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Principles of Release and Provision of Statistical Information

Principles of Release and Provision of Statistical Information

Last update: 04.09.2017 | Number of views: 18840

By this information, the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic (further on "Office") offers to the interested persons the procedures of release and provision of statistical information, the characteristics of the basic release forms and individual products and services, the definition of principles of relationships with the users of statistical information, principles of product and service provision, price policy of standard and non-standard outputs on the basis of requests. The release and provision of statistical information is conducted in compliance with the Act (NC SR) No 540/2001 Coll. on state statistics, (pdf - 234 kB) as amended.

The release and provision of statistical information have to fulfil the criteria of the European Statistics Code of Practice, namely the timeliness, accuracy, reliability, relevance, clarity, impartiality, objectivity, professional independence, cost-effectiveness.

Units providing statistical information

The main actors in the system of information provision are the Information Service of the Central Office and the Regional Offices (further on "units providing statistical information") of the SO SR. These units receive all orders and requests for statistical information; provide information on publications, statistical data availability, possibilities and financial conditions of non-standard statistical processing. They provide consultancy on possible methodological issues, advice on utilisation of statistical information and ensure the satisfaction of the requests of the users. The main sources of information are outputs from statistical data processing from statistical surveys and administrative data sources. The Information Provision Units of the Central Office also provides help for those users searching data on European statistics at the website of Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union.

In order to improve the cooperation of units providing statistical information with the users, the Office focuses mainly on the development of the following activities:

  • to ensure a rapid and comfortable access to statistical information for all user categories,
  • to maintain close contact with the users in order to more precisely define their needs,
  • to identify the user needs via satisfaction surveys,
  • to enhance and maintain contacts with the media,
  • to explain the valid methodology and to inform about the actual changes and data revisions,
  • to inform the statistical users on the Office´s activities, products and services, possibilities and restrictions to data access.

First Data Release

An important principle of the public information dissemination is the timely information on the place and time of availability of statistical information and other products, their scope and content. To ensure this principle, the Calendar of the First Data Release has regularly been issued and it is available at the Office´s website.

Principles of the First Release and the Calendar of First Data Release

Principles of first release shall apply to:

  • data categories resulting from the principles of the International Monetary Fund Special Standard (hereinafter the “IMF”) for data dissemination, included in the Calendar of First Data Release (hereinafter the “Calendar”),
  • data categories with increased public interest and included in the Calendar,
  • basic results from special surveys and censuses (for example from the Population and Housing Census, Farm Structure Census),
  • data surveyed and processed according to special contracts with Eurostat,
  • publication outputs containing statistical information on the economic, social and demographic development for key indicators,
  • further information, data or outputs based on decision of the President of the Office.

The first release is performed in the form of an information report or a press conference. There is a standing rule, that all users have the right to be provided with information at the same time. For the first publication through a press conference, the printed materials are given to the participants prior to its commencement (not earlier than 9.00 am). At the same time they are available at the Office´s website.

Until the moment of the first release, the results of statistical surveys are under embargo. In exceptional cases it is possible to provide this data before their first release for working purposes to a government institution, under contractually specified conditions in accordance with the Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council Article 9 and Article 11, as amended and with the Code of Practice for European statistics (Principle No.6). The contract shall include a customer´s commitment not to provide the data concerned to any third party until the moment of publishing by the Office. The priority access to the statistics from any external user to the statistics before their release is limited, controlled and published at the Office´s website.

The publications containing information covered by the principles of first release and that have not yet been released via information reports, press conference or Office´s website, can be provided to the interested persons only on a day of the first release of data.

The Calendar contains the release dates of selected data categories resulting from the principles of the International Monetary Fund´s Special Data Dissemination Standard. These categories include- gross domestic product (GDP), consumer price indices, industrial product price indices, industrial production, foreign trade, employment and unemployment according to the Labour Force Sample Survey, average monthly wage from quarterly reporting. Data categories are extended by indicators with increased user interest (e.g. development of core and net inflation, development of harmonized indices of consumer prices, average prices of driving fuels in the SR, construction production, indices of other producer prices, monthly data on employment and wages in selected branches by statistical reporting, turnover in selected sectors, results of business tendency survey and the economic sentiment indicator, turnover in internal trade). The range of data categories within the scheme of first release could be extended on an ongoing basis.

The Calendar is available on the Office´s website, in the sector "Products", containing release dates for the upcoming four months. Dates are included as the right release dates, always at 9.00 a. m.

It is possible to change the stated release date only exceptionally, for particularly serious reasons. The public will be informed about the change of date through the website by the end of the working week, prevenient to the release week, in accordance with the Calendar.

