Social protection (spr)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union


Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)



For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT

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1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

F5: Education, health and social protection

1.5. Contact mail address

5, rue Alphonse Weicker L-2920 Luxembourg


2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 17/02/2017
2.2. Metadata last posted 17/02/2017
2.3. Metadata last update 27/10/2017


3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

In Eurostat database, ESSPROS data on expenditure and receipts, data on net social protection benefits as well as data on Pension beneficiaries for the total of schemes are currently disseminated. The qualitative information is available in the dedicated section "Social protection" of the Eurostat website. The release of ESSPROS data, quality reports and the qualitative information is made annually. Among the three main categories of data soruces - administrative data, national accounts and other estimates, surveys/census - most of the countries report administrative data and register-based data as their main data sources.

Data on expenditure and receipts correspond to two collections "EXPEND" (Social protection expenditure) and "RECEIPTS" (Social protection receipts).

The collection "EXPEND" is composed by three groups:

1. expsum (Expenditure - Summary tables); it contains two summary tables:

  • e sum Expenditure: main results.

The data include the expenditure broken down in social benefits, administration cost and other expenditure. In addition, social benefits are classified by functions of social protection.

  • e pens Pensions.

The data include the social benefits relating to pensions (old age, disability, survivors and unemployment pensions). In addition the data are split between means-tested and non means-tested benefits.

2. expcur (Expenditure - Tables by functions and aggregated benefits); it contains five tables corresponding to different "currencies": national currencies (e nac), euros (e eur), Purchasing Power Standards (e pps), Purchasing Power Standards per head (e ppsh) and % of the GDP (e gdp).

For each table data (social protection benefits) are published:

  • according to the classification by function of social protection: eight functions (Sickness /Health care; Disability; Old age; Survivors; Family/children; Unemployment; Housing; Social exclusion not elsewhere classified) and the total of social benefits;
  • according to the detailed classification of benefits by type - cash benefits and benefits in kind- and by characteristic -split between means-tested and non means-tested benefits.

3. expfunc (Expenditure - Tables by benefits and currency); it contains nine tables corresponding to the eight different functions of social protection and one for the total of social benefits.

In each table data are published according to the detailed classification of benefits by function, type and characteristic.

The collection "RECEIPTS" is composed by two groups:

1. recsum (Receipts - Summary tables); it contains two tables:

  • r sumt Receipts by type.

The data include the receipts of social protection broken down in the different types of receipts - social contributions, general government contributions and other receipts.

  • r sums Receipts by sector of origin.

The data include the receipts of social protection broken down by the different sectors of origin -corporations, general government, households, non-profit institutions serving households, rest of the world.

2. reccur (Receipts by different "currencies"); it contains three tables: national currencies (r nac), euros (r eur) and % of the GDP (r gdp).

For each table data (receipts) are published:

  • according to the classification by types of receipts;
  • according to the classification by sectors of origin.

Data on net social protection benefits correspond to the table " spr_net_ben" (Net social protection benefits) in the collection "NET".

The ESSPROS module on net social protection benefits (restricted approach) measures net expenditure by collecting information on the average rates of taxes and social contributions paid by recipients of each cash benefit reported in the Core system. These rates are then applied to the gross expenditure on each benefit to obtain a net value as follows:

Net social benefits = Gross social benefits * (1 – AITR – AISCR)

where AITR / AISCR are the Average itemized tax / social contribution rates.

The net social protection benefits are complemented by the value of “Fiscal benefits” provided in the form of tax breaks that would be defined as social protection benefits, if they were provided in cash. Tax breaks promoting the provision of social protection or promoting private insurance plans are excluded. Exceptionally, if some fiscal benefits cannot be taken into account in the assessment of the actual taxes and social contributions paid on social benefits (this happens for few countries), then the value of net benefits should be complemented by the residual value of the fiscal benefit. In this case the formula above becomes:

Net social benefits = Gross social benefits * (1 – AITR – AISCR) + Residual fiscal benefits

In ESSPROS, fiscal benefits are defined as social protection provided in the form of tax breaks that would be defined as social protection benefits if they were provided in cash, excluding tax breaks promoting the provision of social protection or promoting private insurance plans.

