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Census Planning and Management United Nations Statistics Division

Census Planning and Management United Nations Statistics Division

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Census Planning and Management United Nations Statistics Division

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  1. Census Planning and Management United Nations Statistics Division Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  2. Reference Material for Presentation • Handbook on Census Management for Population and Housing Censuses, United Nations Publication, Sales No. E.00.XVII.15.Rev.1, New York, 2001 • Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 2 (forthcoming) • Both are available on the United Nations Statistics Division web-site: www.unstats.un.org/unsd and on the CD for this workshop Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  3. Overview of Presentation • Census Planning • Quality Assurance • Evaluation • Attributes of a good statistical output Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  4. Census planning – what is it? Census planning is the core process linking the different phases of the census cycle: Preparation Field operations Processing Dissemination Evaluation Census planning is the most critical process to conducting a successful census Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  5. Census planning (contd). • Aim of the planning process is to ensure that: • Each phase is properly resourced and organized • The output of each phase is of sufficient quality for all subsequent phases • All dependencies between the different phases are identified • Due to long duration of census cycle, planning should not remain static but be dynamic and flexible to take into account changes that occur Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  6. Census planning (contd.) • Each phase of the census cycle is dependent on a preceding phase: • The quality of the output from each phase has a direct effect on the success of the next phase Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  7. Census Planning (contd.) • Issues that require careful consideration when planning a census: • Specifying the role of the census • The role of Government • Setting goals • Developing project plans • Monitoring project • Developing a budget Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  8. Census Planning- The role of the census Issues to consider • The census should be considered as part of the larger National Statistical Programme • The prime role of a census is usually to provide an accurate count of the total population for each of the administrative regions of a country • The key strength of a census is the ability to provide data for small geographic areas and for small population groups • When data are not required at this level of detail, other statistical methodologies more cost-effective than censuses should be adopted Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  9. Census Planning – The role of Government To provide: • The legal framework for the census • Funding for the census • Logistical support for the census Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  10. Census Planning – Setting goals • Needs and requirements of stakeholders should be used to establish the census goals, taking into account: • Costs • Data quality considerations • Logistical implications • Need to maintain public cooperation and confidence Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  11. Census Planning – Setting goals (contd.) • Census goals generally revolve around: (a) Topics on which to collect data (b) Confidentiality (c) Timeliness of data release (d) Data quality (e) The nature of the output (g) The total cost of the census • Goals interact with one another. So priorities need to be set as there could be trade-offs, e.g., between what topics can be collected and costs • Once goals are established, they should be communicated to the staff, and appropriate strategies should be devised Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  12. Census Planning – Developing project plans • Once goals have been established and strategies identified to implement them, more detailed planning begins • A census is a large project broken down into a series of related projects that are dependant on one another Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  13. Census Planning – Developing a project plan • To understand the interdependencies, need to develop a framework with a hierarchical structure • Projects (planning, preparation, field operations, etc.) • Phases (Field mapping, training, evaluation, etc.) • Activities (Enumeration area design, map production, etc) • Tasks (Review previous census methods, procedures and outcomes; Prepare enumeration area design manual) • The plan should also include Milestones: Specific points in time at which key outcomes are expected (to measure project’s progress) Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  14. Census Planning – Developing a project plan • Some issues associated with each activity and task that need to be taken into account • Timing • Resources • Risk management • Goals • Planning process involves identification of issues and adopting a consistent approach in listing them Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  15. Census Planning – Risk management • Project plans should also deal with risk management • Risks are all possible events that could occur and have a negative impact on the success of the census • Risks with significant likelihood should be managed explicitly by developing fully detailed plans parallel to the census plan • Risk management is essential because of the importance of the census and the fact that it is an infrequent exercise • The success or failure of the census may depend on the implementation of the plans associated with these risks if they occur Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  16. Census Planning – Monitoring project plans • Developing a good census project plan is important, but not sufficient • The project plan must be monitored closely, and feedback delivered to all levels of management • Results should be reviewed on a regular basis • Most important components to track • Time for completing a task • Resource usage per task • Cost per task • Milestones Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  