Documents considered by the Committee on 12 October 2016 Contents

10Statistics: Persons and households data

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested

Document details

Proposed Regulation establishing a common framework for European statistics relating to persons and households

Legal base

Article 338(1) TFEU, ordinary legislative procedure, QMV

Department

Office for National Statistics

Document Numbers

(38029), 11774/16 + ADDs 1–3, COM(16) 551

10.1The Commission proposes, in the context of the European Statistical System (in which EU and EEA/EFTA Member States cooperate), a Regulation to introduce Integrated European Social Statistics that is, a common framework for EU statistics relating to persons and households, based on data at individual level collected from samples. The framework would cover seven domains (surveys)—labour market, income and living conditions, health, education and training, use of information and communication technologies, time use, and consumption.

10.2The Government tells us that, subject to the exit negotiations, it will support the main objectives of the proposal (the modernisation of social statistics and an integrated approach to survey design). It notes that as long as the UK is obliged to, or otherwise chooses to, produce social statistics for the European Statistical System there are clear benefits over the current EU statutory framework. However, it draws our attention to several reservations it has about the proposed Regulation, which it will seek to resolve during negotiation of the proposal.

10.3We should like the Government to tell us whether it intends to seek continued participation in the European Statistical System as part of the Brexit deal. While keeping this document under scrutiny, we should also like to hear from the Government about progress in addressing the concerns it has expressed to us about the aspects of the proposed Regulation, as set out in paragraph 10.13 below.

Full details of the documents

Proposed Regulation establishing a common framework for European statistics relating to persons and households, based on data at individual level collected from samples: (38029), 11774/16 + ADDs 1–3, COM(16) 551.

Background

10.4The Commission’s statistical office, Eurostat, and the National Statistical Authorities of EU and EEA/EFTA Member States cooperate in the European Statistical System (ESS). The ESS requires adoption of European Statistical Programmes (ESP) of duration of up to five years. The current programme covers the period 2013–17. The ESP provides for the framework for development production and dissemination of EU statistics, the main fields of activity and the objectives of the actions envisaged. It sets out the priority statistical requirements from the users’ perspective, balances them with the resources available in the ESS and takes account of the burden on respondents to statistical inquiries. The ESP is delivered through legislation or by written agreements between Eurostat and the National Statistical Authorities. Eurostat sets out annual programmes of work for each year of the programme, with timetables for new legislation and statistical initiatives.

10.5At present the social statistics outputs of the ESP are derived from seven separate surveys, each with its own legal basis, standards, classifications, precision requirements, transmission schedules, etc. The surveys are carried out in each Member State with the aim of EU harmonisation of national outputs. For some of the surveys the topics, variables and modules are specified, and for others the requirements for statistical results are specified. But there is little in the way of cross-survey integration or coordination of data collection across Member States. This fragmentation means that it is difficult to modernise European Social Statistics as a whole to meet changing user demand at the EU level.

The document

10.6Since 2011, Eurostat and the other members of the ESS have been working on a new design for European Social Statistics. Integrated European Social Statistics (IESS) is the outcome of this work. This proposed Regulation would provide a common framework for EU statistics relating to persons and households, based on data at individual level collected from samples, a single framework for seven domains of social statistics, that is, IESS.

10.7Each domain would correspond approximately to the seven existing social surveys, with the single framework specifying:

10.8The seven surveys to be incorporated into the seven IESS domains are:

10.9The proposal:

The Government’s view

10.10In his Explanatory Memorandum of 12 September 2016 the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Chris Skidmore) says that, subject to the exit negotiations, the Government will support the main objectives of the IESS proposal (the modernisation of social statistics and an integrated approach to survey design).

10.11The Minister comments that:

10.12On the financial implications the Minister says that, while the Commission suggests that integration, modernisation and harmonisation of the seven surveys would bring significant costs savings to Member States, the Office for National Statistics calculates that this proposal, if adopted, would incur an additional £7 million to £8 million of costs for the Office over the initial four year period, mainly due to the greater precision requirements of the two largest survey components (the former LFS and EU-SILC surveys).

10.13The Minister then tells us of the Government’s reservations about several aspects of the proposed Regulation and its intentions in regard to them, as follows:

10.14The Minister informs us that:

10.15Finally the Minister notes that the proposed Regulation incorporates sufficient safeguards on the use of Delegated Acts, including on additional burden, in line with the April 2016 Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation.

Previous Committee Reports

None.





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14 October 2016