2 April 2015
VOORBURG GROUP ON SERVICE STATISTICS
The Voorburg Group on Service Statistics was created in 1986, in response to a request from the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC), for assistance in developing service statistics. The first meeting, hosted by the Netherlands Statistical Office (CBS) was held in January of 1987 in Voorburg, from which the group derives its name.
The purpose of the Group is to address issues related to the production of services statistics, including service product outputs and inputs, the estimation of the real product of service activities, price indices of service products and industries, and their implications for product and industry classification (Central Product Classification ( CPC) and International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC)).
In 2005, the VG received a renewed mandate from the UNSC concerning its objective, focus, and scope. The objective of the VG is to establish an internationally comparable methodology for measuring the constant dollar outputs of the service industries. The focus of the VG is to develop concepts, methods, and best practices in the area of services. The scope of the VG is centered on producer price indices (PPIs) for services, turnover by products, and classifications.
The Voorburg Group has contributed over the years to building up and sharing a considerable and growing body of knowledge on Service Sector Statistics. It has promoted international cooperation in the development of standards and assisted in resolving statistical and measurement challenges in the Service Sector. The Group maintains a permanent website, currently hosted by Statistics Canada, on which all of the Group’s outputs can be found.
Participants at the last five meetings
Australia: Australian Bureau of Statistics (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Austria: Statistics Austria (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Brasil: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografica e Estatistica (2002, 2003), FundaÇão Getulio Vargas (FGV) (2014)
Canada: Statistics Canada (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Chile: National Statistical Institute (2010)
China: National Bureau of Statistics of China (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Croatia : Central Bureau of Statistics (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014)
Czech Republic: Statistical Office of the Czech Republic (2010, 2011, 2012)
Estonia: Statistics Estonia (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
Finland: Statistics Finland (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
France: Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Germany: Federal Statistical Office of Germany - Destatis (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Hungary: Central Statistical Office (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
India: Central Statistics Office, Economic Statistics Division (, 2010, 2011), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (2013, 2014)
Ireland: Central Statistics Office Ireland (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Israel: Central Bureau of Statistics (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Italy: Instituto Nazionale di Statistica (2010, 2013, 2014)
Japan: Japan Statistics Bureau (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014); Bank of Japan (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Korea (Republic of): Bank of Korea (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Latvia: Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (2012)
Malaysia: Statistics Malaysia (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Mexico: National Institute of Statistics and Geography (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Netherlands: Statistics Netherlands (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
New Zealand: Statistics New Zealand (2011, 2012)
Norway: Statistics Norway (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Poland: Central Statistics Office of Poland (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Serbia: Republic Statistical Office (2010)
Singapore: Department of Statistics (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Slovakia: Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic (2010)
Slovenia: Statistical Office of Republic of Slovenia (2010, 2011, 2014)
Spain: Instituto Nacional de Estadistica (2010)
Sweden: Statistics Sweden (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Thailand: National Statistical Office (2013, 2014)
Turkey: Turkish Statistical Institute (2010); Turkstat (2012, 2013, 2014)
United Kingdom: Office of National Statistics (, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014);
United States: Bureau of the Census (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014); Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014);
Vietnam: General Statistical Office (2010, 2011)
United Nations Statistics Division (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005)
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
European Union: European Commission (2010); Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) (2011, 2012);
The Group meets annually for a week. Previous meetings were held as follows:
1987 Voorburg, the Netherlands
1987 Stockholm, Sweden
1988 Wiesbaden, Germany
1989 Ottawa, Canada
1990 Paris, France
1991 Helsinki, Finland
1992 Williamsburg, United States of America
1993 Oslo, Norway
1994 Sydney, Australia
1995 Voorburg, the Netherlands
1996 Newport, Wales
1997 Copenhagen, Denmark
1998 Rome, Italy
1999 Christchurch, New Zealand
2000 Madrid, Spain
2001 Örebro, Sweden
2002 Nantes, France
2003 Tokyo, Japan
2004 Ottawa, Canada
2005 Helsinki, Finland
2006 Wiesbaden, Germany
2007 Seoul, South Korea
2008 Aguascalientes, Mexico
2009 Oslo, Norway
2010 Vienna, Austria
2011 Newport, Wales, U.K.
2012 Warsaw, Poland
2013 Tokyo, Japan
2014 Dublin, Ireland
2015 Sydney, Australia (forthcoming)
The next annual meeting of the Voorburg Group will be held from September 21st to September 25th, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Further details will be posted to this site as they are developed.
