Setting out the Department for Transport’s approach to the use of administrative sources for statistical purposes.
Official statistics published by Department for Transport are based on 2 main sources – data gathered from statistical surveys, and data extracted from administrative or management systems. This statement sets out the Department for Transport’s approach to the use of administrative sources for statistical purposes, as required by Protocol 3 of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
A number of administrative sources are currently used by Department for Transport statistical teams to compile official statistics. In all cases where such sources are used, professional statisticians are involved in quality assuring the use of the data for statistical purposes.
By using data which are already available within administrative or management systems, rather than collecting data afresh, we are able to limit the overall burden placed on data providers, and also avoid the costs of mounting dedicated data collection exercises. In addition, the information we extract from such systems often has the advantage of being more timely than statistical data and, when compared with data from surveys (and particularly sample surveys), can also deliver data with a greater breadth of coverage.
Examples of our use of administrative systems include data from the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to produce Vehicle Registration and Licensing Statistics, and by taking a sample of vehicles from DVLA records to produce statistics for road freight statistics. Estimates of vehicle excise duty evasion are also produced using the administrative data held by the DVLA. We use the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Seafarer Documentation System as an input to UK Seafarer Statistics.
The UK Statistics Authority actively encourages public bodies to exploit administrative and management sources for statistical purposes. However the Authority recognises that the statistical advantages of such arrangements can only be fully realised if statisticians have appropriate access to such systems; if statistical purposes are reflected in the design, management, and development of such systems; and if adequate safeguards are put in place to ensure the professional integrity of any official statistics derived from them. The Authority‘s main requirements are set out in the third Protocol attached to their Code of Practice for Official Statistics.