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Ensuring cost-effectiveness

As a public sector agency, cost-effectiveness is critical in producing official statistics. The Official Statistics System will be cost effective when the right statistics are produced at the right level of quality now and for the future, there is limited duplication of effort across all contributors to official statistics (producers, respondents, users), and outputs are delivered at the lowest practical cost over the medium term.

We ensure official statistics are coordinated and can fully describe New Zealand without duplicating effort or providing statistics that do not meet the needs of users. We develop frameworks and monitor adherence to the Official Statistics System Principles and Protocols to ensure official statistics are trustworthy and relevant for New Zealanders.

Our activities in maintaining the willing supply of information aim to reduce the load on respondents through the increased use of administrative data, to make the process of submitting information easier, and to demonstrate the value of official statistics produced with this information. In this way, time and money is saved while maintaining the willing supply of respondent information. A significant achievement during 2007/08 was signing-off our Respondent Load Strategy. Additionally, we reduced the duplication of effort involved in reporting energy production statistics, with the Ministry of Economic Development now being the sole agency to produce these statistics. Meeting target response rates has been proving difficult in the Household Labour Force Survey, increasing the cost of collection.

Our activities in producing fit-for-purpose statistics aim to strike the right balance between relevance, cost, and quality of data in a transparent manner. We consult with users and develop domain plans to guide investment decisions and form the basis of our approach to the development of statistics. During 2007/08 we continued this programme of work, with the development of a domain plan for the agriculture, horticulture and forestry sector and commencement of consultation for a domain plan for the environment sector.

Our activities in facilitating access include efforts by our marketing team to promote the availability and potential use of statistics. During 2007/08, under our Making More Information Freely Available initiative, we made several products and releases freely available.

Maintaining an enduring national statistical resource will allow us to develop and maintain a central repository for all Tier 1 statistics, to ensure the correct information is stored for use in the future. During 2007/08 we continued to progress archival and retention planning for Tier 1 statistics.

Up-to-date technology is important for the cost-effective collection and production of statistics. Our IT and statistical infrastructure is ageing and past its useful life. A reliance on short-term fixes creates production quality risks and can result in delays to the release of statistics. The mix of dated systems and lack of investment in new systems means we have inadequate data on the real cost of maintaining and sustaining a knowledge-based organisation. In 2008/09, we intend to improve our ability to measure our cost-effectiveness.

Measuring our performance

Our statements of success for this priority are:

  • users’ satisfaction with official statistics’ usefulness, relevance and reliability is maintained at a high level
  • the cost of producing official statistics decreases for government, users and respondents.

We measure our success in achieving these outcomes through the performance measures outlined in table 9.

Table 9

Progress towards cost effectiveness

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