In the early years, the Group contributed to the development of the services areas of the two United Nations Classifications: International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities (ISIC), Rev 3 and the Central Product Classification (CPC). Subsequently, the topics considered were expanded to address services statistics more generally, including topics such as prices of service products; international trade in services; and employment, skills, and occupations in the service sector. Since 2005, in accordance with its Vision document and its renewed mandate, the Group has re-focused its work on the development of new concepts, methods, and best practices in three areas: 1) classification issues; 2) output measures; and 3) producer price indices.
Over the years, the Voorburg Group has developed a large body of knowledge and best practices on classification, turnover/output, and producer prices for a large number of service sectors. Until 2006, the subjects of the papers that are found on the Group’s permanent website were specific to one of the three areas of responsibilities of the Group. In 2006, the Voorburg Group adopted a more structured approach in terms of its work plan and proceedings and introduced a process by which new developments would first be discussed through a series of mini-presentations on specific industries covering the issues of producer prices, turnover/output, and classification. These mini-presentations are the forum where experiences and best practices from different countries are shared and discussed. The results of these discussions are then integrated into a sector paper that brings together the best practices and recommendations for the development of producer prices, turnover/output, and classification for a particular service sector.
Given the large amount of work produced before the introduction of this new approach, the Group decided in 2008 to add an activity called “revisited sector papers”, which builds upon the previously issued mini-presentations on prices (presented prior to 2006), and complete them with issues related to turnover/output and classification to the level of a “sector paper”.
Further, in 2011, it was decided that in future meetings the Group would begin revisiting selected industries in areas where the existing classifications may be getting out of date and are no longer reflecting the business and marketing structures that exist in the member countries’ economies. To that end, an activity called “updated sector papers” was assigned, with the first papers in this new series presented at the 2012 meeting.
Materials from all Voorburg Group Meetings are available at: http://www.voorburggroup.org/
Readers who are new to the work of the Voorburg Group are encouraged to refer to these documents as they complement the sector paper on a particular service industry.
Producer price indices for services
The decision was taken at the meeting held in Madrid 2000 to develop a model for presenting international practices in different services activities concerning the measurement of PPI. Principal papers have been completed and/or updated for the areas of accounting services (2001), telecommunication services (2001, 2012), legal services (2001, 2010), real estate (2001), advertising services (2002, 2004, 2010), road freight transport (2002,2006,2007), engineering services (2002), prepackaged software (2003), air passenger and freight transportation (2004, 2010), Water Transport (2010), Rail Passenger and Freight Transport Services (2010), Legal activity, auditing and tax consulting services (2004), Courier Services (2005, 2010), Labour recruitment (2005), Business and Management Consultancy (2006), Architectural Services (2006), Management Consultancy (2007), Computer Services (2007), Software Consultancy Services (2007), Wired, Wireless, Satellite and other Telecommunication Services (2008), Wholesale and General and Specialized Trade (2008), Real Estate Services (2008), Accounting, Bookkeeping and Auditing Activities and Consultancy (2008), Advertising and Market Research and Public Opinion Polling (2008), Information and Communication (2009), Banking, Finance and Insurance (2009, 2010) Rental and Leasing (2010), Transportation and Storage (2009), Tourism and Travel Services (2010), Technical Testing (2012), Maintenance and Repair of Automobiles (2012), Non-Life Insurance (2012), Waste Management/Waste Treatment (2012), Distributive Trades (2011, 2012), Warehousing (2013), Support Services for Transportation (2013), Postal Activities (2013), Software Publishing (2013), Broadcasting (2013), Specialized Design Activities (2014), Leasing of Intellectual Property (2014), Travel Agency Activities (2014), Activities of Call Centers (2014), Human Health Activities (2014).
Output / Turnover measurement
The papers in the area of output/turnover have ranged from Information and Communication (2001), General (2002), Computer Services and Related Activities (2003), Telecommunication Services (2004, 2012), Business Management and Consulting Services (2005), Transportation and Storage (2006), Computer Services and Related Activities (2007), Wholesale Trade (2008), Banking, Finance and Insurance (2009), Accommodation and Food Services (2010), Cleaning and Facilities Services (2010), Distributive Trades (2010, 2011), Wholesale Trades (2010), to Research and Development (2010), Technical Testing (2012), Maintenance and Repair of Automobiles (2012), Non-Life Insurance (2011), Waste Management/Waste Treatment (2012), Warehousing (2013), Support Services for Transportation (2013), Postal Activities (2013), Software Publishing (2013), Broadcasting (2013), Specialized Design Activities (2014), Leasing of Intellectual Property (2014), Travel Agency Activities (2014), Activities of Call Centers (2014), Human Health Activities (2014).
