https://dfidnews.blog.gov.uk/2019/01/05/dfid-use-of-statistics/

DFID use of statistics

Today’s copy (5 January) of The Times reports that the UK has ‘lied’ about ending poverty for millions of people in the poorest countries.

The headline is unfair and the story does not reflect DFID’s full statement. DFID does not accept it has lied about estimated results and is committed to the highest standards of transparency.

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) regulates all government statistics and like all departments, DFID is subject to OSR’s programme of formal assessments and regular reviews. All results are quality assured by departmental statisticians and then published in line with guidance from OSR’s Code of Practice for Statistics.

The nature of DFID’s work, especially in conflict states such as Syria, can make obtaining accurate information on the impact of our programmes extremely difficult in some cases. Where we publish estimated results, these are based on the best possible information available at the time – should better information become available, our estimates are revised. This approach is standard across the statistics sector.

This is the full quote we gave to The Times, only a small part of which they used:

A DFID spokesperson said:

“The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) regulates all government statistics and like all departments, DFID is subject to OSR’s programme of formal assessments and regular reviews. All results are quality assured by departmental statisticians and then published in line with guidance from OSR’s Code of Practice for Statistics.

“OSR formally assessed DFID’s statistics in 2015, which included the 2012/13 annual report, and made no further recommendations.

“Where we publish results estimates, these are based on the best possible information available at that point in the year. Following best statistical practice, when better information become available results estimates are revised.”

As we have always been clear, the statistic The Times refer to on reducing the number of people in poverty is about providing the means to help support people work their way out of poverty.

Details of all of our programmes are publicly available on our Development Tracker, and we also provide a number of results and expected results from our programmes elsewhere on gov.uk. We are open about where the information our expected results are based on comes from.

DFID works with and learns from a number of third-party bodies including the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, the National Audit Office and The Office for Statistics Regulation to improve the quality, depth and range of statistics that we make publicly available.

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