The fifth session of the Committee

The fifth session of the Committee was held on 21 November 2023 in the Croatian Bureau of Statistics.

It was attended by representatives of all producers of official statistics.
The agenda included four items:
  1. Approval of the Minute of the fourth session held on 5 July 2023
  2. Customer relations
  3. Improvement measures for the implementation of Peer Review Recommendations
  4. Miscellaneous

Members discussed the obligations of the producers of official statistics in achieving customer relations and agreed to apply the current practice of the CBS’ access to users to other producers of official statistics.

The Code of Practice of European Statistics is the basis of a common quality framework for the European Statistical System, with 16 principles covering the institutional environment, statistical production processes and statistical results according to which available statistics must meet user needs, i.e. the quality of official statistics is measured, among others, by the extent to which they are relevant and easily accessible to users.

The CBS informed members about modes of consultation with users with a view to obtaining feedback on meeting their needs. There are multiple communication channels and modes of communicating with users, depending on their groups: communication with the broadest group of users is realised in a procedure of conducting consultations with the interested public through the e-Savjetovanja (e-Consultation) portal when acts of importance to a wider circle of users and citizens are being adopted. For strategic acts and laws, coordination with all state administration bodies and other public law institutions of interest is carried out. A statistical council is also one way of engaging users, while through user boards official statistics are strengthened through active dialogue with key users.

The CBS regularly and systematically monitors customer satisfaction by conducting customer satisfaction surveys. The most recent one was carried out online from 25 November to 23 December 2022, to which a total of 192 users responded. The next survey is planned for the first quarter of 2024.

One of the institutes for dialogue with users is the Statistical Council of the Republic of Croatia as an advisory and expert body that deals with strategic issues of official statistics, which was established to ensure the influence of users, science and the general public on the activities of official statistics. The Council has 13 members appointed by the Government of the Republic of Croatia for a period of five years. The Official Statistics Act defines institutions that propose representatives of the Council and their names. Council meetings are held at least two times a year, primarily for the purpose of presenting strategic plans and reports, presenting new projects and other topics of interest to the Statistical Council. Expert opinions of the Council are submitted to the Government of the Republic of Croatia when preparing draft proposals for strategic plans and reports, laws and other issues relevant to the work of official statistics.

Regarding the Recommendation No 17 on the Expert Evaluation Report in the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics will develop and implement a strategy for the inclusion of potential users of the statistical data it produces. It will cover the following activities: reviewing the work of existing and proposals of new user boards, holding meetings of user boards, defining procedure(s) (internal instructions), establishment of new user boards, etc.

The Croatian Bureau of Statistics informed the members of the Committee that, in accordance with the Code, it provides access to microdata for research purposes, which is regulated by special rules and protocols that are publicly available. Access conditions are clear and well understood, and confidential data are protected. Access to the CBS’ microdata for scientific purposes is provided to research entities and their conditions and terms are determined by the Ordinance, while applications are considered by the Committee for Statistical Confidentiality. Modes of accessing data: in a safe room, by remote access and on a portable medium. The delivered results are verified. The following programmes are available for statistical analysis: SAS, StataSE, RStudio, PS IMAGO PRO and Microsoft Office. All files are still kept after the end of the research project/contract. The costs of access, preparation, processing and verification are to be settled by the research entity.

In order to implement the Recommendation No 18 on the Expert Evaluation Report, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics plans to intensify activities aimed at increasing the general statistical literacy of users, especially for general statistical issues and quality aspects relevant to official statistics. In addition to high school students, partnerships with different stakeholders should be promoted and built up, and dialogue with the research community should be strengthened.

Members also discussed the costs of specific data processing, how to select user boards and further work plans and ways to establish user boards for statistics of other producers of official statistics.