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Pre-release Access to Official Statistics Act 2021

The 2007 Act

7.The 2007 Act established the Statistics Board (also known as the UK Statistics Authority) as a body corporate with general functions that include monitoring the production and publication of official statistics throughout the UK. Official statistics are defined (in section 6 of the Act) to include statistics produced by the Scottish Government and its agencies (as well as those produced by the Board itself, the UK Government and the other devolved administrations).

8.Section 10 of the 2007 Act requires the Board to prepare, adopt and publish a Code of Practice for Statistics. Section 11 prohibits the Code from dealing with any matter relating to pre-release access, but enables “the appropriate authority” to make provision, by order, for rules and principles relating to pre-release access. Such rules and principles are then to be treated as if they formed part of the Code.

9.The Scottish Ministers count as “the appropriate authority” in relation to official statistics that are “wholly Scottish devolved statistics” (section 11(6)(b)). Under the definition in section 66(1) of the 2007 Act, “Scottish devolved statistics” includes statistics that relate to devolved matters so long as they are not produced in the exercise of a function that relates to a reserved matter, together with statistics that relate to reserved matters but are produced in the exercise of a function that relates to a devolved matter; it also includes statistics produced by the Scottish Ministers in the exercise of functions devolved to them under section 63(1)(a) of the Scotland Act 1998.

10.Rules and principles made under section 11 of the 2007 Act may govern (among other things) the circumstances in which pre-release access may be granted, the persons to whom it may be granted, and the maximum duration for which it may be granted.

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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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