The report also shows a low level of trust in those presenting statistics in the public domain. Just a quarter (25%) of respondents agreed that the government presents official figures honestly when discussing its policies, with only 17% agreeing that newspapers did so. This concurs with research commissioned by the RSS 18 months ago (and presented at this meeting) which also identified a lack of public confidence in politicians using official statistics accurately (only 7% felt they did so).
The report shows a high level of trust in the UK's Office for National Statistics however, with 68% of the survey's 1,907 respondents saying they trusted the ONS. And among those who had heard of ONS, 82% said they trusted it. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to compare these figures with previously conducted surveys by NatCen as the survey questions have been changed to be in line with other surveys conducted internationally.
Mike Hughes, who chairs the Royal Statistical Society's National Statistics Advisory Group, said: ‘These latest results support the RSS's stated position that pre-release access should be curtailed. This would go a long way to reassure the public that ministers and public officials are handling data with integrity.’