For three days, the Global Partnership, the IDB, Cepei, and Mexico´s National Institute of Statistics and Geography, gathered 60 experts in administrative data from 11 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa: Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Paraguay, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tanzania.
The Global Partnership partners are eager to make administrative data more accessible and usable for a broad range of development planning and decision-making and in support of the SDGs. They have identified a range of priorities, including improving administrative data quality and capacity, strengthening the legal and regulatory environment for data sharing, and developing the tools and processes for joining up administrative data sources with each other and other sources of data.
The objective of this peer to peer exchange was to foster cross regional collaboration and learning to address the identified priorities, as well as to capture, manage, analyze and share data that supports vital public services, using different tools and technologies.
“When we talk about administrative records we find a wide variety of heterogeneous data that challenge us to properly unify them. It is necessary to have instruments that allow validating the quality of administrative records such as HECRA.”Gerardo Durand, Deputy Director General of Economic Administrative Records, INEGI
One of the topics discussed was the use of admin data within the government, in particular, to compile social statistics. In this regard, Lucy Kibiru, Senior Economist of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Kenya, said the Ministry is advancing a initiative to digitalize social assistance records to vulnerable groups, managing 3 of the 4 national programs of safety nets, directed to the poorest households in the country, and from which it seeks to address SDG 10, reduced inequalities. The program allows users to make and receive cash transfers; Track all beneficiaries so there are no duplications; Make online payments and file complaints online. This digitalization helps identify gaps, as well as duplications in the diffusion of cash, she explained.
Another topic of interest for the participants was how to strengthen the systems and processes for producing administrative data to produce better data, on which Andryu Mendoza, Statistical Advisor of the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) of Colombia, said: “In order to use the best information, it is necessary to process admin data, considering the quality of the data and the coverage”. He also commented that DANE currently works with 23 administrative records, pointing out that in order to convert admin data into statistical data, special characters must be eliminated, identification and creation of indicator variables that point out consistency and gaps.
How to encourage inter-agency collaboration within the government to strengthen administrative data, facilitate data sharing, improve data and increase data use, was also a working topic during the exchange. One of the outstanding contributions on the subject came from the Statistical Institute of Belize. According to Tanisha Chavarria, Acting Statistician, “The legal framework for collecting and sharing data is found under the Caricom statistical code of good practices, based on 15 principles.” Although there is no data protection law, Memoranda of Understanding are used to guarantee the rules of the game for sharing information, she added. She also commented that the Statistical Institute of Belize has two dissemination portals for data sharing: one for SDG indicators, which shows the progress in the implementation of the Objectives; and another one for stakeholders, which allows members of the National Statistical System to share their data with the Statistical Institute of Belize, and whose objective is to link government ministries, researchers, NGOs and technical support groups to the platform to encourage them to share their data.
The legislative obstacles that prevent government organizations from working together, making it difficult to produce better administrative data, was a subject widely reviewed by the participants from both regions. In this regard, Ximena Clark, Independent Consultant, made a presentation on the Statistics Act Model, during which she explained that the referential Statistical Legislation for Latin America includes an article on access to administrative data, which contains matrix ideas, referring to the administrative data providers: 1. They are required to provide (to the NSO or the NSS) the admin records they own, free of charge; 2. They must be delivered with the level of detail necessary for the production of official statistics; 3. They cannot invoke the confidentiality or secrecy provisions of other legislation; 4. They must maintain the continuity of the provision of data; 5. They must implement continuous improvement plans: accept guidelines and comply with regulations.
“Common challenges in the region are highlighted, such as having a legal and regulatory framework and a diagnosis of the current state of administrative data in each country”.
“There is a large percentage of statistics and SDG indicators that can be produced from admin data”.Claudio Morris, ECLAC
DATA EXPERTS SPEAK OUT!
Don’t miss the interviews series we conducted to the African, Latin American and the Caribbeann experts who joined us in this peer exchange on administrative data.