CBS’s mission is to publish reliable and coherent statistical information that meets society’s needs. A prerequisite of this mission is that the quality of this statistical information is guaranteed, to which end CBS has set up a quality management system, based on the highest international standards. This will allow CBS to remain one of the leading statistical institutes in this respect, without imposing complex and complicated quality systems. CBS’s Quality Statement specifies the way in which these quality standards are met.
European Statistics Code of Practice - Peer review 2015
At CBS, a peer review is conducted in 2015. The peer review is a form of assessment which evaluates the independence and quality of the way in which official European statistics are compiled. The framework used for this is the European Statistics Code of Practice, which largely matches the fundamental principles for official statistics as specified by the United Nations in 1994. The peer review was conducted under the supervision of the European Statistical System (ESS), which consists of Eurostat and institutes in the EU member states responsible for the development, production and publication of European statistics. The peer review was performed by independent experts from the academic and/or statistical world, with no direct connections to the statistical institutes. The peer review team evaluated a number of self-assessment questionnaires and made a five-day visit to CBS. During this visit, they spoke to CBS employees and management, as well as various stakeholders (including customers, respondents, press representatives and the chair of the at that time CCS (Central Commission for Statistics)).
Conclusion of the peer review
The peer review conducted in 2015 concluded that the Netherlands complies with the principles of the European Statistics Code of Practice. These principles pertain to the institutional framework, statistical processes and statistical output. The conclusion was that CBS is a professional organisation with highly qualified and experienced employees who design and use innovative and cost-effective methods for the statistical programme. These methods are shared with corresponding organisations in other countries. CBS is seen as one of the leading statistical institutes, not just within Europe but also worldwide. The modern and detailed legislation in the Netherlands is viewed as a strength.. The peer review team highlighted the importance of the fact that CBS is an Autonomous Administrative Authority (ZBO) to its independent operation. Another strength is that CBS uses as much register data as possible and tries to minimise the response burden on respondents. The innovation programme, the link between CBS and universities, and the use of big data to compile statistics were also named as best practices.
Areas of concern
The peer review team identified the following areas of concern: the budget available for the programme in general and for investment in the ICT infrastructure in particular; the departure of experienced personnel due to retirement; and the re-positioning of CBS's Autonomous Administrative Authorities. Other areas for focus included improving quality management and the availability of background information, including metadata, in English.
All country reports are available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/quality/peer-reviews.