The Statistical Council is an advisory body for the producers of statistics – Statistics Estonia and the Bank of Estonia – and for the Ministry of Finance. It is established by the order of the Government of the Republic issued on the basis of the Official Statistics Act. The objective of the Statistical Council is to ensure, by giving advice and delivering opinions, the functioning of the official statistical system. On the one hand, Statistical Council is related to the production of official statistics. On the other hand, it is related to the users of official statistics, and thereby to the public in general. First of all, the Statistical Council is expected to strengthen the independence of official statistics, to make the production of statistics more transparent and to include the society into the statistics production process on a wider scale.
The task of the Statistical Council is
- To advise a producer of official statistics on the compilation of the official statistical programme
- To give Statistics Estonia recommendations for coordinating the production of official statistics
- To deliver the Minister of Finance its opinion about the official statistical programme and amendments thereto before their approval
- To advise a producer of official statistics on the production of official statistics, including implementation of statistical principles and quality criteria
- To give the Minister of Finance an estimate about the costs of production of official statistics and present it in its annual report
- To give the Minister of Finance recommendations and deliver its opinion in the sphere of statistical legislation
- To express its opinion about the suitability of a candidate to the committee conducting the public competition for filling the post of Director General of Statistics Estonia and to the Minister of Finance about the release of the Director General of Statistics Estonia from office
The Statistical Council is composed of 13 members: representatives from Statistics Estonia, the Bank of Estonia and Data Protection Inspectorate, as well as ten members from among the representatives of users and respondents and from among experts. Experts to the Statistical Council have been appointed so that the experts in statistics, demography, social sphere, environment, economy and agriculture are represented. The work of the Statistical Council is managed by the Chairman. The term of powers of the Statistical Council's membership is four years. The current membership of the Statistical Council was given powers on 13.01.2011.
The Statistical Council submits to the Government of the Republic an annual report on Statistical Council’s activities for a calendar year by 30 April of the following year. The annual report is submitted to the Government of the Republic through the Minister of Finance.
The Statistical Council’s Rules of Procedure are established by the Government of the Republic. Meetings of the Statistical Council are held at least once per three months. The minutes of meetings are made public.
A body having similar tasks has been set up in all Member States of the European Union, excl. Latvia. In Estonia, the tradition of setting up a Statistical Council was re-established by the redaction of the Official Statistics Act which took effect on 01.08.2010. From 1922 to the Soviet time, an advisory Statistical Council managed by the Secretary of State functioned under the State Statistical Central Bureau.