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B.  Purpose and types of institutional arrangements

3.4.  The production of official statistics typically requires the participation of several agencies and, consequently, the establishment of institutional arrangements. In the area of trade in services statistics, agencies involved in the statistical process may include the national statistical office, the central bank, the ministries of trade,  the  economy and finance, tax and immigration authorities, the national tourism administration, border protection agencies, the customs administration, financial markets regulators, chambers of commerce and investment promotion bodies.

3.5.  Institutional arrangements are generally understood as a set of agreements on the division of the respective responsibilities of agencies involved in the collection, compilation and dissemination of data pertaining to a given statistical domain. Such arrangements ensure that official statistics meet the needs of users, follow quality standards and are compiled and disseminated in the most efficient way. Meeting the needs of users is especially important in such a relatively young and broad statistical domain as the statistics of international trade in services. The scope of institutional agreements can range from determining the complete process of statistical production and dissemination to regulating certain parts of that process.

3.6.  National statistical systems are organized on the basis of statistical and other applicable national laws and regulations, which, to different degrees, specify the rights and responsibilities of the agencies involved, thus defining main features of the country’s statistical system. Usually, two main types of national statistical systems are differentiated: centralized and decentralized statistical systems.[1] A national statistical system is referred to as centralized if the management and operations of the statistical programmes are predominantly the responsibility of a single autonomous government agency. A national statistical system is commonly referred to as decentralized if the statistical programmes are managed and operated under the authority of different institutions, with coordination normally provided by a single body.

3.7.  Institutional arrangements should ideally complement the legal framework (see chapter 2). Especially in cases in which the legal framework is weak, institutional arrangements can play an important role in improving it and addressing current constraints. Different types of institutional arrangements can provide equally for statistics on the international supply of services that follow internationally recognized methodological guidelines, use all available statistical sources in an efficient way and apply appropriate compilation procedures. Practical examples from countries with different statistical systems are provided at the end of the present chapter to help in setting up institutional arrangements in the most effective way.


Next: C. Characteristics of effective institutional arrangements


[1] For details see: Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics, paras. 3.33-3.39.