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8 Comments

  1. INEGI-Mexico has the following comments regarding Chapter III:

    3.1.2 Why are official statistics important?

    • It would be important to emphasize in this part that statistics, in addition to being of high quality, must be reliable. (In "Increasingly, high quality ...", add: "reliable").
    • It is mentioned that some statistics produced by private entities or public agencies that are not part of the official statistics system are considered “official”. If these agencies are not part of the system, they cannot be considered official; maybe it's a drafting problem. This is contradictory to point C found in this section regarding the characteristics that must be met for statistics to be considered official: “Statistics normally produced by a National Statistical Office and other entities designated as producers of official statistics and indicated as official statistics in the relevant legislation and in statistical programs and documents. "

    3.2.1 Principle 1 Relevance, impartiality and equal access.

    • The third point of motivation and explanation of the principle is not clear: "... degree to what degree ..."

    Impartiality and equal access:

    • Prior and privileged access to any user before the date of publication of certain information must be justified. We suggest specifying in point 7 that it must be justified, as well as limited, controlled and published.

    3.2.6 Principle 6 Confidentiality.

    • Although it may be implicitly covering the issue, we suggest to explicitly specify the process of anonymization of information, that is, the NSOs must guarantee that anonymization processes exist to assure the confidentiality of individuals.

    Finally, this chapter presents the same bias as in chapter V,  since there are only examples of European Statistical Systems (Sweden, Lithuania, United Kingdom, France). It should include examples of other regions.

  2. Dear all, section 3.2.6 could stipulate that no exception whatsoever should be made to the confidentiality principle: I recently read a draft Statistical Act, ensuring confidentiality of individual data, but then mentioning that the NSO had to communicate individual data to the Government upon request to "facilitate the development of state security policies"...

  3. Section 3.3 should also refer to the UN recommendations on quality assurance and the new UN National Quality Assurance Framework as contained in the new United Nations National Quality Assurance Frameworks Manual for Official Statistics which was adopted by the Statistical Commission in March 2019 and which is available at: https://unstats.un.org/unsd/methodology/dataquality/

    The recommendations on quality assurance are based on and make a clear link to the Fundamental Principles for Official Statistics but also make reference to the two GA resolutions on official statistics 68/261 on the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and 71/313 on the work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    It is suggested to also include reference to 71/313 in Chapter III as it is very important and as it concerns GA decisions of equal standing as 68/261.



    1. Thank you Matthias! We will probably add these 2 resolutions in the text. For "quality", of course we will, but when the chapter was drafted the United Nations National Quality Assurance Frameworks Manual for Official Statistics was not available, this will be done during the editorial phase that is going to start in 2-3 weeks. I will come back to you. 

  4. 3.2.6  Principle 6 Confidentiality

    The privacy of data providers (households, enterprises and other respondents) and the confidentiality of the information about them.

    3.4.4.2 Some main issues to be handled in a statistical law

    The principles and procedures for handling confidential statistical data, securing exclusive use for statistical use of individual data

    I agree NSO should keep the individual data for dissemination. However, these two things (3.2.6 and 3.4.42) become an issue in utilize data statistic produced by NSO for government/institution policy. For example, if a government institution or juridical institution need some individual information/data for some purposes, like investigating, social aid, loan distribution for small business purposes, etc. how NSO  handle it.    

    Subject to discuss: if there is an agreement (strong agreement) between NSO and the institution for individual data, and clearly stated that the refer institution will not share/publish the data only for specific purpose, should NSO give the data?


    For all chapter, example of experiences of countries should represent all regions

  5. To answer your questions, you need to refer to your legislation.  In the case of Australian legislation (the Australian Census and Statistics Act 1905) for example, it is illegal to divulge information collected under the authority of the Act about a particular person.   This is referred to as the secrecy compact  or what statisticians call confidentiality.   So even if there there is a strong agreement between NSO and institution for individual data collected by the NSO to be shared with them, it is illegal to do so. 

    It is also likely a countries legislation specifies what purposes a NSO can collect data for e.g. an NSO can collect data for statistical and research purposes only.   Purposes like investigating social aid, loan distribution for small business purposes, etc.  would not necessarily be considered statistical and research purposes but this would need to be legally tested in each national context.

    I am not aware of any countries legislation which does allow for the NSO to give data about individuals, collected for statistical purposes, to another institution.  Perhaps someone who has studied legislation across statistical agencies could answer this. 

    I hope this is helpful.

  6. Dear Gemma and Mila,

    I understand that I am coming very late with an answer or reaction to Mila's question. I would like also to thank Gemma for her fast and informative answer. I have not much to add to this since non-anonymized microdata shared by an NSO with an administration would go against the UN Fundamental Principles. However a solution would be for the administration to collect the information first (for administrative purposes) and then for the administration to share it with the NSO. These kind of data flows are rather well documented, foreseen in the statistical regulations (act or other kind of binding rules) and further governed by MoU. The NSO can support the administration in sharing know-how and technology to secure timeliness and quality of the collected information. This is often seen as a win-win solution since it secures high-quality information for the administration and eventually for the NSO. However, the body collecting initially the information is the administration under its own rules, the Fundamental Principles (and the statistical regulations) apply only to the NSO for the data received from the administration.


    I am not sure whether this is clear ... please let me know and we will try to work a bit more on that specific section in the Handbook 

  7. Dear Gabriel,

    thank you for your answer and suggestion. I agree with your win-win solution regarding to the individual information.  And as you state that, the Fundamental Principles apply only to NSO, not to other government agency, therefore they can manage it by their own rule.

    Thank you