Principal papers in the area of classifications have included Information and Communication (2001), Miscellaneous Business Services (2002), Environmental, Cleaning and Landscaping Services (2003), Tourism and Travel Services (2004), General (2005), Transportation and Storage (2009).
Types of Papers available on the website
On the website the readers shall find three types of paper: mini-presentation papers, sector papers, and revisited papers.
The mini-presentation papers for prices, turnover, and classification present specific country’s experience or practice on a given industry or part of an industry and are used to facilitate the discussion and exchange of knowledge and expertise.
The sector papers and revisited papers are the codification of the best practices in the development of prices, turnover, and classification for a given industry. Both the revisited papers and sector papers are considered as the final outcome of the Voorburg Group’s development work for a particular sector. Note that since 2011, the Group has periodically updated previous sector papers so it is always good to consult the most recent version for a particular sector.
In order to avoid repetition in the preparation of sector papers, the Voorburg Group has also developed the following general documentations which complement the sector papers:
The thesaurus for prices methodology, which includes common terminologies for prices, so that all participating countries and international organizations can speak the same language in terms of pricing methodologies. The final version adopted at the 2007 meeting included concrete examples accompanying each of the seven pricing methods and improved definitions of each of the seven pricing methods.
The SPPI general methodology paper that includes theoretical and practical issues and key points of a cross-cutting nature for the Service Sector as a whole. These key points of a general nature are provided to enable the Group to avoid rehashing the same points when discussing specific industries.
The national accounts general methodology paper that presents key issues to be addressed by the Voorburg Group to better ascertain and document the specific service sector source data used by the national accounts to improve measures of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Glossary presents in a concise and alphabetical order the terms used in the Voorburg Group. The reader is able to read the glossary independently as an autonomous methodological source. It also achieves its basic purpose in establishing a common language between statisticians and business operators.
Reports to the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC)
How to search the website
All the papers from the previous meetings of the Voorburg Group, going back to 1987, can be accessed through our website at: http://www.voorburggroup.org/. This website has been designed and expanded to provide additional information.
One can navigate the site by clicking on different links. One can search all the papers going back to the first meeting in 1987, by clicking year, title, author, program or industry. Additionally, one can have the latest information on the upcoming meeting or previous meetings (including agenda, participants, and summary of sessions). As well, the link on General Documentation leads to the latest information on Glossary, Thesaurus, General Methodology Paper, National Account General Methodology Paper, and a Primer on Mini-presentations, Sector Papers, and Revisited Sector Papers. The year and number of papers hyperlink imparts information on the total number of papers written for an industry in a given year.
Latest news from the Voorburg Group
The 2010 meeting continued the ambitious agenda as annunciated in the 2009 conference - with the presentation and adoption of the following sectors of the economy:
For 2010, the following Industry/Industry Groups were selected for mini-presentations:
1. Accommodations and Food Services - PPI (Sweden, Ireland, and Finland) . Turnover/Output (Mexico, Japan and Ireland)
2. Distributive Trades - PPI (Australia, Canada, and U.S.)
Turnover/Output (Canada, Eurostat and Norway).
3. Cleaning and Facilities Services - PPI (Israel, Austria, Germany, and Norway)
Turnover/Output (Norway, Netherlands, and Germany)
4. Research and Development - PPI (Germany)
Turnover/Output (Norway, Germany, Netherlands, and Hungary)
A special Mini-Presentation was also included on Reference Rates and Negative Prices for Banking and Credit.
At the 2010 meeting, the following 3 sectors were covered:
1. Rail Transportation – Passenger (Germany)
2. Rail Transportation – Freight (Germany / Canada)
3. Water Transportation (Sweden)
Revisited Sector papers
The 2010 meeting also revisited the following industry groups:
1. Legal Services - (Poland / U.K.)
2. Warehouse and Storage - (Germany)
3. Courier Activities - (France / Hungary)
The 2011 meeting included the following topics:
For 2011, the following Industry/Industry Groups were selected for mini-presentations:
Technical Testing – PPI (Norway, Netherlands, and Germany); Turnover/Output (Poland, Germany, and Norway)
Non-Life Insurance – PPI (United States, Czech Republic, and Canada); Turnover/Output (Netherlands and Canada)
Waste Management/Waste Treatment – PPI (France, United States, and Korea); Turnover/Output (Sweden and United States)
Maintenance and Repair of Motor Vehicles – PPI (United Kingdom and Canada); Turnover/Output (Mexico, Japan, and Canada)
Sector Papers: The 2011 meeting included the presentation and adoption of sector papers on Banking and Credit, Reference Rates, and Negative Prices; Accommodation and Food Services; and Cleaning and Facilities Services
The 2011 meeting also included special sessions on Distributive Trades, Research and Development, Manufacturing Services, and Adjusting for Quality Change.
