.
  • UK and International Statistics
    The team leads and/or co-ordinates NSS’s responses to UK and International Compendia (liaising with NHS24 and SAS if appropriate). 
  • Reference data and Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics
    The team leads the maintenance and development of reference data relating to geographical, population and deprivation information ( and provides oversight of PHI’s contributions to Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics. 

Contact Details

Statistical Governance Team

Richmond Davies
Service Manager
Tel: 0131 275 6195

Jill Ireland
Principal Information Analyst
Tel: 0131 275 7253

Cathy Johnston
Senior Information Analyst
Tel: 0131 275 6426

Tina Fu
Senior Information Analyst
Tel: 0141 300 6935

Roisin Farrell
Information Analyst
Tel: 0131 314 1029

Sadia Ahmed
Information Analyst
Tel: 0131 275 7145

© ISD Scotland 2010
Information Services Division,
NHS National Services Scotland,
Gyle Square,
1 South Gyle Crescent,
Edinburgh EH12 9EB,
Tel: 0131 275 7050  
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