According to a 2015 decision of the Working Group on Social Protection Statistics, fiscal benefits in the form of payable tax credits should be included in full (cash component plus fiscal component) in the ESSPROS Core System while all other forms of fiscal benefit are excluded from the Core System and dealt with in the NET modules (the existing restricted approach module and the planned enlarged approach modules).

More information is available in the Annex I "Payable tax credits".

Data on pension beneficiaries correspond to the collection "PENS" that contains the table "spr_pns_ben" (Pension Beneficiaries at 31 December of each year).

The data include the number of recipients of one or more periodic cash benefits under a social protection scheme falling within seven pension categories grouped into four basic functions.

The seven categories of pensions in this module are:

  • Disability pension;
  • Early retirement benefit due to reduced capacity to work;
  • Old-age pension;
  • Anticipated old-age pension;
  • Partial pension;
  • Survivor's pension;
  • Early retirement benefit due to labour market reasons.

The four functions of the module are:

  • Disability (grouping the first two categories of pensions above);
  • Old age (grouping the next three);
  • Survivors (the sixth category);
  • Unemployment (the last category).

The data, available by gender for the total of schemes, are expressed in "units".

ESSPROS data on pension beneficiaries may represent aggregates of multiple types of pensions, granted for various purposes, under different conditions, and to different groups with different levels of entitlement. It is essential, therefore, that users understand exactly what the data show and can interpret the figures correctly. In view of this, please see the publication "Social protection statistics - pension expenditure and pension beneficiaries" and more specifically the section "interpretation of data.

Methodological definitions and more details about social protection classifications and breakdowns can be found in the European System of integrated Social PROtection Statistics (ESSPROS) Manual and User guidelines.



Annexes:
Payable tax credits
3.2. Classification system

The Commission Regulation (EC) No 10/2008 of 8 January 2008, implementing the Regulation (EC) No 458/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on ESSPROS, establishes the main definitions and classifications used in the ESSPROS domain, for the data on social protection expenditure and receipts for the total of social protection schemes.

Detailed definitions and classifications can be found in the European System of integrated Social PROtection Statistics (ESSPROS) Manual and User guidelines

Time series have been adapted to the revised classifications contained in the latest version of the methodology while changes in the methodological treatment of data due to revised definitions and conventions were required at least starting with 2006 data.

3.3. Coverage - sector

Not applicable.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The European System of integrated Social PROtection Statistics (ESSPROS) is an instrument of statistical observation which enables international comparison of the administrative national data on social protection in the EU Member States.

The conventional definition used for the scope of social protection definition is the following:
"Social Protection encompasses all interventions from public or private bodies intended to relieve households and individuals of the burden of a defined set of risks or needs, provided that there is neither a simultaneous reciprocal nor an individual arrangement involved. The list of risks or needs that may give rise to social protection is, by convention, as follows: Sickness/Health care, Disability, Old age, Survivors, Family/children, Unemployment, Housing and Social exclusion not elsewhere classified".

ESSPROS is meant as a common framework enabling a comprehensive and coherent description of social protection:

- covering social benefits to households and their financing;

- geared to international comparability;

- harmonising with other statistics, particularly the national accounts, in its main concepts.

The ESSPROS system

ESSPROS is composed of a Core system and of modules.

The CORE SYSTEM includes:

- Quantitative data: annual data on Social protection receipts and expenditures by scheme/groups of schemes and for the total of schemes; they provide a means of analysing and comparing social protection financial flows.

- Qualitative database: Metadata by social protection scheme and detailed benefit.

The MODULES contain supplementary statistical information on particular aspects of social protection:

- A module on PENSION BENEFICIARIES has been introduced in 2008 and data from 2006 to 2011 are available in Eurobase - ESSPROS domain. According to the EP and Council Regulation 458/2007 (Annex II), pension beneficiaries are defined as recipients of one or more of the periodic cash benefits of a social protection scheme falling within seven pension categories (disability pension; early retirement benefit due to reduced capacity to work; old-age pension; anticipated old-age pension; partial pension; survivors' pension; early retirement benefit due to labour market reasons).

