Code of Practice

Peer Review 2023 / The Principles of the Code of Practice


Quality has always been of great importance in official statistics. Users must be able to trust the results of official statistics. The European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP) defines uniform quality standards that are binding for all statistical institutes of the European Statistical System (ESS).

Compliance with the Code of Practice is monitored by the EU bodies and the statistical institutes of the ESS through systematic self-assessments and checks by technical experts, known as peer reviews. A peer review will take place in Switzerland and at the FSO from 20 to 24 March 2023.

The experts from other European statistical offices will review the quality of the FSO and the Swiss statistics system, in particular the implementation of the 16 principles of the Code of Practice.

Here we present the 16 principles of the CoP:

Principle 1: Professional Independence

Professional independence of statistical authorities from other policy, regulatory or administrative departments and bodies, as well as from private sector operators, ensures the credibility of European Statistics.

Principle 1bis: Coordination and cooperation

National Statistical Institutes and Eurostat ensure the coordination of all activities for the development, production and dissemination of European statistics at the level of the national statistical system and the European Statistical System, respectively. Statistical authorities actively cooperate within the partnership of the European Statistical System, so as to ensure the development, production and dissemination of European statistics.

Principle 2: Mandate for Data Collection and Access to Data

Statistical authorities have a clear legal mandate to collect and access information from multiple data sources for European statistical purposes. Administrations, enterprises and households, and the public at large may be compelled by law to allow access to or deliver data for European statistical purposes at the request of statistical authorities.

Principle 3: Adequacy of Resources

The resources available to statistical authorities are sufficient to meet European Statistics requirements.

Principle 4: Commitment to Quality

Statistical authorities are committed to quality. They systematically and regularly identify strengths and weaknesses to continuously improve process and output quality.

Principle 5: Statistical Confidentiality and Data Protection

The privacy of data providers, the confidentiality of the information they provide, its use only for statistical purposes and the security of the data are absolutely guaranteed.

Principle 6: Impartiality and Objectivity

Statistical authorities develop, produce and disseminate European Statistics respecting scientific independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably.

Principle 7: Sound Methodology

Sound methodology underpins quality statistics. This requires adequate tools, procedures and expertise.

Principle 8: Appropriate Statistical Procedures

Appropriate statistical procedures, implemented throughout the statistical processes, underpin quality statistics.

Principle 9: Non-excessive Burden on Respondents

The response burden is proportionate to the needs of the users and is not excessive for respondents. The statistical authorities monitor the response burden and set targets for its reduction over time.

Principle 10: Cost Effectiveness

Resources are used effectively.

Principle 11: Relevance

European Statistics meet the needs of users.

Principle 12: Accuracy and Reliability

European Statistics accurately and reliably portray reality.

Principle 13: Timeliness and Punctuality

European Statistics are released in a timely and punctual manner.

Principle 14: Coherence and Comparability

European Statistics are consistent internally, over time and comparable between regions and countries; it is possible to combine and make joint use of related data from different data sources.

Principle 15: Accessibility and Clarity

European Statistics are presented in a clear and understandable form, released in a suitable and convenient manner, available and accessible on an impartial basis with supporting metadata and guidance.


Federal Statistical Office Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuch√Ętel



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