Standardisation of Methods and Integration in the European Statistical System
Katalin Szép1, Ildikό Szücs1, Wim Kloek2
1Department of Research and Methodology, Hungarian Statistical Office, Budapest, Hungary; 2Methodology and Research, Eurostat, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Standardisation is a strategic response of the statistical system to both budget cuts and the necessity to improve the comparability of statistics over statistical domains and over countries. Standardisation is not a goal in itself; it facilitates the integration of processes. Only the broad implementation in statistical production processes across countries can produce the potential benefits: efficiency, quality, flexibility and return on investment.

Standardisation should allow for different levels of standards. On methodological issues strict norms are usually without much content; common guidelines is the more usual approach, where non-compliance with the guidelines requires a justification. The objectives mentioned above will not be met by setting standards, but by implementation of standards and by further integration of processes and more efficient interoperability between countries.

The standardisation initiative in the European Statistical System focuses on methodological standards. Other essential standards, for instance on formats and on classifications, are already quite well developed. Methodological standards are usually documented in handbooks and guidelines. The first relevant question is whether such international methodological standards are used in the national statistical institutes. The next question is why are some standards implemented and others not? Elements of the answer will be:

– Common understanding;

– Supporting IT-tools;

– Supporting training activities;

– Organisation of the maintenance.

In the paper we will analyse some examples.

The general approach to systematically search for potential standardisation projects is to go through the statistical production process. For some specific statistical domains (price statistics, national accounts) something has to be done in addition; this is beyond the current scope. This produces a list of potential standardisation projects. The question is how to select the proposals that will contribute most to the ultimate objectives of quality and efficiency? In the paper SWOT-analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) will be used to compare some standardisation projects.

Keywords: Standardisation; Integration; Statistical; Methods

Biography: Ms Ildikό Szücs works at the Hungarian Statistical Office.