International Seminar on Modernizing Official Statistics: Meeting Productivity and Data Challenges

International Seminar on Modernizing Official Statistics:
Meeting Productivity and Data Challenges
Tianjin, China, 24-26 October 2013
Modernization of Management and
Structure of Statistical Organization
(Session 2)
Stefan Schweinfest
Acting Director, United Nations Statistics Division
“Never has so much been expected from
statistics; never have statisticians had
such means at their disposal; and never
has there been so much willingness to
learn from each other and standardize
internationally the outcomes of that
Handbook of Statistical Organization, Third Edition, 2003
The Operation and Organization of a Statistical Agency
Institutional Set up Today
Centralised systems
Decentralised systems
• As administrative data is increasingly used for
statistical purposes, more work is undertaken outside
of NSOs
• Even in these systems, there is always a central
statistical agency
• Tendency to improve coordination to improve
reliability and cohesion of statistical system
• Recent trend is for these two approaches to be
coming together
• Not the issue anymore but we need to:
Why Modernizing the Official Statistics?
• Huge volume of data become available – IT revolution
• New methods and technologies provide opportunities for
significant efficiency savings
• Integration of statistical and geospatial information gains
• Users want MORE: more data, more detail, more rapidly,
more access
• New measures e.g. wellbeing
• Instant web access
Competition by the Private Sector
Private sector understands the value of data
• Google
• Store cards
• Credit agencies
Could they provide alternatives/complements to
official statistics?
The Official Statistics has to react to the new realities or
it will risk losing its relevance
Addressing increasing demand:
Restructuring of the NSOs?
All reorganizations should accomplish the
• Create new ideas
• Lead to efficiency gains
• Improve the organization’s focus on strategic
However, an organizational restructuring is not
necessary to achieve these goals in many
How to Modernize?
Modernization of products
Modernization of production processes
Modernization of organizational and human
resources dimensions
Detailed and integrated datasets; geocoded data
Available more rapidly
Combination of various data sources
Data solutions created by the users
• Use of new devices for data collection
• Use of SDMX to facilitate the integration of IT systems
• Use of common generic business processes across all
statistical domains
• Organization to adapt to the new data environment
• Staff to be trained and equipped with relevant new
The larger picture: from NSO to NSS:
Improving Coordination
As demand for data increases, consistency
across data sources becomes more important
(quality assurance framework)
Improved efficiency can result from sharing
infrastructure across statistical agencies within
a National Statistical System
NSOs Driving the Modernization
Leadership, vision, strategy
Adequate Statistical Legislation
Improved structure and coordination – vertical
and horizontal
Rethought business processes along which
data are produced and disseminated
Modernized resource management – human,
financial and IT resources
• Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics endorsed
by the ECOSOC and General Assembly provide a
strong foundation of NSOs
upgrade computers – upgrade human skills
To do list
• Differentiate between needs and “wants” and
focus on needs
• Review relevance of existing data vs. user
• Pilot test new statistical collections
• Explore new partnerships
• Find new/sustainable funding sources in order to
increase statistical dissemination capacity of
Key points
• National Statistical Offices should modernize to
• Modernization is not only IT related
• Modernization is strategic – to define the future of
Official Statistics
Thank You!
Stefan Schweinfest
Acting Director
UN Statistics Division