Beginning with the 2011 meeting, the Group began a more formal relationship with OECD with a report from the Group’s formal liaison to the OECD-Eurostat Task Force on the Revision of the Methodological Guide for Developing Services Producer Price Indices. The new Guide will make wide use of Voorburg Group outputs and numerous members of the Group also serve on the Task Force.
The 2012 meeting included the following topics:
For 2012, the following Industry/Industry Groups were selected for mini-presentation:
Commercial and Industrial Machinery Repair and Maintenance – PPI (Japan, Israel, and United States); Turnover/Output (Sweden and France)
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation Services – Turnover/Output only (Japan, Poland, Czech Republic)
Consumer and Household Goods Repair and Maintenance – Turnover/Output only (Norway, Poland)
Water Treatment and Distribution Services – PPI (France, Hungary, and Sweden); Turnover/Output (France, Poland, and Sweden)
Sector Papers: The 2012 meeting included the presentation and adoption of sector papers on Technical Testing, Maintenance and Repair of Automobiles, Non-Life Insurance (Issues Paper), and Waste Management/Waste Treatment (Issues). The 2012 meeting also included presentation and adoption of updated sector papers on Air Transport, Telecommunications, and Computer Programming.
The 2012 meeting also included special sessions on Distributive Trades (Final Report), Quality Adjustment Practices in Services Producer Price Indices, Operational Efficiency Strategies, and an update on the work of the OECD-Eurostat Task Force for the Revision of the SPPI Guide.
The 2013 Session included Sector Papers for Commercial and Industrial Machinery Repair and Maintenance, Consumer and Household Goods Repair and Maintenance, and Water Distribution Services as well as an information paper on the status of turnover and prices in the area of Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation.
New Mini-presentations were presented for Broadcasting and Programming, Software Publishing, Other Publishing Activities, Warehousing and Support Activities, and Postal Activities. The 2013 Session also included cross-cutting topics addressing Quality Change and Quality Adjustment, Linking Services Turnover/Output Prices to the National Macroeconomic Framework, Voorburg Group contributions to revisions of ISIC and the CPC, and Systems and Software Advances for Statistical Agencies. There was also an update on the remaining work of the OECD-Eurostat Task Force for the Revision of the SPPI Guide.
The 2014 Session included sector papers for the mini-presentations covered in 2013 as well as new mini-presentations for Specialized Design Activities, Leasing of Intellectual Property, Travel Agency Activities, Activities of Call Centers, and Human Health Activities.
2014 also saw cross-cutting topic discussions addressing the strengths and weaknesses of using CPIs to proxy SPPIs for various services, discussions of sectoring and price differences (e.g., B to E, B to C, and B to all), productivity in services, and electronic data collection experiences from participating countries. Finally, the new version of the OECD-Eurostat SPPI Guide was unveiled at this meeting; the new Guide became available on the OECD website in January 2015: http://www.oecd.org/std/prices-ppp/eurostat-oecd-methodological-guide-for-developing-producer-price-indices-for-services-9789264220676-en.htm.
Future Work Agenda (For 2015 and Onward)
Another ambitious agenda has been proposed for the 2015 meeting. The 2015 meeting will include the presentation and adoption of the Sector Papers from the 2014 meeting in Dublin. There will be new mini-presentations for Veterinary activities, Other reservation service and related activities, Office administrative services, Photocopying, document preparation, and other specialized office support activities, and Organization of convention and trade shows.
The 2015 meeting also will include special sessions on cross-cutting topics, including the treatment of bundles in classifications, price indices, and turnover programs as well as the issue of reselling services in ISIC and the CPC. The Group also plans to revisit its Conceptual Framework to design new ways of meeting our mandate to address the many changes that face the services sector in a dynamic world economy.
Enquiries relating to the Voorburg Group should be addressed to:
David M. FriedmanAssistant
Commissioner for Industrial Prices & Price Indexes
U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Department of Labor
2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Room 3840
Washington, D.C., 20212 -0001