17. Census Planning – Monitoring project plans Useful tool for planning and monitoring: the Gantt chart Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  18. Census Planning – Gantt Charts • Each task has name, duration, start, finish and timescale • Horizontal bars represent duration of tasks relative to each other • Dependencies and milestones can be included • Separate Gantt charts can be prepared for each sub-task and all activities to be completed • Provides a visual perspective on work-loads • Automated systems are easy to use and speed up planning process Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  19. Census Planning – Census budget • Census budget must be planned well in advance and cover all known activities • Take into account that the census budget is highly cyclical (peaks during enumeration and processing) • Sufficient resources must be allocated to each phase • Resource needs for the dissemination phase need to be realistically assessed • Funds allocated and used effectively on planning and preparation will result in savings in all other phases, namely in enumeration and processing operations Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  20. Census Planning – Census budget (contd.) • Monitoring the census budget is fundamental • Monitor regularly (quarterly or even monthly) expenditures against funding for each project • Estimates of expenditures for all years of the census cycle should be prepared in advance and reviewed yearly • This would allow to identify on time possible shortfalls, and take appropriate measures Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  21. Census Planning - Administrative report • What is it? • It’s the census “historical memory”: a report where all census experiences are recorded • It is not a detailed description of the process (documentation) • What is the purpose? • To retain as much as possible the skills and knowledge acquired in developing the census, and use them at the time of the next census • Why is needed? • Because after census results are released, most census staff usually move to other duties Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  22. Census Planning – Administrative Report (contd.) • When it should be prepared? • As soon as the decision to take a census is made!  Evaluation and recording should not be left until the end of the census process • How? • The structure of the report could be similar to the structure of the project plan, but it could be modified (group tasks or create sub-tasks when appropriate) • Keep record of resources used (staff years and funds) and of changes to the planned schedule of activities (what changes, and why?) Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  23. Census Planning – Administrative Report (contd.) How should it used? • To plan subsequent censuses or other large scale statistical activities (i.e.: “lessons learned”) • To create synergies in the current census cycle planning and management tasks • To transfer knowledge and share experiences with other countries • To provide advice and technical assistance to countries that need them (relevant for donors and development partners) Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  24. Quality Assurance • Due to the size and complexity of census operations, it is likely that errors may arise at any stage of the census • To minimize and control errors, it is good practice to devote a part of the budget to quality assurance and control programmes Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  25. About Quality Assurance • The objective of quality assurance is to provide standards and controls so that decisions can be taken quickly to correct or change on-going census operations • There is no single quality assurance system that can be applied to all censuses. They need to be specified for each census and for each stage of the census operations Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  26. What’s Quality Assurance? • Four attributes to quality: • relevance • cost • timeliness • data accuracy • Achieving a quality outcome is essentially about balancing cost, timeliness, accuracy and relevance - relevance usually determined early when topics and output determined Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  27. Measuring Quality • The 3 attributes – cost, timeliness and data quality are inter-linked. Higher quality data can be obtained for higher cost whilst timeliness increases the relevance and utility of data • Deficiencies in quality are usually the results of deficiencies in the process rather than the actions of staff • Key to achieving a quality outcome is to regularly measure the cost, timeliness and accuracy so that the process can be improved - using the Quality Assurance Circle • Quality is relative, and based on what is acceptable, rather than a concept of achieving absolute perfection Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  28. Quality Assurance Circle Measure Quality Implement Corrective Action Identify Root Causes of Problem Identify Most Important Quality Problem Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  29. Quality Assurance • People undertaking the process are in a good position to identify problems and suggest improvements • Quality therefore relies on: • established, documented procedures • systems to monitor outcomes • active encouragement by management to involve staff in identifying and resolving quality issues • Managers play a key role in achieving quality: • establish a culture of focusing on quality • giving staff responsibilities to allow them to achieve • ensure staff understand the philosophy of quality • providing the opportunity for staff to contribute Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  30. Quality Control versus Quality Assurance • Quality Control: finding errors and fixing them • relies on ability to find all errors • can add significant cost • fixing errors can itself introduce error • puts the responsibility in the hands of the inspector • Quality Assurance/Continuous Quality Improvement: emphasis on improving the process rather than just fixing the error • recognizes there will be errors in the process • aims to improve the process as it proceeds • gives staff a responsibility in improving the process Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  31. Activities to Assist in Assuring Quality of the Census • Testing