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Workshop on Measuring and Comparing the Quality of Life within Europe. Professor Denise Lievesley Head of School of Social Science and Public Policy, King’s College London and Chair, European Statistical Advisory Committee. The European Statistical Advisory Committee.

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workshop on measuring and comparing the quality of life within europe

Workshop on Measuring and Comparing the Quality of Life within Europe

Professor Denise Lievesley

Head of School of Social Science and Public Policy, King’s College London


Chair, European Statistical Advisory Committee

european statistics code of practice 2005
European Statistics Code of Practice 2005

PRINCIPLE 11: RELEVANCEEuropean statistics must meet the needs of users.- Processes are in place to consult users, monitor the relevance and practical utility ofexisting statistics in meeting their needs, and advise on their emerging needs andpriorities.– Priority needs are being met and reflected in the work programme.– User satisfaction surveys are undertaken periodically.

Brussels January 2013

the esac mandate
The ESAC – Mandate
  • Committee shall assist the European Parliament / Council / Commission in ensuring that user requirements and the costs borne by information providers and producers are taken into account in coordinating the strategic objectives and priorities of the Community’s statistical information policy
  • Inaugural meeting on June 2009

Brussels January 2013

the esac tasks
The ESAC – Tasks


on Community statistical programme, in particular on its

  • relevance to requirements of European integration
  • relevance to Community activities
  • balance as regards priorities and resources and possibility to re-prioritise statistical work
  • adequacy of resources for its implementation and appropriateness to users’ needs
  • costs and possibilities of reducing response burden

own-initiative opinions/reports on user requirements and costs borne by data providers

Brussels January 2013

the esac tasks continued
The ESAC – Tasks (continued)


  • Point out necessary new statistical activities
  • Advise the Commission how to improve the relevance of Community statistics to users

Brussels January 2013

relations with community institutions other bodies
Relations with Community institutions/other bodies

At request of the EP/Council/Commission, ESAC shall deliver an opinion relating to user requirements and costs incurred by data suppliers in

  • development of the Community’s statistical information policy
  • priorities of the Community statistical programme
  • evaluation of existing statistics
  • data quality and
  • dissemination policy

Brussels January 2013

the esac tools
  • Plenary meetings
  • Establishment of temporary working parties
  • Commission of studies
  • Organisation of seminars

For more information:

Brussels January 2013

the esac composition

11 directly appointed by

  • European Parliament
  • Council
  • Eur. Economic and Social Committee
  • Committee of the Regions
  • European Central Bank
  • ESSC (2 members)
  • Businesseurope
  • ETUC
  • Eur. Data Protection Supervisor
  • 12 appointed by Commission
  • users
  • respondents
  • other stakeholders

Director-General of ESTAT

The ESAC – Composition

24 members, appointed for 5 years, renewable once:

Brussels January 2013

importance of partnership between official statisticians and a broader user community
Importance of partnership between official statisticians and a broader ‘user’ community
  • Building trust – a prerequisite for the collection and use of data
  • Advocating for the resources
  • Sharing data – not all collected by official agencies
  • Creating expertise, adding value
  • Communicating the data (even if they are uncomfortable for our governments)
  • Building statistically literate communities

Brussels January 2013

welcome this consultation
Welcome this consultation
  • What are the needs for data across Europe which focus on the quality of life?
  • What do we mean by the quality of life?
  • What data already exist which can be utilised?
  • How do we measure quality of life?
  • Who will use the data and for what purposes?
  • How will the data be made available?

Brussels January 2013

european dimension
European dimension
  • Understanding needs for European data
  • Influencing the decisions concerning European practice
  • Sharing experiences across countries

Brussels January 2013

purposes of cross national ie european data
Purposes of cross-national (ie European)data
  • To aggregate across national boundaries for a regional picture which meets European policy needs and which provides a resource for European research
  • To learn from one another (contrast and similarity)
  • To build a greater global understanding through comparison
  • To accelerate progress through sharing resources
  • To make research more credible/ defensible
  • To distance the research from the political process (tension – policy relevance v. autonomy)

Brussels January 2013


We already have a rich array of data describing the social circumstances of our populations

  • Over-attention on economic variables to the exclusion of others
  • Over-attention on nation as unit of analysis

Brussels January 2013


Evidence that inequalities within our societies are growing, exacerbated by the recessions

  • Leading to disruption and insecurity
  • Countries with the greatest homogeneity achieve the most
  • Why should the poor and disadvantaged, whether in rich or poor countries, not have the opportunities to experience positive emotions and life satisfaction?

Brussels January 2013


Concern about an unrelenting pursuit of growth

  • At the expense of the poorest
  • And of the environment

(the two are interconnected)

Brussels January 2013


What you measure matters

Brussels January 2013

sridhar venkatapuram
Sridhar Venkatapuram
  • there is now political interest in developing new indicators to assess how well or poorly the lives of citizens are going that are more informative than macro-economic indicators such as GDP.
  • there have been advances in measurement techniques to more efficiently capture people’s daily experiences of emotions.
  • researchers are identifying different dimensions or kinds of subjective wellbeing, and their links to health, mortality, productivity, cost-savings and environmental sustainability.
  • economists and policy makers see potential for using subjective wellbeing data in policy design, monitoring and evaluation of programs, and to better target scarce resources.
  • there is excitement about the potential for behavioural economics research--the psychology of decision making under uncertainty--to inform the design of wellbeing public policy.

Brussels January 2013

better utilisation of what we have
Better utilisation of what we have
  • Fresh data collection takes time and resources
  • Current financial constraints are impacting upon our ability to collect new data
  • Secondary data analysis can take place in resource–constrained (including a time-constrained) environment
  • Compliance costs important especially in small countries and in surveys of elites, businesses, institutions

Brussels January 2013

  • So essential to build policies in our countries which address the quality of life of our citizens as well as environmental degradation
  • Developments must be underpinned by sound statistical methodology
  • Partnership with user community is vital to build the trust necessary to enhance our understanding of the progress of our societies

Brussels January 2013