150 years FSO - Portrait FSO 2010
The hub of the Swiss statistical system
• The Federal Statistical Office (FSO) is the national service and competence centre for statistical observation in key areas of the State and society, the economy and the environment. The FSO directs the national statistical system, coordinating the statistical production of Government offices as well as cantonal and municipal statistical units, ensuring comparability of the data and drawing up the multi-year statistical programme commissioned by the Swiss
Government and Parliament.
• The FSO is the country’s main producer of statistics and maintains the Swiss statistics data pool. The FSO analyses, interprets and publishes statistical information.
• The FSO stands for crucial principles of statistical activity, such as data protection, scientific procedures, professional independence, topicality and service consciousness.
• The FSO is closely linked to the national and international statistical scene as well as to partners in the worlds of science, business and politics.
The Federal Statistical Office (FSO) which is part of the Federal Department of the Interior (FDI), employs approximately 550 people, 60% of whom hold a university or higher educational institution diploma. Additional staff is employed to cope with major surveys such as the Business Survey.
The native language of half of the staff is German. The remaining half speak French, Italian (4%) or another language (2%).
The average annual budget is CHF 165 million (including internal costs).
The FSO edits more than 400 publications annually (printed and/or in internet) and approximately 140 press releases as well as answering more than 100,000 enquiries.
Furthermore the FSO runs a very busy internet portal. In 2008 2.5 million visitors consulted 14.5 million pages.
A historical multimedia chronology of the FSO (french) http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/fr/index/150/13.html
Challenges facing statistics
Society's need for rapidly available statistics is growing, questions are becoming increasingly complex and international cooperation is steadily strengthening. Official statistics are faced with the ever-growing demands of increasing numbers of clients. Politics, government administration, the media, the economy, health, social and education systems are all asking for precise and quantitative information on the issues that concern them. The position of Switzerland in comparison with other countries and the way in which it is perceived internationally, is largely dependent upon statistical information. These statistics must be provided by Switzerland according to international standards.
However, the scope of official statistics is dictated by limited and even decreasing resources. As part of the government administration it is subject to cost cutting. In order to meet the increasing demands, official statistics has to use new technologies to the full, not least in order to reduce as much as possible the time burden that the provision of data imposes on individuals and businesses.
The statistics system in motion
As far as information is concerned, the FSO is able to respond to these numerous challenges with a diverse publication programme and from as early as 1996 has been offering a comprehensive range of simple and easily accessible statistical information on its statistics web portal.
Major, ongoing projects aim for simplified and integrated systems for surveys and information on persons and households, businesses and the education system. Easing the administrative burden on businesses as well as a more efficient use of data within the government administration (as for example with the planned business identification number, UID) are important steps towards the implementation of the Confederation's e-government strategy. Furthermore, the use of a nationwide, harmonised population register instead of a full population survey will form the basis and cornerstone of the newly designed population census in 2010 - thus bringing up to date one of the main tasks of the Statistical Office 150 years ago.
Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO)
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