Official statistics must be universally accessible free of charge

Independence and impartiality are core values for maintaining public confidence in the statistics.

  • One way to ensure this is to make the official statistics accessible to everyone at the same time. Publication dates and times of statistics are announced in advance.
  • In addition, there must be full transparency about data sources and production methods, i.e. informative and accessible documentation for users of the statistics. Statistics will always entail some degree of uncertainty, and it is important to provide information about possible sources of error and uncertainty.

The statistics shall be adapted to user needs and cover relevant societal perspectives. They must be timely, accurate, clear, easily accessible and comparable over time and between countries. Accessibility is ensured through, for example, the use of open data standards and machine-readable formats.

International cooperation improves statistics

The need for statistics changes over time in line with societal development, and is driven by new technology, as well as local and global trends. Challenges related to sustainability, climate and environment, inequality and unforeseen crises such as pandemics are all current topics that need to be covered in the official statistics. Cooperation with other countries is vital, since many of the issues that the statistics are intended to shed light on are of global concern.

The development of official statistics is largely an international matter. Statistical standards and definitions are developed in a partnership between international organisations, such as the UN, the OECD and the EU, and the statistical authorities in the member countries. International quality frameworks provide common quality requirements for official statistics. The UN has 10 principles for official statistics, and in Europe, all EU and EFTA countries must comply with the European Statistics Code of Practice, which sets the standard for the institutional environment, statistical processes and statistical output. The requirements of the Statistics Act are in accordance with this Code of Practice.

Many of the statistics reported to international organisations such as the EU, the UN and the OECD are also Norwegian official statistics. User needs and public interest are documented for these statistics, and the statistical processes are in line with international standards and quality requirements. Statistics produced as part of the obligations under the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement are included in the statistical programme.

Statistics Norway shall coordinate the development, production and dissemination of official statistics in Norway and prepare an annual public report for the Ministry of Finance on the quality of official statistics.

Section 5 of the Statistics Act. Requirements regarding official statistics

1. Official statistics shall be developed, produced and disseminated in a professionally independent, impartial, objective, reliable and cost-effective manner.

2. The development, production and dissemination of official statistics shall be based on uniform standards and harmonised methods. The statistics shall be relevant, accurate, timely, punctual, accessible and clear, comparable and coherent.