14.6 Salient Features Of The Statistical System Prevalent In Other Countries
14.6 Salient Features of the Statistical System Prevalent in Other Countries
It is not possible in these short summaries to convey the full extent of centralisation/decentralisation in each country. In most countries, policy-related work for Ministers tends to be decentralised, while most, but by no means all, data collection analysis and publication is centralised. Much of the information has been drawn from the Handbook of Official Statistics in ECE Member Countries, published in 1995 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Netherlands information has been updated to take account of a new Statistics Law passed in 1996. Information supplied for Spain has been taken from the 1989 Statistics Law. Information for Australia and New Zealand has been drawn from their respective 1975 Statistics Acts.
Australia The system is highly centralised. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) was established by the Statistics Act (1975). The head of ABS is appointed by the Governor General. ABS constitutes the central statistical authority for the Australian government and provides statistical services for the State governments. There is also a statistics advisory council which coordinates and advises on statistical services provided for public purposes.
Austria The Central Statistical Office (ÖSTAT), established by the Federal Statistics Act (1965), is highly centralised. It is attached to the Federal Chancellery in personnel and budgetary matters, but independent in the field of statistical methodology. The Central Statistical Commission (CSC) advises on priorities, surveys and acts as a mediator between producers and consumers of statistics
Belgium A centralised statistical service was created in 1939 by Royal Decree. A number of separate statistical activities were subsequently created, and in 1985 the National Institute of Statistics (INS) was given a coordinating role for the national statistical system rather than being a centralised office. INS is a department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The High Council of Statistics advises the INS on methods of research, and the King in the fields of regulations and obligations governing statistical work.
Canada A largely centralised system, served by the national statistical office, Statistics Canada, was established by the Statistics Acts (1970-81). Its head is the Chief Statistician of Canada, who acts as deputy to the Minister of Supply and Services. The Statistics Canada budget is authorised by Parliament on the advice of the Treasury. There is also a National Statistical Council to advise on the programmes of Statistics Canada.
Denmark Most official statistics are produced centrally by the independent Statistics Denmark (DS) whose activities are governed by the 1971 Statistics Act. There are a few exceptions; statistics on fisheries, health, environment and research and development are produced by the ministries concerned in cooperation with DS. The Director General, assisted by the Board of Directors, is responsible for the extent to which DS uses its data collection authority, decides on the work programme and approves the budget before its submission to the Minister of the Economy.
Finland Statistics Finland (SF) is an independent and relatively centralised government agency set up under the Ministry of Finance following the Act on Statistics Finland (1992). The Director general is appointed by the President of Finland and is a member of the Board, the highest decision-making body. SF is responsible for the compilation of most official statistics, although several other government agencies compile statistics in their fields. SF is independent in its professional activities and may freely decide on the publication of its results and contents of its publications.
France The French system of official statistics is relatively decentralised, with statistical services in several ministries and many public or semi-public agencies. The central agency, the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), set up by Act of Parliament (1946), has a coordinating function. The National Council of Statistical Information (CNIS), chaired by the Minister of Economic Affairs, ensures consultation between producers and users of official statistical information, advises on different aspects of statistical activities and reports on its functions.
Germany Official statistics in Germany are predominately federal, with statistical work concentrated in the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) and the Land Statistical Offices (LSO). The FSO’s authority comes from the Act on Statistics for Federal Purposes (revised 1987). Some statistics are produced by other agencies. The President of the FSO is Chairman of an advisory committee, which advises the FSO on fundamental questions of statistics. The FSO is independent in methodological and scientific matters.
Greece Following the Statistics Law of 1956, the Greek statistical system is centralised with almost all major government statistical work conducted at the General Secretariat of the National Statistical Service of Greece (NSSG). The NSSG is an independent agency reporting to the Minister of National Economy, who decides on the work programme of the NSSG, either alone or with other ministers. The implementation of the work programme is the responsibility of NSSG.
Ireland The Central Statistical Office (CSO) is responsible for the collection, compilation, processing and dissemination of most statistics. There is no regional or functional decentralisation. Authority comes from the 1993 Statistics Act. The CSO is attached to the Department of the Taoiseach, but has independence in the statistical methodology and professional statistical standards used, the content of statistical releases and publications and the timing and methods of dissemination used. There is a National Statistics Board, which guides, with the agreement of the Taoiseach, the strategic direction of the Office and in particular establishes priorities.
Italy The criteria and guiding principles of the Italian statistical service were legally revised in 1988. Official statistics in Italy are largely decentralised. The National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), has overall coordination of the National Statistical System (SISTAN). The budget of ISTAT is approved by the Cabinet Office, but it is legally and administratively autonomous. The Commission for the Protection of Statistical Information monitors the impartiality and comprehensiveness of statistical work, the quality of statistical methods and data-processing techniques, and compliance with EU and international directives.
Luxembourg The Central Service for Statistics and Economic Studies (STATEC) was set up by an Act of 1962 as part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Under basic law, STATEC is the only body competent to carry out or authorize statistical enquiries, it also has to coordinate from a technical point of view the statistical information provided by other organisations. A High Council of Statistics, established by an Act of 1971, advises on the annual programme of STATEC.
Netherlands The Dutch system of official statistics is completely centralised at the national level, with nearly all information compiled and published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). The 1996 Statistics Law, superseding the Royal Decree of 1899, provides the legal basis. The CBS is the responsibility of the Minister for Economic Affairs, but is completely independent in its statistical activities. The Director General prepares a work programme for approval by the Central Commission of Statistics, whose members are appointed by Royal Decree. Implementation of the programme is the sole responsibility of the Director General of the CBS.
New Zealand The Department of Statistics established by the Statistics Act (1975) is under the direction of the Government Statistician appointed by the Minister of Statistics. The department is responsible for the collection and preparation of official statistics and for the coordination of statistical projects carried out by other departments of State.
Norway Norway has a centralised system of official statistics run by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) set up by the Statistical Act of 1907, revised in 1989. The Bureau is headed by a Board and a Director General. The Board decides the work programme, draft budget and annual report proposed by the Director-General and places these before the Ministry. The budget is approved by Parliament. There is no Statistical Commission to advise the Director. The CBS is an independent government agency, subordinate to the Ministry of Finance in budgetary matters only.
Portugal The national statistical system (SEN) consists of the Higher Statistical Council (CSE) and the National Statistical Institute (INE), and was established by the 1989 Statistics Law. The INE has the exclusive responsibility for collecting, processing, coordinating and disseminating statistical data, however it may delegate these functions to other public organisations. The INE belongs to the Ministry of Equipment, Planning and Territorial Administration, but constitutes an autonomous body. The Minister approves the work programme in accordance with general guidelines issued by the CSE.
Spain The Spanish system of official statistics is underpinned by the 1989 Statistics Law. The National Institute for Statistics (INE) is at the heart of the system, coordinating activities with the statistics departments of individual ministries and regional authorities. It is an autonomous agency attached to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. INE formulates, in cooperation with decentralised parts of the system, the draft National Statistical Plan. The Higher Statistical Council, chaired by the Minister and comprising a representative range of users and suppliers, gives a binding opinion on the draft plan.
Sweden Swedish official statistics are decentralised, with each government agency having responsibility for statistics relating to its area of interest. The central agency, Statistics Sweden (SCB) has a coordinating role. Production of official statistics is regulated by a general statistics act from 1992. The Scientific Council has a consultative function for SCB and is responsible for certain projects and there are other committees specific to particular areas.