Reducing the respond burden through improved data reporting
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REDUCING THE RESPOND BURDEN THROUGH IMPROVED DATA REPORTING. Invited paper, Statistics Lithuania, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Federal Statistical Office, Germany. This theme has been treated on the view of the following issues:. What is the real cost of respond burden

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Invited paper, Statistics Lithuania, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Federal Statistical Office, Germany

This theme has been treated on the view of the following issues:

  • What is the real cost of respond burden

  • What are the legal and political mandates for burden reduction

  • How can we use the administrative sources to reduce the respond burden

  • How can SO through cooperation with public agencies and business community reduce the burden

  • How data quality can be affected by reducing the respond burden

Legal and political mandates to reduce respond burdens

  • Both countries are making use of the their Statistical Law as well as other in home governmental acts that are linked with the objective to reduce respond burden

  • FSOG and SL are making use of the “European statistical Code of Practice” principle 9

Principal 9, Code of Practice

“ The reporting burden should be proportionate to the needs of users and should not be excessive for respondents. The statistical authority monitors the response burden and set target for its reduction over time.”

  • To limit the range of demands to ES only

  • To spread the burden through the population through appropriate sampling techniques

  • To facilitate the business returns information by electronic means

  • To use best estimate where there are no data available

  • To use the administrative sources where possible

  • To share data within the Statistical authorities in order to avoid multiplication.

The use of integrated administrative data can reduce respond burden

  • The legal framework that exists in each country allows to undertake initiative to improve the use of administrative data

  • The designing of midterm strategies are in place, agreed by both parties means public agencies NSO

  • Setting up the working groups

Issues faced in sharing working experience with administrative agencies

  • Technical work environment should be compatible

  • Definitions used have to approach to the same perception

  • Clarifying time constraints

  • Using the administrative data to assess the quality of business surveys

How can increase the cooperation with business communities

  • Make business awareness about their responsibilities in decision making process.

  • Creating facilities through user friendly data reporting.

  • Ensure the respondents for their confidential data and accuracy

  • Creating a sustainable dialogue with business community.

Reduction of respond burden affects the data quality

  • Creation of the DWH for

    • Better assessing data

    • Keep track of enterprises life

    • Data sharing across collection boundaries

  • Apply the appropriate statistical methodology

Links between respondent burden reduction/cost efficiency/time

  • Not measured in value but measured in time

  • NSO are decreasing the time use of business for data reporting

  • Designation of new questionnaires which allow less visits to the enterprise

The experience of SLHow to maintain the balance

  • For Statistics Lithuania it is very important to formulate special policies toward the fulfillment of the statistical service obligations, which came out from the basic articles of the EU Treaties.

  • To create a equilibrium between national and European requirements SL initiated concrete strategic action at organizational and technological level. In this context it was important to deeply observe the burden created to the respondents, which is very delicate issue for a small country as Lithuania.

Measurement taken to reduce the burden of respondents

  • The reduce of respond burden for SL is part of the Strategic Document 2005-2007.

  • SL efforts are more concentrating on reducing respond burdens in business than hh.

  • A working group has been set up comprising representatives from LBC, LTEA to realize a study on designing the respond burden and then trying to plan the reduction of it.

  • SL has as a definition of respondents burden the time spent in the completing the statistical questionnaires. Assessing the burden by the number of respondents receiving statistical questionnaires and the number of indicators inside each

  • Decrease the number of questionnaires sent to the enterprises

  • Set up partnership with the respondent

  • Creation of favorable and secure conditions

  • Canceling of the statistical surveys is one of the ways chosen but very complicated. This also need a very careful revision of indicators in each statistical domain

  • Methodological solution was applied to calculate annual indicators based on short term statistics and administrative data sources. These efforts released 37,000 respondents.

  • Knowing the size their enterprises they are taking care about the rotation in sample based surveys, which given the size of the country is difficult to be maintained

Use of the administrative data

  • This is made possible although because a lot of progress is made in other public administration agencies

  • Data are used: preparation of statistical indicators, estimation of non response, auxiliary information, helping sampling plans, updating statistical register, producing flash estimation. SL is re aware about the limitation that those data are having.

  • An IDW has been established in the Economic Analysis Division of the Government of Lithuania. SL has been called since the beginning to identify the indicators that statisticians need.

  • The analyses between difference on administrative information and statistical surveys was made.

Steps undertaken

  • European Quality Declaration has inspired a regular meeting with respondents, and also has contributing to better understand the need for statistical information. Respondents address themselves directly to SL

  • Technological solution has been introduced such as electronic questionnaires, which aims to be cover a wide range of questionnaires.

  • A new project on electronic data preparation and transmission of business accountancy is on going, still need more financial support to be brought up to the end

  • The reduce of respond burden need careful analyses, cancellation or merging questionnaires has to bee looked carefully

  • Only after some years of work SL has the following results from 53, 000 respondents went to 43,000. Statistical survey for enterprise is reduced to 4.

  • SL is taking care to improve the way how they designing the questionnaires by canceling and approving new ones.

  • The number of indicators has also been carefully studied. In 2005 the number of indicators was reduced by 28%.

