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Pre-release Access to Official Statistics Act 2021

The Act

3.The purpose of the Act is to further restrict what is known as “pre-release access” to official statistics. Pre-release access is where certain persons, in particular Ministers, are given access to official statistics in their final form in advance of publication. The Act’s restrictions on pre-release access are limited to official statistics on Scotland’s gross domestic product (GDP) and retail sales, and to other economic statistics; it does not affect other, non-economic, official statistics.

4.The Act achieves this purpose by adding a new section 11A into the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 to restrict the provision about pre-release access that the Scottish Ministers may make (using their powers under section 11 of that Act). It also amends the existing order (made in 2008, in exercise of those section 11 powers)(1). In relation to certain economic statistics, the effect is to restrict, permanently, the maximum period of pre-release access that may normally be granted to one working day. In relation to statistics on GDP and retail sales, the effect is first to restrict the maximum period to one working day, then to reduce it to four hours and finally to remove it altogether, but with this reduction and removal subject to an independent review.

5.The Act consists of five sections. Section 1 amends the 2007 Act; section 2 amends the order made (in 2008) under that Act; section 3 provides for the review; and sections 4 and 5 deal with commencement and the Act’s short title.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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