Commits us to publishing and maintaining a statement describing how we apply the standards set out in the Protocol.

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First published:
7 December 2017
Last updated:


Release practices protocol
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Our outputs

We publish a wide range of statistics for Wales in the following formats:

  • First releases – announcing new statistics or publications
  • Bulletins – new, often more in-depth, analyses of data already in the public domain including methodological bulletins
  • Headline statistics– key statistical points in a concise format. Headline Statistics accompany every First Release, Bulletin and Publication. ‘Standalone’ Headline Statistics are also produced to draw attention to figures published elsewhere or to publicise where StatsWales tables are used as the sole method of publication
  • StatsWales – detailed data tables are made available via the StatsWales service 
  • Interactive websites – these are used to provide more user friendly and interactive access to key statistical sources.

National Statistics

The majority of our Releases and Bulletins are National Statistics. This means they have been assessed by the UK Statistics Authority as being in full compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics. However the principles underlying the Protocol of open release practices apply to all official statistics produced by the Welsh Government.

Pricing and form of outputs

All our reports are freely available on our website for download.


In general there are established timetables for the preparation of regular quarterly and monthly First Releases and exact publication dates are given six months in advance. For other outputs, the month of publication is given six months ahead and the exact date at least four weeks ahead.

Months and dates are pre-announced on the Upcoming calendar.

Timing of Releases

All Statistical outputs are published on the website at 9.30 am on a normal working day. Publication is also announced by email to known users of the statistics and via social media.

Format of releases

The Chief Statistician at the Welsh Government is responsible for the content, timing and format of all statistical outputs. Any statement about policy made by the Welsh Ministers is issued separately. Regular First Releases are prepared to a standard format. Typically, regular Bulletins and Publications will retain a core of standard tabulations, but content may vary to reflect the needs of users and to allow proper presentation and analysis of any new or particularly interesting results.

Pre-release access to statistics

Legislation states that Welsh Ministers may have up to five working days (up to 24 hours in the case of market sensitive statistics) early access to outputs, along with their officials. The sole purpose is for Ministers to be able to respond completely when questions arise at the time of publication. We maintain a record, for public scrutiny, of Ministers and their officials who have such access to each output.

Early access to statistics can also be given to a limited number of officials in the course of quality assurance of the data. An accurate audit trail is maintained and those officials receiving unreleased material are advised of their responsibilities in respect of confidentiality.

Security markings

Prior to release, all outputs containing statistics not yet in the public domain are marked ‘OFFICIAL – SENSITIVE’. A standard statement accompanies all instances of pre-release access to statistics by Ministers and their officials stressing that they must not be forwarded to anyone else or their contents reported.’

Welsh language

Statistical outputs are produced bilingually if sufficient user need has been identified. This is in accordance with our requirements under the Welsh Language Standards and Principle 1 of the Code of Practice for Statistics on meeting user needs.