Activities planned for the future

  • More intensive use of the administrative data

  • Continuing annual revision of the questionnaires

  • Continuing development of NSS

  • Using sample techniques more widely

  • Increase awareness among respondents

  • Preparing a methodology for an indicator to evaluate the respond burden

The experience of ABSThe use of the administrative data and smarter statistical methodology

  • Since 1996 the Commonwealth Government established the Small Business Deregulation Task force which set the following recommendation

  • Setting a target to reduce 20% burden

  • Agencies would be subject of o intensive review in the terms of their need, relevance, methodology and respond burden

  • The creation of a Business Survey Charter setting up the rights and obligation of business selected by ABS surveys


  • Statistical Clearing House has reviewed 724 Survey, 274 ABS 430 non ABS. Many had changed their methodologies aiming the reduce of respond burden.

  • Business Survey Charter has been widely promulgated by ABS. Now is available on website. This has been used as a tool of communication between ABS and business.

  • ABS is in process of developing a Household Survey Charter.

  • In 2000 the Commonwealth Gov. introduced changes in Australian taxation system. All the changes are being used to reduce the respond burden.

  • Introducing the Timesaver Initiative the Gov required from agencies to reporton the time taken by business to complete their forms. ABS has introduced a time taken questions and aggregates data are produced.

Strategic Initiatives

  • The initiation of Business Statistic Innovation Program at 2002 aiming to extend at ABS statistical leadership, improving data quality, efficiencies of business survey, increasing opportunities for ABS staff.

  • At the third year of transition at the ABS has in place a new form of organization, a new unit entitled Economic Statistical Data Center.

  • The unit is serving in managing the interactions with providers as well as securing qualitative statistical survey frames and provider management inputs

  • The use of one methodology by ESDC is total approach management, which improved a lot the standard correspondence with respondent.

  • Another methodological improvement is better targeting on non-response during the response phase

  • The putting in place of Provider Integration Management System enabled the tracking of Contact between ABS and business providers.

  • The set of state-of-the-art call centre telephone to better handle incoming calls from business

  • The set up of Input Data Warehouse serving in managing the interactions with providers as well as securing qualitative statistical survey frames and provider management inputs be assessed by the ABS staff

  • ABS has in place a sample rotation methodology for economic survey utilizing the ABS Business register and taking care about the SMB

  • The developing of the ABS***for making great user of the auxiliary information

    • Using more update information from administrative data

    • Using the data for auxiliary benchmark in generalization of regression estimation

    • Improve sampling efficiency and sampling frame quality

    • Using indirect estimation methods to generate statistical out put for small domain

    • Improve estimation of time series

  • All these new technologies progressively improved the degree of tailoring and customized of contact with data providers. ABS has different strategies for large scale business and small and medium one.

  • Efforts to capture the information in the way the providers like the best are in process. ABS would like to support a strategy of multiple communication channels. But studies need to devoted because not a single collection can afford all the channels

  • The full functionality of IDW will enable the development of sophisticated modeling and estimating data.

The Use of administrative data

  • The Statistical Act allows ABS to coordinate with official bodies in data collection and taking care of the duplication

  • The recent changes helped the ABS to better organized its work in regard to data collection

  • Business Income tax are used to improve the Quality of NA

  • Limitations of the source such as the identifying the multi location business, excluding the non profit organization

  • The use of Business Activity Statement has helped in the improvement of survey efficiency, especially in the Quarterly Business Indicators Survey.

  • Australian Business Register is used from ABS to published twice per year the counts of businesses. The limitation of the ABR brings to the implementation of the Business Entries and Exit Survey

  • Work has started to develop a Business Longitudinal Database, using ABR as a frame and combining administrative data with survey data

  • Personal Income Administrative Data are used but very carefully, and some aggregated indicators are produced

In process activities

  • Close working relations with governmental agencies to better understand and use the relevant data

  • Promote the use of administrative data within the national statistical system

  • Taking lead role in developing a frame work for describing data use in the National Data Network

  • Feedback the respondents on the use of statistical information and studying more deeply then profiles and the request of small and medium business

German: eStatistik.core

  • A internet-based Common On-Line Raw Data Entry integrated in the government “Deutschland Online”

    • Core.server

    • Core.connect

    • Core.reporter

  • Objective is to provide efficient methods for generating and reporting from ERP

Motivation and Beginning

  • From the subject matter perspective, standardizing questionnaires via internet based solutions facilitate assessing and uploading raw data

  • Distributed ERP systems were difficult to be automated

  • Brainstorming about an XML format for data raw called DatML/RAW a cross-survey document type used for a common user data interface

  • Workgroup establishment which its main purpose was to find ways for easing the burden respondents

  • eStatistik is a strategic initiative aimed at bringing statistical services online and modernizing the statistical data collection/production/dissemination


  • Improving

    • Creation of tools type client side validation of raw data

    • Standardization and unification of formats, software re-use

    • Electronic transmission, data collection infrastructure

  • Benefits

    • High quality of data

    • Timeliness and accuracy of data production

    • Raise of reputation of SO as a modern, customer-oriented service and information provider

Requirement and Limitations

  • Enterprises must have internet access

    • Survey-specific work should be minimized (generic software components creation)

  • Guarantee the metadata accuracy and validity in sustaining the data collection

  • Applying XML formats (to reduce size of data) in all documents type


  • eStatistik.core is a new approach in improving data collection from businesses

    • XML-based data and metadata objects which make possible generic automated reporting and collection procedures

  • Contribution and support from the targeted user community is indispensable


  • In your presentation you present the idea of elaborating a harmonized indicator among the countries to measure the respond burden (SL)

  • After these years what are your experiences on IDW (SL)

  • Has it been necessary for ABS to compromise on range and quality of data obtained by this process?

  • By addressing the response burden, has ABS considered just its own surveys?

  • Which are your perception of limitation working to integrate the primary and secondary data (FSOG)


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