Codes of Practice

National Statistics Designation

LDSS is a National Statistics  provider.  Following an assessment, the UK Statistics Authority has designated LDSS statistics as National Statistics on the basis of a clear description of the current limitations of the learning disability statistics, and subject to the proposed data collection and methods improvements being implemented from 2016. National Statistics status means that the statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value.

Lorne Berkley (Evidence & Policy Manager) and Ruth Callander (Evidence & Research Officer) have access to the statistics within SCLD before they are published.

Data Quality

The LDSS team has produced a document that considers data quality implications for specific data items within LDSS outputs. This document is available here.

LDSS publishes a list of titles of all the quantitative information systems which are in operational use throughout the production of the statistics and an outline of how changes to administrative systems may impact on the statistics. This statement is available here.

In response to a recommendation of the report by the UK Statistics Authority assessing the compliance of the statistics on adults with learning disabilities known to local authorities in Scotland with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics, we commissioned the Office for National Statistics Methodology Advisory Service (ONS MAS) to carry out a feasibility study on the possibility of imputing for missing data within the LDSS dataset. The report found that imputation was not the best method of improving the quality of the data LDSS collects and working with our data providers to reduce the levels of unknown data within the dataset would be more effective.

In early 2016 a national approach to scope a weighting methodology to reduce the impact of non-response bias on the data was undertaken by the Methodology Advisory Service from the Office for National Statistics funded by the Quality Improvement Fund. This study found that the use of a weighting schema to tackle non-response bias and differential missingness would not be appropriate for short-term time series analysis. The ability to analyse LDSS data over longer periods of time and between years is of value however and further work to determine a methodology capable of doing this is ongoing. Once scoped, time series analysis will be re-introduced to this publication and guidance will be included to aid users’ understanding of the outputs. This report can be found here


The LDSS team is impartial and is not subject to any political pressures that might influence the production or presentation of the statistics.  For more information on the structure of the LDSS team, and how we respond to misrepresentation or misuse of the statistics, please see here.

Proportionate Burden

The LDSS team has to make sure that the burden on local authorities of supplying the data about adults with learning disabilities is not excessive and that the benefits of the statistics outweigh the burden. In 2013 the LDSS team asked local authorities to estimate how long it took them to collect the data and how much they thought it cost.  13 local authorities responded to our request.  Not all local authorities were able to tell us how long it took or how much it cost.  However, some local authorities did tell us.  The cost ranged from £600 a year to £3318 a year, with the average cost being £1638. The time it took to collate the data ranged from 20 hours to 200 hours.  This will depend on the size of the local authority, the Management Information System used and the links with other agencies which are in place.  Local authorities told us that it can be time consuming to collate the data but that the output is very valuable to them for service planning and delivery and for keeping an up-to-date set of records on adults with learning disabilities.

Pre-Release Access to the Statistics

LDSS allows pre-release access to the statistics to people who will need to comment publicly on the statistics when they are released. This is to make sure they are able to understand the statistics and what they tell us before they make any comment. These people have to follow a set of rules called the “Pre-Release Access Order” . You can read about these rules here.

Please see a list of organisations and individuals who have had pre-release access to the statistics here.


The LDSS team have developed a Data Sharing Impact Assessment (DPIA)

This paper tells you how we keep personal details, such as names and addresses, private. You can read the DPIA paper here.

LDSS have written a fair processing notice to make people aware that we will safely store data and protect confidentiality.

You can read the fair processing notice here.

There are also Privacy Impact Statements relating to specific pieces of work. If you would like to see these, please contact a member of the LDSS team.

If you have any other questions about how information is used and privacy is protected in the LDSS project, please contact a member of the LDSS team.