Publishing Official Statistics


Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) was named as an Official Statistics producer in the Official Statistics Amendment (Scotland) Order 2019 which came into force on 21 December 2019. Official statistics producers adhere to the Code of Practice for Statistics as well as the standards of the Pre-release Access Order for their administration. Applying the standards for the Code of Practice for Statistics provides strong reassurance to users that they can have confidence in official statistics - in their trustworthiness, quality, and value.

Pre-announcing official statistics

The Code of Practice for Statistics requires that the release of official statistics be announced in advance. SQA's statistical publication schedule  details the 12-month release calendar for statistical publications, with a specific release date provided at least four weeks in advance of publication where practicable.

The standard release time for official statistics releases is 09:30am on a weekday.

Pre-release of official statistics

Pre-release access is the term used to describe the privileged access to official statistics releases in their final form prior to being made available in the public domain, for specific purposes. Access must be justified, controlled, publicised and compliant with statutory rules as set out in the Parliamentary Order.

Pre-release access to SQA's official statistics publications is limited to the minimum number of eligible people necessary, primarily to:

SQA publishes job titles and organisations of everyone who has been granted pre-release access, alongside the statistical releases.

Pre-release access to SQA's official statistics is restricted to a maximum of five working days prior to publication. The people who are given pre-release access to official statistics must keep the statistics secure and under embargo until their release and they must abide by certain conditions of access.

In the instance of any breaches to conditions of pre-release access, the Head of Profession for Statistics (Head of Data and Analytics) will follow the guidance on reporting concerns under the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Rounding and confidentiality

Statistical disclosure control is used so that the risk of disclosing confidential information is reduced to an acceptable level. This means that:

SQA adopts a standard approach of suppression and rounding of data for statistical disclosure control in most of their statistical publications. Suppressed figures are marked up with the shorthand [c] and unless stated otherwise, the approach is as follows:

Revisions and corrections

The revisions and corrections policy sets out the principles and procedures that will be used by the SQA when revisions and/or corrections are required for statistical publications on the SQA website.

User Engagement

SQA aims to hold user consultation before making any major updates to statistical publications where practicable to do so and, on occasion, undertake user consultation to better understand how our statistics are used and how we can better meet user needs. The decision to consult with users is solely on the authority of SQA's Head of Profession for Statistics (Head of Data and Analytics).

In addition to formal consultations, SQA welcomes and invites feedback and comments from users on each of our statistical publications, and as a result, hope to gain insight into ways of enhancing and/or improving publications to better meet user needs.

Previous consultations:

Contact the team