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Assessing and understanding the value of official statistics

VOS publication cover

Any attempt to quantify how valuable official statistics are must begin by asking what is meant by value, and whose perceived value matters.

A Task Force established by the Conference of European Statisticians (CES) in 2019 explored these questions and reviewed potential ways of assessing and measuring the value of official statistical products and services.

The main conclusions of the work were:

  • Consumer-based approaches to value result in a different set of potential indicators than those arising from a more traditional, ‘production-based’ approach to value.
  • While production-based indicators can be very useful for operational and management purposes (including areas like quality and budgeting etc), they do not necessarily reflect the value of our outputs from the point of view of our customers.
  • Moving towards a consumer-centred approach to measuring value - and, by extension, to creating, maintaining and improving that value, which is the ultimate goal - necessitates a fundamental shift in direction.

The report of the Task Force was endorsed by CES at its plenary session in June 2022, following a consultation among all CES member countries:

This work builds on earlier work conducted by a CES Task Force which resulted in the 2018 Recommendations for Promoting, Measuring and Communicating the value of official statistics. It is planned to be taken forward in follow-up activities led by member countries to put into action the recommendations agreed upon in the Task Force's report.

Last update date: March 21, 2023