The deadlines for data provision which are not guided by the principles of the first data release and by the Calendar, are set by the Office´s publication deadlines, data update in the public database and the timetables for automated processings of statistical surveys.

Catalogue of Publications and first release

To ensure the information of the public on the portfolio of publications, the Catalogue of Publications is compiled by the Office for the relevant year. Where appropriate, the Office issues publications also beyond the Catalogue of Publications.

The Catalogue of Publications, available on the Office´s website, in the sector “Products/Catalogue of Publications”, provides an overview of all publications that the Office plans to publish in the relevant year. The introduced titles present the results of statistical surveys and censuses, while taking into account the current needs of statistical users. The Catalogue of Publications contains brief annotations to all publications, the procedure for publication and ordering, periodicity of issue as well as information on the Office´s databases. The new value-added titles (containing analytical texts, data visualizations, data comparisons) have also been included when compiling the Catalogue of Publications.

Basic Forms of Releasing and Providing Statistical Information

  • dissemination of information through the Office´s website,
  • products in printed form,
  • information provision based on users requests (by mail, e-mail, via electronic services, by telephone or in person),
  • communication with the public ( press conferences, articles and discussions for the print and other media), working meetings with the users of statistical information.

As for the release, dissemination and provision of statistical information to the users, the protection of confidential data is ensured in line with the Act on State Statistics No 540/2001 Coll. on state statistics, (pdf - 234 kB), as amended and the Principles of Confidential Statistical Data Protection Use.

Dissemination of information through the Office´s website

Publications at the Office´s website (www.statistics.sk) is the most preferred form of statistical information dissemination. The following products are available through the website:

  • information reports, news,
  • data and metadata in public databases,
  • publications,
  • methodology and metadata,
  • key Office documents, legislation and information on public procurement,
  • electronic services of the Office,
  • other information of the Office.

In case of incorrect data release on the Office´s website, data are adjusted without delay by the responsible person with a note. This person also keeps records of incorrect data release and on the method of their precision. While making corrections to the webpage, the importance of the corrected data should be considered. In some serious cases, it is necessary to inform the public about this fact at the website, in the News section through the Spokesperson of the Office.

Information reports, news

Information reports and news serve for the first data release, information about special statistical surveys and censuses, about interesting publications, methodological changes, data revisions etc. Information reports are released day-ahead on the Office´s website, always at 9 a. m.

According to their frequency, there are regular and irregular information reports. Regular Information Reports are issued weekly, monthly or quarterly. They serve for the first release of data, in accordance with the Calendar dates. Irregular Information Reports serve for dissemination of first results of the irregular surveys and censuses, information on important publications, on methodological changes, data revisions, etc.

Publications

Publications are issued in the basic publication series:

  • comprehensive publications,
  • thematic publications (issued by the competency units and the designated responsible Regional Offices of the SO SR from individual departmental statistics including sectoral yearbooks),
  • classifications, code lists (when issued in the form of publications),
  • other publications including information and promotion materials.

Publications are issued monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, yearly and two-year periodicity, irregularly in accordance with the Catalogue of Publications. The selection of titles issued bilingually is determined according to the type and nature of the publication. There are binding formats available on the website for the dissemination of publications. The basic format is the Portable Document Format (.pdf) in a version 1.3 to 1.5. The Open Office XML (.docx), Open Document Format (.odt), Microsoft Excel File Format (.xlsx), Open Document Format (.ods) can be used as an additional formats in a compressed, zipped 2.0 file format (.zip).

The SO SR´s publications are available at its website. The exceptions are only the Statistical Yearbook of the SR, available at the website for eight months after its issue (in compliance with the publisher contract) and the Journal Slovak Statistics and Demography, available at the publication date of the journal´s next issue.

The publications (except publications of the informational-promotional nature) contain methodological notes and metadata, containing basic characteristics of the published data and the definitions of basic indicators. The basic characteristics include the necessary information for the correct interpretation of data and the assessing their suitability for user purposes (data source, survey method, data compilation methods, including grossing up, methodological changes, notice of the provisional character of data and the time period which may be affected by backward adjustments etc.)

In selected monthly publications, the adjustment of data released for individual months of the last quarter is carried out after the end of the quarter on the basis of quarterly (or annual) records and additionally reported corrections. The adjustment of data released for individual months of the previous quarter is carried out after the end of the relevant quarter (e.g. if during the 3rd quarter it is found out that there is a necessity of adjusting the data released for January until June, the adjustment is done after the end of the 3rd quarter or with the adjustment of data for individual months of the 3rd quarter).