The aim of the module on pension beneficiaries is to calculate the total number of beneficiaries within:

  • Each of the previously mentioned seven categories of pensions;
  • Each of the four functions grouping these categories (disability, old-age, survivors' and unemployment);
  • and, at total level, for the aggregation of the four functions.

A pilot data collection, with a view to introducing a module on NET SOCIAL PROTECTION BENEFITS from 2010, has been launched in 2008 for all EU-27 countries plus Iceland and Norway based on the so called "restricted approach"; the outcome of the pilot studies was positive for a very large majority of countries. According to  Commission Regulations (EC) n. 263/2011 and n. 110/2011 on ESSPROS net social protection benefits, the collection of data on net social benefits according to the restricted approach became compulsory in 2012, when data for the reference year 2010 were collected and transmitted to Eurostat.

The objective of the ESSPROS net social protection benefits (SPB) module is to show the real impact of social transfers on the income of beneficiaries. The adopted net methodology follows the “restricted approach” to measure net benefits, which means that it maintains the scope of the Core system and is limited to measuring the impact of the fiscal system on the value of gross (cash) benefits recorded there and it cannot take into account the value of fiscal benefits provided to people who do not receive such cash benefits. Full coverage of such fiscal benefits for social protection purposes is only provided under the “enlarged approach” to measuring net social protection benefits but the development of this approach is still on-going.

3.5. Statistical unit

The statistical unit in this data collection is the social protection scheme, as defined in section 3.4. above.

3.6. Statistical population

The scope of ESSPROS is limited to social protection which is provided to household and individuals affected by a specific set of social risks and needs. The eight main risks and needs that are recognised are as follows: disability, sickness/health care, old age, survivors, family/children, unemployment, housing and social exclusion.

The expenditure and receipts for all national resident schemes of social protection are included in the ESSPROS data of the core system.

The ESSPROS system is based on the notion of residence: each country includes only transactions by resident schemes. Benefits paid to non-residents are included in ESSPROS data and, conversely, benefits received from abroad ("rest of world") by residents are not included in ESSPROS data.

The ESSPROS net social protection benefits module complements the ESSPROS core through the collection of data which can be used to convert the gross benefit expenditure of the core system into net benefit expenditure. In order to achieve this, this module records AITRs and AISCRs for each social protection benefit recorded in the ESSPROS core system which is paid in cash. AITRs and AISCRs are therefore collected following the same classification system used by the gross expenditure recorded in the ESSPROS core system.

The number of beneficiaries, expressed exclusively in units, must be provided by social protection scheme ("scheme" level) and for the total of schemes ("all schemes" level). At “all schemes” level, information must be broken down by gender while this breakdown is optional at “scheme" level. In general, the number of pensions received by pensioners differs from the number of pensioners as many pensioners might receive more than one pension. The total number of beneficiaries is, so, defined as the number of persons receiving at least one pension (i.e. a person who receives more than one pension is counted only once). Double counting is to be avoided.

3.7. Reference area

Data for core system and pension beneficiaries relate to the Members States of the EU28 plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Republic of Serbia and Turkey.

The module on net social protection benefits is under development in Turkey.

Only for Core system data totals are calculated for EU28, EU27, EU25, EU15, EA19, EA18, EA17, EA16, EA15, EA13, EA12 and the European Economic Area: EEA (except Liechtenstein).

3.8. Coverage - Time

Core system data are mostly available from 1990 onwards. Data relating to the former EU-15 are available from 1995 onwards; data relating to the former EU-15 are available from 1993 onwards; data relating to the former EU-25 are available from 2000 onwards; data relating to the former EU-27 are available from 2005 onwards and data for EU-28 are available from 2008 onwards. In addition, data related to EA-19 are availble from 2000 onwards.

In most cases, net social protection benefits data are available from 2007.

The module on pension beneficiaries, introduced in 2008, has data available from 2006 onwards.

For some countries only shorter time series are available.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.


4. Unit of measure Top

 Data on expenditure (gross) and receipts are made available:

  • In millions national currencies (including Euro converted from former national currencies using the fixed rate for all years), in millions Ecu/Euro and in Purchasing Power Standards;
  • At current prices and at constant prices;
  • In percentage of the GDP.

Some data are also calculated per inhabitant.

