Author: CBS
CBS Multi-annual Programme 2024-2028

External developments and the need for information

Greater demand for reliable data

The demand for reliable data has increased steadily in recent years. Government organisations, enterprises and citizens alike want to know what is happening in the world, where they stand and whom and what they can trust.

Government organisations and enterprises want data to support and account for policy, management and decision-making, for which CBS statistics provide a valuable basis. Citizens require transparent, factual information. Scientists use data constantly as a basis for their research. In some cases more data are required. But, often, what is actually needed is a clear view of the available data, as people can sometimes no longer see the wood for the trees.

In accordance with European directives, CBS conducted an external consultation among its users to identify their needs and wishes for the Multi-annual Programme. In addition, the various CBS users’ councils have been actively involved in the development of the programme. CBS employees have also contributed to this new Multi-annual Programme by participating in various reflection teams. Their wishes have been included in this Multi-annual Programme (see work programme section) in order to explain the choices made within the specified financial parameters.

Greater supply of data

In addition to the growing demand for reliable data, the amount of data available in society is increasing. As digitisation accelerates, data are all around us and are increasingly detailed and real-time. Examples include social media, sensors, smart devices and the use of the internet for all kinds of applications. Citizens, enterprises and government organisations are also storing and using growing volumes of data, consciously or unconsciously.

Data opportunities and threats

Although the opportunities presented by data previously seemed endless, in recent years there have been growing concerns about ethics, privacy protection and information security. The government is also paying more attention to data and increasing the accessibility of data through government-wide initiatives. Opportunities certainly exist, but so too do concerns and threats. What information is really necessary, what information can be trusted and, above all, how well protected is the privacy of my own data? Justified concerns. Digitisation will only increase the risks of cybercrime and data incidents in the years ahead. At the same time, awareness of data, security and privacy has grown in recent years. With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation, many organisations have looked critically at the collection and exchange of data and a dialogue has now begun about the use of data.

CBS evaluation and peer review

The external evaluation of the efficiency, effectiveness and independence of CBS over the 2016-2020 period conducted by the external research firm KWINK shows that CBS is effective, that its efficiency has developed positively and that its internal governance functions well and provides sufficient safeguards. KWINK recommends increasing the transparency of the work programme, disclosing details in the work programme of statistics that were not produced, and making clear that the statistics provided as additional statistical services are also socially relevant and no less important. Recommendations were also made with regard to the development of knowledge management, IT investments, and the strengthening of the owner-client-CBS triangle. Another recommendation concerns the free capacity needed for CBS to produce and innovate new statistics on its own initiative and to produce statistics for which there is no obvious funding source or for which public sector buyers have insufficient purchasing power.

CBS was the subject of a peer review by the European Statistical System (ESS) in July 2022. The peer review focused on the extent to which the Netherlands complies with the European Statistics Code of Practice. The result was positive. The peer review team concluded that CBS has a strong focus on quality, plays an active role in the international community and is a pioneer in exploring and using new methods and data sources. The recommendations relate to the statistical process (including a comprehensive metadata system), communication (with regard to, among others, forthcoming publications and pre-release arrangements) and HR matters (including the introduction programme).

CBS takes the recommendations of the evaluation and peer review to heart and has incorporated them in this Multi-annual Programme. It has already begun to implement the recommendations.