The industrial production adjusted from the influence of the number of working days is updated monthly backwards from the beginning of the time series or of the year. The seasonally adjusted data are updated for the entire length time series by adding another period. Foreign trade data are updated monthly from the beginning of the year.

If there is any incorrect data in the publication, the author specifies the data in the form of erratum, containing the original and the correct data. If the publication available at the website of the Office contains any incorrect data, the erratum is published in the annotation of the relevant issue. In case of printed form publication, if the error is detected before the official issue date, erratum is putting before the title or on the page where the error located is. If the error is detected later, the erratum is enclosed in the forthcoming issue or it is sent directly to the customer.

Products in printed form

Besides the electronic form, the Office publishes selected products also in printed form e.g. the Journal Slovak Statistics and Demography, information and promotional publications and materials, outputs of specific surveys, publications based on the customer order. The customers may order the print of the Office’s publication while the prices will be determined according to the Pricelist of Services of the SO SR depending on the colourfulness, format, layout of publication cover and the number of the required copies.

Provision of information based on users requests

A request is any request on the provision of statistical information, which could be numerical data, metadata, methodological notes, other information related to the data and the consultations provided.

The requests are handled by mail if they are certificates or important documents by their content for the applicant’s professional activity.

The requests are handled by e-mail if the Office receives them in this form and also others (e.g. requests received by mail) if the electronic address is known and the customer accepts the answer by e-mail.

External and internal communication during the process of the statistical information request handling is ensured by means of the system of electronic services on the Office’s website (Submission module). The user submits a request for information and checks its handling directly on the Office’s website until the answer is provided. Information on the working procedures in entering and handling requests for statistical information through the electronic services is included in the User Manual for the Electronic Services for the Requesters of Statistical Information, available on the Office’s website in the section Services/Information Services.

The provision of statistical information based on telephone requests is generally handled by the employees of units providing information services and by the Office’s Spokesperson.

The provision of the anonymised microdata sets for scientific purposes follows the Instructions for handling confidential statistical data for scientific purposes published on the Office’s website in the section Services/Information services.

An applicant who can establish that he/she carries out scientific work and will use the provided data only for the purposes of these activities, shall submit a request in the form of a filled Research proposal application form (available on the Office’s website in the section Services/Information services). After the approval of the request by the managerial board meeting of the Office, the Information Service Unit of the SO SR Central Office draws up the draft terms, ensures the conclusion of the contract with customer and the data provision. Access to the anonymised microdata for scientific purposes is possible also in the Safe-Centrum in the building of the SO SR Central Office on the basis of the concluded contract.

In case, the Office lacks the required data or the request processing is very demanding for the capacity and technical possibilities of the responsible unit, the request is rejected with the reason stated.

In case of information provision against payment, the price is determined in accordance with the Price List of Services of the SO SR (available on the Office’s website in the section Services/Information services). In case, the provided information is sent by mail and it is invoiced, the postal charge is indicated by a separate item and it is included in the total price.

Communication with the public

A communication centre is established for communication with the public focusing on the media. It is represented by the Spokesperson of the SO SR who coordinates and ensures contact with media, including press conferences of the Office.

Communication with the public focused on the customers is ensured by the information services units in the Central Office and in the Regional Offices and the competency units of the SO SR.

Contact with the Users

Besides the professional capabilities of the employees coming into contact with users, the principles of correct approach, helpfulness, seeking possibilities and sources for meeting the requests or, if needed, also providing advice on non-statistical matters.

Ways to communicate with the users:

  • press conferences with representatives of the printed and electronic media and press agencies,
  • thematic debates with financial and bank analysts and journalists of professional economic magazines, enabling more detailed communication and interpretation of the development trends, methodological changes, causes for data revision, etc.,
  • conferences and workshops focusing on expert and topical statistical themes,
  • planned staff meetings of the competency units and of the Regional Offices of the SO SR with the selected users of statistical information from various professional and scientific areas, as well as with potential users of statistical information (e.g. secondary school and university students),
  • working contacts of the Office experts with the experts in particular fields (e.g. with representatives of banks, ministries, other central bodies, academic community, research institutions, business sphere),
  • meetings with representatives of the reporting units focused on information and instructions according to the areas of statistical survey,
  • visits of customers at units providing statistical information (counselling is provided by the employees of these unit; in specific cases, employees of the competency units are asked for consultation),
  • visits and the use of the Library´s services; the attendance borrowings of publications and study room are available for external visitors,
  • getting feedbacks using a survey focused on user satisfaction with the statistical products and services of the Office; the survey is ensured by the Statistical Product and Service Unit in the form of on-line questionnaire in collaboration with the Unit of informatics and the Infostat, in 2-year periodicity,
  • monitoring the Office´s public credibility; the survey is realized by the independent external agency usually in 2-year periodicity.