The indicator "expenditure per capita" is calculated based on the resident population; therefore this value is overestimated for Luxembourg compared with other countries, since a significant proportion of benefits are paid to persons living outside the country (primarily expenditure on health care, pensions and family benefits).

The Purchasing Power Standard (PPS) is an artificial reference currency unit that eliminates price level differences between countries. Thus one PPS buys the same volume of goods and services in all countries. This unit allows meaningful volume comparisons of economic indicators across countries. The PPSs used are those corresponding to the national accounts aggregate “actual individual consumption”.

The GDP used for the calculation of ESSPROS indicators as % of GDP is the one published on the Eurostat online database (table nama_10_gdp , unit= CP_MEUR, na_item= B1GQ). Only for Turkey the indicators in % of GDP is still based on the ESA 1995 GDP, because the ESA 2010 GDP is not yet available on the Eurobase tables dedicated to national accounts.

The implicit deflator for "actual individual consumption" (unit = PD10_NAC and PD10_EUR, na_item= P41) derived from chain-linked National Accounts has been used to obtain figures for expenditure (gross) and receipts at constant prices referring to the year 2010. Only for Iceland and Tureky the implicit deflator for "Household and NPISH final consumption expenditure" (unit = PD10_NAC and PD10_EUR, na_item= P31­_S14_S15 ) has been used because the na_item = P41 is not yet available on the Eurobase tables dedicated to national accounts.

In the net social protection benefits collection, data are made available as:

  • Gross social protection in millions of national currency (including Euro converted from former national currencies using the fixed rate for all years), in millions of ECU/Euro and in percentage of GDP;
  • Net social protection benefits in millions of national currency (including Euro converted from former national currencies using the fixed rate for all years), in millions of ECU/Euro and in percentage of GDP;
  • Percentage of social protection benefits subject to taxation and/or social contributions;
  • Percentage of social protection cash benefits subject to taxation and/or social contributions;
  • Effective combined taxation and social contributions rates on benefits subject to levies;
  • Effective combined taxation and social contributions rates on all social protection benefits;
  • Residual fiscal benefits in millions of Euros.

Benefits subject to taxation and/or social contributions do not refer to benefits which are taxable according to fiscal rules. It refers to the value of benefits for which there is at least one recipient who, in practice, has tax/social contributions deducted from the benefits they receive. It excludes benefits which are not liable to taxes/social contributions under fiscal rules and benefits which are liable to taxes/social contributions under fiscal rules but for which no recipients pay any levies on the benefits they receive in practice. Also, benefits which are the subject of taxes/contributions that are deducted at source prior to disbursement (e.g. social contributions rerouted between schemes) are not taken into account. Residual fiscal benefits should be introduced in the calculation of net social benefits (restricted approach) only if they are not directly accounted for in AITR and/or AISCR.

Data on pension beneficiaries are expressed exclusively in "persons".


5. Reference Period Top

ESSPROS data are annual data, corresponding to calendar year.

Data for the United Kingdom are on a financial year basis and relate to the year from 1 April to 31 March (for example, data for 1996 relate to the year from April 1996 to March 1997).

Data on pension beneficiaries refer to the end of the calendar year.


6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

ESSPROS data for the period 1990-2005 have been made available on the basis of a gentlemen agreement.

Starting from the collection 2008  (with reference to 2006 data), the Framework Regulation (EC) N° 458/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European system of integrated social protection statistics (ESSPROS), dated 25 April 2007, enters into force; also the two implementing Commission Regulations apply: Regulation (EC) N° 1322/2007 of 12/11/2007 on appropriate formats for transmission, results to be transmitted and criteria for measuring quality for the ESSPROS core system and the module on pension beneficiaries and Regulation (EC) N° 10/2008 of 08/01/2008 on definitions, detailed classifications and updating of the rules for dissemination for the ESSPROS core system and the module on pension beneficiaries.

In addition, more recent implementing Commission Regulations have been adopted in 2011 as legal basis of the ESSPROS net social protection benefits module: Commission Regulation (EU) No 263/2011 regarding the launch of full data collection for the ESSPROS module on net social protection benefits and Commission Regulation (EU) No 110/2011 concerning the appropriate formats for the transmission of data, the results to be transmitted and the criteria for measuring quality for the ESSPROS module on net social protection benefits.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Before data dissemination, Eurostat contacts bilaterally national data providers to ask for the final confirmation of the figures, presented in summary Excel tables.