the form design • involving the public to learn how they understand the questions being asked • involving stakeholders to ensure the results obtained are as expected, such as the Processing team to ensure the form works with the processing systems, and the subject matter specialists to ensure the questions are being answered as expected • Testing the field operations • How are the procedures implemented, does the training provide staff with sufficient skills, what suggestions do staff have to improve the process • Testing the Processing, Dissemination and Evaluation • do the systems perform as expected, how well do the documented procedures work, how accurate is the data obtained during the test • It is ok for tests to fail - the purpose of testing is to learn and improve Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  32. Quality Improvement and the Census • The quality circle can be applied to the entire census cycle with • Performance in the previous phase being evaluated at any given level of detail • Problems with quality ranked in order of importance • Root causes identified and corrective action implemented Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  33. Quality Circle Dependency Chart Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  34. Evaluation • Evaluation may be considered as the last stage of the census cycle or the first step in the next census cycle • All aspects of the census program should be evaluated (strengths and weaknesses) • Evaluation of the accuracy of the census data should be undertaken through: • comparing the census results with similar data from other sources such as surveys, previous census or analytical methods assessing the quality or degree of accuracy of the data, or the coverage of the population Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  35. Purpose of Evaluation of Data Accuracy • To inform users of the quality of the current census data and to assist in future improvements, through: • Improving processes • Establishing performance benchmarks against which the quality of the data from future censuses can be measured Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  36. Evaluation of Coverage • This aims at estimating the extent to which people have been missed or duplicated • The best way of estimating undercount or over-count is through a post enumeration survey (PES) • Undercount may result from missing out households due to difficult access, people in transit, highly mobile persons, inaccurate mapping, misunderstanding census instructions etc. • Over-count may result from duplication in overlapping E.A’s, long enumeration periods, misinterpretation of coverage instructions etc. • Usually more people are missed than double counted Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  37. Coverage – Post enumeration survey • The PES should be independent from the census, as it provides an independent validation of the census count • The PES must be representative of the whole country and of all population groups and should be conducted as close to the census as possible, without interfering with the census • The census/PES matching greatly benefits from accurate recording of names and addresses during both exercises. Other matching characteristics include age, sex, birthplace and relationships Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  38. Accuracy • Accuracy involves assessing the reliability of the data. Benchmarks can be established for each variable to assess the contributions of non-response, editing and imputation to data quality. • Tables can be created comparing non-response rates between censuses. The tables can show responses before and after processing, edits done, and imputations made, in the compilation of data for each variable. This will show the impact of the processing system on the original responses. • Other data sets (eg. a labour force survey) may give indicative information to benchmark the census on the size of the labour force Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  39. Detailed Analysis • In-depth analysis should include comparisons between censuses and other data from surveys or administrative sources. The surveys need to be based on compatible standards and should be recent • Census data on births and deaths, in most African countries, can only be investigated through indirect methods, as vital registration systems are deficient. These may include study of the age-sex distribution, stable population analysis, etc. Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  40. Attributes of a Good Statistical Output • Relevance • Meeting the needs of users • Value as a level of demand for data • Completeness • Full coverage of the phenomenon • An extension of relevance – meeting user’s needs as completely as possible Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  41. Attributes of a Good Statistical Output (contd.) • Accuracy • Distance between the estimated and the true value • Usually expressed in terms of errors – coverage, sampling, non-response, response, processing and dissemination • Comparability • Across space (countries, regions of a country, districts) • Across time (different time periods) Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  42. Attributes of a Good Statistical Output (contd.) • Coherence • Logical and substantive connection between outputs of different statistical exercises • National Statistical System • Uniformity of classification and other coding schemes • Timeliness • Elapsed time between release of data and the reference period Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  43. Attributes of a Good Statistical Output (contd.) • Punctuality • Degree to which pre-announced release dates are met • Clarity • Degree to which statistics are understandable for non-expert users Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  44. Attributes of a Good Statistical Output (contd.) • Accessibility • Degree to which statistical data can be obtained with ease • Metadata • Availability of information describing sources, definitions, methods • Crucial for enriching the numerical information • Indispensable for assessing comparability Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008

  45. Thank you. Workshop on international standards, contemporary technologies and regional cooperation Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 – 8 February 2008