As I write this, the COVID-19 pandemic has left its mark and there is uncertainty about possible resurgences of the COVID virus. The war in Ukraine has dragged on for months, there are major concerns about energy supplies and inflation has surged to new highs. These major changes and uncertainties make dependable statistics essential. That demands greater flexibility on the part of CBS so that we can provide fast, reliable information that explains what is happening around us and what the impacts are. In this way, we can provide a policy and implementation framework in which measures can be developed to meet the challenges.
It is against this background that CBS has considered its plans for 2024-2028, a period which still seems a long way off and which, now at least, looks unclear. Fortunately, we have been able to base our plans partly on the views of many parties around us, including the ministries, public policy and research institutes and major data suppliers. They have provided us with themes which they expect to be relevant in the planning period and for which no or insufficient statistical information is currently available. Statistical contributions are required particularly on those themes and we are immensely grateful for their input. I would also like to thank my CBS colleagues, many of whom contributed ideas and input for the creation of this Multi-annual Programme 2024-2028, which charts the course for CBS over the planning period.
Partly on the basis of the external and internal consultations, CBS has adopted three strategic objectives for the planning period:
- CBS aims to become more flexible in order to make statistical contributions to meet a number of major societal challenges such as housing, subversive crime, climate and sustainability. We will place these societal challenges at the centre of our programming. We aim to enter into data alliances with other operators to manage information on specific themes as fully and clearly as possible. How we will do this is set out in our annual plans. We will then have the flexibility to respond to events as they arise.
- We will increase the accessibility and hence use of our data. To this end, we are improving our services via Remote Access and StatLine/open data. We will also enable others to use or learn to use data effectively and, where necessary, we will seek access to new data sources ourselves in order to guarantee the quality of statistics in the future.
- We will maintain our high quality, which underpins our reliability. In order to maintain our leading position and prepare our organisation for the future, we will invest in our staff, processes and IT in the forthcoming planning period. Where possible and necessary, we will accelerate the provision of statistical information. Given the increase in digitisation and cybercrime, maintaining the security of our data is essential. In performing its tasks, CBS aims to excel in the protection of personal data and the security of its information. That is our “licence to operate”.
By focusing on the three strategic objectives, CBS makes choices and thus creates agility and flexibility. Constant innovation and continuous improvement of our processes, our organisation and our employees are essential in this regard. That is a challenge, but we are convinced that these choices will help ensure that the Netherlands can continue to count on reliable, relevant and factual information in the future.