In personal contacts of the Office staff, the focus is placed mainly on understanding the user needs, rate of their satisfaction level, application of interesting suggestions in statistical practice, explaining the importance and role of statistics and its use by the expert and the lay public.

Provision of products and services free of charge and against payment

The Act on State Statistics No. 540/2001 Coll. as amended in Article 31, Paragraphs 1 and 2 define the user group to whom statistical information is provided free of charge, in agreed extent, time and periodicity. Besides these cases, according to the Paragraph 3 of the Act, the Office is eligible for the provision of statistical information obtained by statistical surveys for a price agreed in line with the pricing rules and to anyone requesting it.

The following products and services are provided , of charge:

  • information published on the Office’s website,
  • press conference materials, offering documents (e.g. the Catalogue of Publications), various information and promotional materials focused on specific activities and new products and services of the Office,
  • some publications and journal in one copy to selected group of recipients in line with the decision of competency units,
  • outputs based on standard customer requirements including methodological information, if the preparation does not exceed one hour,
  • standard information provided by the Eurostat to ministries and other central bodies, the National Bank of Slovakia, international bodies and organizations, local state administration authorities and territorial self-government bodies,
  • retrievals from the Register of Organisations provided upon request to ministries and other central bodies, the National Bank of Slovakia, local state administration authorities and territorial self-government bodies,
  • non-standard statistical outputs, including metadata and methodological information, e.g. for necessary needs of the management sphere, based on the obligation resulting from the SR Government Resolutions or international treaties; however the complexity of their processing and capacities of competency units are taken into account,
  • methodological and advisory services of the units providing information services to the users of statistical information,
  • use of the Office’s library services,
  • statistical information provision by phone, including methodological information (in case, the answering of the desired information requires more time, it is necessary to inform the applicant about submitting the application in paper or in electronic form).

The following products and services are against payment:

  • non-standard outputs based on the user requirements whose preparation exceeds one hour; this concerns processing of statistical forms which are not published on the Office’s website and in publications; it is an extended range of indicators, more detailed sorting, e.g. according to the economic activities, regions, types of ownership, legal form etc.,
  • retrievals from the Register of Organisations provided by the Office or by the Infostat, provided on the basis of orders,
  • provision of anonymised microdata sets for scientific purposes according to the Directive on the Protection of Confidential Statistical Data SME-1/2015,
  • publications provided on the basis of orders or by direct sale.

Price policy>

A unified price policy is applied within the Office. The prices of products and services are identical for all users. In case of large-scale data processing a discount can be provided. The payment can be made by bank transfer, postal order or in cash.

Considering that all the activities of the Office, from surveying, through the processing and information dissemination are covered by the state budget, the charge for the statistical information itself is not included in the price.

Therefore, the prices cover the costs of services associated with the preparation of statistical information for the users. This concerns the time required for data processing, the used material, print and printing services, distribution costs (e.g. postal and courier services), professional and programming works in ensuring the retrievals from the internal databases and non-standard processings, information delivery on a special medium, in the required data format etc.

Marketing

In the conditions of the Office, as the central body of state administration, the objective of marketing is to identify and meet the existing and expected user requirements as much as possible. It concerns the establishment of relations with users and with the general public, detecting their needs which are taken into account in the preparation of new statistical products.

Copyright and licence agreements

According to the EU legislation, the copyrights are applied not only to the statistical publications as a work but also to various types of information from statistical databases created by statistical offices. The released publications should also be protected by the Copyright Act. The Copyright Act No. 185/2015 Coll. as amended, does not regulate the relations arising from the creation, use and dissemination of statistical publications, but it covers the relations arising from creation or design and use of a computer program or a database in order to protect the rights and legitimate interests of the computer program author, database author or database creator.

The Copyright Act enables the dissemination of databases:

  • by granting the author’s consent for using its content within the extent of the consent granted, without the obligation to pay a reward to the author,
  • by granting the author’s consent for using its content within the extent of the consent granted, with the obligation to pay a reward to the author,
  • without the author’s consent for further use of the database by authorised users, without the obligation to pay a reward to the author.

The Office can conclude the licence agreements in written form and which must concern the manner of the database use, extent and duration of the licence, reward or the way of its determination, if the free provision of the licence is not arranged. The licence can be exclusive, i.e. it is granted only to one final user, without further possibility of the licence provision to a third party, or non-exclusive, i.e. it may be granted to more users as well.

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