7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Countries send the data by scheme and at "all schemes" level.

Data declared by National Statistical Authorites as "confidential" are, as a first approach, not disseminated by Eurostat for precautionary reasons. However, in order to reduce the non dissemination of data to the strict minimum required by legislation, Eurostat verifies in cooperation with National Statistical Authorities whether the declared confidentiality status is fully in line with European and national legislations on confidentiality. As a result, if declared confidential data reveal to the legally non confidentiality, these are then disseminated.


8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

The European Parliament and Council Regulation No 458/2007 on the European system of integrated social protection statistics (ESSPROS) laid down the deadline for the dissemination of ESSPROS data: by 31 October of year N+2, Eurostat will publish (Annex I, points 1.3 and 2.3) data on social protection expenditure and receipts at total schemes level, qualitative information and the total number of beneficiaries of each of the seven categories for the year N.

The Commission Regulation (EC) No 1322/2007 laid down the deadline for the dissemination of ESSPROS quality reports on Core system and pension beneficiaries. Eurostat will produce and disseminate a consolidated version of the quality reports on core system by the 31 December of year N+2 and consolidated version of the quality reports on pension beneficiaries by the 31 November of year N+2.

In order to improve the timeliness of the dissemination of results, especially for countries that transmit data well in advance of the legal deadlines, Eurostat disseminates core system and pension beneficiaries data for individual countries, as soon as results have been validated. In addition, Qualitative information and National Quality Reports are published at the same time the correspondent data. The geographical aggregate for the core system data is made available when data for all the EU Member States are available.  

The Commission Regulation (EC) No 110/2011 on ESSPROS net social protection benefits do not set any specific deadline for the dissemination of these data. However 2010 net social benefits data have been disseminated on 3rd April 2014, 2011 data on 4th July 2014 and 2012 data on 12th June 2015, together with the correspondent national quality reports.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.


9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Annual.

Starting from 2014 release (data 2012) as soon as a country’s validation is completed, corresponding figures on gross expenditure and receipts are disseminated immediately afterwards in Eurostat website.

Starting from 2015, the same procedure of data dissemination is applied also to Pension beneficiares data.

Starting from 2016, the same procedure of data dissemination is applied also to Net benefits data (2013 as reference year).

Updates in case of revisions are envisaged.


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

News releases on-line generally follow the data dissemination in the Eurostat database, once per year.

The most recent news releases on Social protection data are:

News release on social protection released on 21 December 2016: 28.7% of EU GDP spent on social protecion in 2014

News release on social protection released on 27 November 2012: EU-27 spent 29.4% of GDP on social protection in 2010

News release on social protection released on 21 November 2013: EU-28 spent 29.1% of GDP on social protection in 2011

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

A range of statistical publications based on ESSPROS data are disseminated including statistics explained articles - availbale at the Eurostat statistics explained articles website -, the European System of integrated Social PROtection Statistics (ESSPROS) Manual and User guidelines , statistical publications and Statistics in focus.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Eurostat publishes ESSPROS data (both core system, pension beneficiaries and net social protecion benefits) on the Eurostat database online and the qualitative information and quality reports on the webpage dedicated to social protection. Eurostat is actively working to improve its timeliness.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Detailed data by scheme for expenditure (gross) and receipts are made available for countries having not restrictions to dissemination of data by schemes.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

ESSPROS data referring up to the 2007 collection were compiled in accordance with a former version of the ESSPROS methodology, the ESSPROS Manual 1996.

Starting from 2008, an updated version of the methodology, namely the ESSPROS Manual - The European System of integrated Social PROtection Statistics (ESSPROS), came into force.

From 2011, the ESSPROS methodology is in accordance with the current version of the ESSPROS Manual - The European System of integrated Social PROtection Statistics (ESSPROS) - edition 2011. This is the reference document in the two Commission Regulations implementing the EP and Council ESSPROS Regulation.

