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B.5.  Governance of a statistical business register

5.19.        Governance and organizational structure is very important, not only for developing the SBR programme itself, but even more so for the ongoing maintenance of the SBR and support for its users. An SBR should be, where possible, an independent entity with a dedicated manager. It is  good practice for the manager’s unit to assume the following responsibilities:

(a) Defining and documenting all concepts, in line with the standards of international, national and local statistical offices;

(b) Planning and directing the development of SBR system processes and functionalities;

(c) Planning and implementing a quality assurance program for the SBR with the goal of:

(i) Assessing quality and ensuring the frame’s continued integrity;

(ii) Defining and producing quality measurements for the SBR;

(iii) Identifying system improvements, or recommending adjustments to the training programme or procedures, if required;

(d) Profiling businesses to delineate those that are larger and more complex, to properly represent their production output;

(e) Ensuring that businesses are classified within the proper standard industry classification;

(f) Assigning or deriving statistical indicators, or creating statistical units, from administrative registers to create a complete and unduplicated SBR aligned with the needs of the system of national accounts and basic economic statistics;

(g) Validating new development strategies, specifications and procedures;

(h) Developing and delivering  courses and materials to educate SBR users, including profilers, survey frame specialists, analysts, data coders and the staff of survey divisions and collection units/areas (training could follow a certification process so that those wishing to access the register must first complete the appropriate level of instruction);

(i) Supporting SBR data users by, for example,  providing assistance in evaluating the design needs of their surveys;

(j) Providing direction and support on legal issues related to the survey frame, such as access to the SBR and dissemination of SBR-based data;

(k) Maintaining a dedicated group tasked with producing files for users and processing all files related to updating the frame.

5.20.        The creation and maintenance of a unified comprehensive SBR is a long-term objective and a challenging task,[1] and it is recognized that resources devoted to that purpose vary among countries. In spite of this, there are a number of common issues that many national statistical offices may encounter in assessing the suitability of an SBR for trade in services statistics purposes.[2] For instance, a legal framework should be in place to allow access to and use of such administrative records for the purposes of the SBR. In the maintenance process, as many administrative sources as possible should be used to update the SBR, including, for example, the administrative company register, the register of sole proprietors, the register of government units and the register of non-profit units, as well as tax information such as  corporate tax, VAT and social security information. 

5.21.        Ideally, there should be a unit in the national statistical office that is responsible for developing and maintaining the SBR. Decentralized systems could benefit from the development of a system for reconciling the more significant inconsistencies in the data produced by multiple business registers, to improve the accuracy of the data through more consistent classification of key enterprises and the elimination of overlaps and gaps in coverage.

 

Next: B.6. Maintenance of an statistical business register

 


[1] Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics, para. 5.67.

[2] Compilers interested in learning more about the detailed aspects involved in the establishment of an effective statistical business register should consult Eurostat, Business Registers: Recommendations Manual.