Visit to Statistics New Zealand

As part of the program to modernize BPS, a delegation of five BPS employees undertook a one-week study trip to the national statistics office of New Zealand in May. The members of the delegation which were led by Dudy Sulaiman, were Teguh Pramono, Mirza Said, Sri Andayani, Boni Ictiarto and Owners Agent project manager Malcolm Foo. The purpose of the trip was to learn lessons from the transformation of Statistics New Zealand that BPS can apply to its own transformation program, and to make contacts for possible future technical assistance.statistics-house

Although a small country, New Zealand leads the world in a number of significant ways. It ranks in the top 10 countries on the UNDP’s Human Development Index, a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, standards of living, and quality of life for countries worldwide. It is ranked the most socially advanced country in the world by social and environmental measures, according to the Social Progress Index. It is a country of 4.5 million people with an agricultural sector that provides enough food for 100 million people each year, and exports 95% of agricultural production overseas. And importantly for BPS, Statistics New Zealand created a process model that from which the Generic Statistical Business Process Model (GSBPM) grew, a conceptual framework approved by the UN in 2008 for national statistics offices worldwide.

The GSBPM is widely accepted by the global official statistics community, and provides a basis for statistical organizations to agree on standard terminology to aid discussions on developing statistical systems and processes. The customers of national statistics offices, from government policy makers to the business community to the general public, need better data faster. National statistics offices face growing competition from private sector and non-profit organizations that are becoming better and better at providing useful data to the people who need it. Meanwhile, most national statistics offices face budget constraints every year.

Driven by these challenges, Statistics New Zealand has undertaken a major change in the way it conducts the business of official statistics. It has changed its processes, systems and organization to focus more on its customers. Its purpose is to “empower decision by adding value to New Zealand’s most important data” and to double the value of data provided to New Zealand by 2018.

Some lessons the BPS delegation learned were:

  • Not all executives are trained statisticians –some of the executive team are public sector managers rather than statisticians.
  • Much of IT was outsourced as a service – for example, web platforms as a service and infrastructure as a service
  • The reorganization moved away from traditional siloes headed by Deputy Statisticians (such as Macroeconomic and Environment Statistics, Social and Population Statistics, and Industry and Labor Statistics) to an integrated model where Deputy Statisticians lead groups including Customer Strategy and Delivery, Architecture, Design and Program Governance, and Operations). The new organization promotes better integration across statistical functions and product lines and enables the sharing of statistical infrastructure where optimal.

The BPS delegation was welcomed by the Chief Statistician and her executive team with a traditional Maori ceremony and song, and the study trip closed with a traditional Maori blessing and an exchange of gifts. The message is clear – the factors that drove Statistics New Zealand to modernize its operations, are the same that BPS is facing now. BPS must progress on its journey to modernize and transform its operations, technology and operations in order to remain a top tier official statistics agency in Asia and the source of timely and reliable data for Indonesia’s decision-makers.

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