Eurostat has also made available an extended Manual, the "ESSPROS Manual and user guidelines", serving as a User's Guide for compiling and using ESSPROS; it contains detailed guidelines, further explanations, examples and the complete list of schemes for each country.

All these reference documents are published by Eurostat and available in the dedicated section "Social protection", under "Publications", of Eurostat Website.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Countries produce annually by September of the year N+2 a quality report on the core system for the year N (coverage of data sources, methodologies and assumptions used in the estimates, revision of statistics and geographical comparability). On this basis each year, by December of the year N+2 Eurostat produces a consolidated version of the reports.

The quality reports on the module on pension beneficiaries are annual. The report on year N must be transmitted to Eurostat by the end of August in year N+2. On this basis Eurostat will produce and disseminate a consolidated version of these reports by the end of November of year N+2.

The ESSPROS Consolidated Quality Reports are designed to measure the quality of the year N+2 data collection, which refers to the year N.

The Reports summarise the practices used in compiling the ESSPROS data by the 28 countries belonging to EU plus Switzerland (CH), Iceland (IS), Norway (NO), Serbia (RS) and, only for core system and pension beneficiaries, Turkey (TR).

The Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS core system  and the Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS pension beneficiaries referred to the 2014 data are made available in the dedicated page on Social protection, under the "Consolidated quality report" section together with the national quality reports on Core system and on Pension beneficiaries.

The Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS net social benefits referred to the 2014 data is available in the dedicated page on Social protection, under the "Consolidated quality report" section, together with the national quality reports on net social protection benefits.


11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Eurostat carried out a validation process on ESSPROS data. This process involved the use of special IT tools to evaluate the reliability of the data. Output standardisation is achieved by defining the format as well as the timetable of data transmission set by Regulation. This is complemented by Eurostat consistency, integrity checks on the data so that output quality standard is reached. In addition, data are accompanied with quality reports analysing the accuracy, coherence and comparability of the data.

As the data used for ESSPROS statistics are based on multiple data sources (administrative, accounts, surveys, censuses, etc.), the standard measures of accuracy are not directly applicable. In this case, therefore, accuracy is assessed instead by reporting non-sampling errors in data sources, such as limitations in coverage and measurement problems, and by evaluating the methods of estimation used and by evaluating the revision.

For a more detailed analysis of the quality components of the ESSPROS data please see the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS core system" , the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS pension beneficiaries" referred to 2014 data and the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS net social protection benefits" referred to 2014 data available in the dedicated page on Social protection, under the "Consolidated quality reports" section.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Until 2007, the ESSPROS data collections were on the basis of a gentlemen's agreement. Since then five new pieces of legislation were introduced (see "Legislation" section in the webpage dedicated to social protection).

Commission Regulation No 1322/2007 lays down the rules for the appropriate formats for transmission and results to be delivered to Eurostat, the criteria to be followed in order to measure quality and the time limits of national quality reports for core system and pension beneficiaries data. Commission Regulation (EU) No 110/2011 lays down the rules for the appropriate formats for transmission and results to be delivered to Eurostat, the criteria to be followed in order to measure quality and the time limits of national quality reports for net social protection benefits.

On the basis of the regulations and as defined by the European Statistical System (ESS), the following quality criteria are applied to the ESSPROS data: relevance, accessibility and clarity, timeliness and punctuality, coherence, comparability and accuracy.


12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

As the ESSPROS Core System is a common framework which enables the international comparison of national data on social protection, it is used by various international institutions to analyse and compare the social situations of different countries.

At the Lisbon European Council in March 2000, the Member States undertook to improve and modernise their social protection systems. As a result, the "Open Method of Coordination" - an intergovernmental means of governance in the European Union, based on the voluntary cooperation of its Member States - highlighted the need for comparable, timely and reliable statistics in the area of social policy. The Commission Communication of May 2003 entitled "Streamlining open coordination in the field of social protection" thus includes a statement on the need for indicators, and mentions ESSPROS as a key instrument.

The following publications include statistics using ESSPROS data:

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

In order to better understand the needs of users of ESSPROS data, Eurostat issued a user questionnaire which was made available online between June and September 2014. The total of 61 responses included reasonable coverage of key ESSPROS users – i.e. European Commission, national governments, national statistical authorities and intergovernmental institutions.

