The national statistical authorities of all the EU Member States, EFTA countries and Eurostat form a partnership called the European Statistical System (ESS). Together, they develop, produce and disseminate European statistics.
The world is experiencing a growing trend of instant information and new challenges, driven by exceptional circumstances and a continuous need for faster but quality-assured data. This is why the ESS statistical authorities have committed themselves to adhere to the European Statistics Code of Practice, which is the cornerstone of the ESS common quality framework.
In this context, it is crucial for the ESS to be equipped with a review mechanism - Peer Reviews - supporting this self-commitment to adhere to the Code with documented evidence. The objective of this review mechanism is to enhance the integrity, professional independence and accountability of all ESS statistical authorities, thus reassuring users of the commitment to quality of the ESS and underpinning their trust in European statistics.
In 2017, the Code was reviewed and extended and now encompasses 16 Principles. This revised version triggered a third round of ESS peer reviews to be carried out from June 2021 to the end of June 2023. The first peer review started on 28 June 2021 in France and the next country to be reviewed is Estonia in September 2021. Six more peer reviews of the national statistical systems in Finland, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Germany will take place from November to December 2021. Others will follow in 2022 and 2023.
The peer reviews of national statistical authorities are conducted by external experts (both from inside and outside the ESS) and follow the same methodology. The process includes the completion of a self-assessment questionnaire by the statistical authorities, followed by a 4 to 5-day visit of the experts. They use a combination of an audit-like and peer review approach when assessing the statistical systems in the countries.
In addition to assessing the compliance of the statistical authorities with the European Statistics Code of Practice, the experts also put forward future-oriented recommendations to further improve the national statistical systems of the ESS member countries. Some of these recommendations also depend on government authorities for their implementation. All these recommendations are part of the peer review report produced by the experts after their visit to the country.
Each National Statistical Institute then develops an action plan to address the peer review recommendations. The implementation of these actions is monitored on an annual basis by Eurostat, and a report is provided to the European Statistical System Committee (ESSC), the oversight body of the ESS. All peer review reports and the accompanying action plans will be published on Eurostat’s website.
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