More details are available in the attached Annex II.



Annexes:
Annex II_Results ESSPROS user questionnaire_2014
12.3. Completeness

All the information as required by the Regulations (see point 6.1) has been disseminated by Eurostat.


13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

Accuracy of the ESSPROS data is linked to and depends on the accuracy of the data received from the participating countries. Data sources are mainly administrative and register-based data, only a small percentage of the figures come from surveys or other means. Accordingly, for the ESSPROS data collection, accuracy deals with problems of coverage as the main possible source of errors.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable.

13.3. Non-sampling error

As ESSPROS data comes mainly from administrative data and register-based data sources (other data sources used by the countries to complete the data collection are National accounts, surveys/census, and estimations), problems of coverage can be seen as the main possible source of errors.

More errors might derive from non-responses (missed return) from data sources and wrong data recording in the ESSPROS questionnaire returned to EUROSTAT by the compiling Institutions during the phases of data collection (from the data sources) or data entry. Normally these errors are reduced through the validation phase, involving both Eurostat and the providing Institutions in the Member States.

For more detailed information please see the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS core system", the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS pension beneficiaries" referred to 2014 data and the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS net social protection benefits" referred to 2014 available in the dedicated page on Social protection, under the "Consolidated quality reports" section.


14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Data on social protection expenditure and receipts for the calendar year N, together with any revision of previous years, are transmitted to Eurostat by 30 June of the year N+2, therefore with a time lag of 18 months.

The Framework Regulation (Annex 2, point 3) sets the deadline for the Commission to disseminate the ESSPROS pension beneficiaries data for year N at 'all schemes' level at 31 October of the year N+2. Data on beneficiaries must be provided for each year and the deadline for their transmission is end of May.

Data on net social protection benefits for the calendar year N, together with any revision of previous years, are transmitted to Eurostat by 31st December of the year N+2 therefore with a time lag of 24 months. The Commission Regulations (EC) n. 263/2011 and n. 110/2011 do not set any deadline to disseminate those data.

14.2. Punctuality

Nearly all countries partecipating to ESSPROS data collections are currently able to meet the legal deadlines for transmissions of data and metadata (see paragraph 14.1, as reference).


15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Geographical comparability is possible at 'all schemes level' only for quantitative data.

Problems arose when evaluating coverage of the ESSPROS Core System by country, both at scheme level (a scheme or a relevant part of a scheme is missing in the figures) and in terms of expenditure, receipts or benefits (a certain type of expenditure, receipt or benefit is not covered by final data). If a benefit provided by a given scheme is not fully covered by the final estimates, the figures supplied for the scheme are incomplete. Three different cases of not comparability have been identified: problems linked to missing schemes, missing receipts or benefits and cases for which ESSPROS methodology could not be applied.

For a more detailed information  please see the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS core system", the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS pension beneficiaries" referred to 2014 data and the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS net social protection benefits" referred to 2014 available in the dedicated page on Social protection, under the "Consolidated quality reports" section.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Comparability over time is possible for data at 'all schemes level'.

For a more detailed information  please see the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS core system", the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS pension beneficiaries" referred to 2014 data and the ""Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS net social protection benefits" referred to 2014 available in the dedicated page on Social protection, under the "Consolidated quality reports" section.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Not applicable.

15.4. Coherence - internal

Coherence between the quantitative and pension beneficiaries data and the qualitative information, is being ensured during the data validation process.

For a more detailed information  please see the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS core system" and the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS pension beneficiaries" referred to 2014 data available in the dedicated page on Social protection, under the "Consolidated quality reports" section.

Moreover as the ESSPROS net social protection benefits module is an extension of the core system, it shares the classifications, definitions and target population of the ESSPROS core collection. Ensuring coherence between the two therefore relies on making sure that the scope is maintained and that no double counting occurs (i.e. re-routed contributions double counting, fiscal benefits and payable tax credits treatments).

For a more detailed information  please see the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS net social protection benefits" referred to the 2014 data, available in the dedicated page on Social protection, under the "Consolidated quality reports" section.


16. Cost and Burden Top

Not applicable.


17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

ESSPROS data are subject to continuous revisions (especially for the recent years). The major cause is the revisions of basic statistics used by member states in compiling ESSPROS data.

In this context, it might be useful to consider that the net social protection benefits data collection is not run in parallel with the Core (gross): the deadline for net data transmission is end of December (N+2) whereas the deadline for gross expenditure and receipts transmission is end of June N+2. This introduces the possibility that at certain points in time the gross data available under the net expenditure (spr_net_ben) might be inconsistent with the core gross data in the "EXPEND" collection. It might be the case that some countries updated their gross data at the same time of the net data collection. If such case happen, revised gross data might be re-transmitted to Eurostat and those revisions will be made available in the Eurostat database at the time of the net social protection benefits data dissemination.

17.2. Data revision - practice

Starting with 2008 collection, a revised version of the ESSPROS methodology is used. Time series have been adapted to revised classifications while changes in the methodological treatment of data due to revised definitions and conventions were required at least starting with 2006 data.


18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Figures are collected from National Statistical Institutes or/and Ministries of Social Affairs. Most of the data are compiled from administrative sources.

For a more detailed information please see the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS core system", the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS pension beneficiaries" referred to 2014 data and the "Consolidated Quality Report for the ESSPROS net social protection benefits" referred to 2014 data available in the dedicated page on Social protection, under the "Consolidated quality reports" section.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Data on social protection expenditures (gross) and receipts are collected yearly and have to be sent to Eurostat by 30th of June each year as stipulated in the European Parliament and Council Regulation No 458/2007.

According to the same Regulation, also data on pension beneficiaries, to be transmitted to Eurostat by 31st of May each year are collected yearly.

Data on net social protection benefits have to be transmitted to Eurostat by 31st December each year as stipulated in the Commission Regulations (EC) n. 263/2011.

18.3. Data collection

ESSPROS data is annually collected mainly from administrative sources, having as statistical unit the so called social protection scheme (see definition in paragraph 3.5).

The number of beneficiaries, expressed exclusively in units, must be provided by social protection scheme ("scheme" level) and for the total of schemes ("all schemes" level). Each of the 7 pension categories in the definition is further split into two subcategories, non means-tested and means-tested pensions, so that the total number of elementary (they are not obtained by aggregation of other items in the questionnaire but rather directly from data sources) items for which figures are to be provided is 14.

In the case of net social protection benefits data collection, each questionnaire is tailored to a specific set of gross data for particular country and reference year which means that a unique questionnaire is generated for each country for each reference period covered by the data collection. This also means that this unique questionnaire may need to be revised as revisions are made to the gross data through the ESSPROS Core collection. According to the Commission Regulation (EC) n.110/2011, user input is expected only on “AITR”, “AISCR”, “Fiscal” and “Footnotes”.

18.4. Data validation

Before publishing the data, consistent validation checks are performed by Eurostat.

The process of validation is based on using times series evolution and knowledge of reforms of the legislation in the field of social protection.

18.5. Data compilation

Where available, annual data for the Euro area, the European Union and the European Economic Area are derived from all countries, for which the respective data are available, usually by adding up the aggregates for all Member States after expressing them in a common currency (Euro/ECU).

The Euro/ECU series have been generated:

- for Non Euro area countries by applying the variable exchange rate of national currency vs. Euro/ECU.

- for Euro area countries by converting the euro fixed series into euro/ECU for years before they joined the Euro Area. Euro-fixed is the national currency for Euro area countries. It is obtained by converting the data expressed in the previous National currency by using for all the years the exchange rate irrevocably fixed when a country joined the Euro Area.

18.6. Adjustment

Not applicable.


19. Comment Top

1. Data for Ireland are subject to an ongoing revision process due to planned improvements to sources and methods.

2. UK: The break in series for disability pension between 2006 and 2007 it's due to the fact that employment support allowance has been moved to disability pension under scheme 8 and disability living allowance has been partly moved to disability pension under scheme 29. At the same time, some attendance allowance and injuries disablement benefit pension age have been reclassified from disability pensions to Care allowance in old age function for scheme 29.

3. For Austria the breakdown of "Other Receipts" by sector of origin is partially available.


Related metadata Top


Annexes Top