The links between statistics, research and policymaking
Citation:Blackwell, John. 'Symposium on statistics for policy and research: the links between statistics, research and policymaking'. - Dublin: Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland,Vol. XXV, Pt. III, 1985/1986, pp1-10
The recent Government paper on the Central Statistics Office and the accompanying report of the Statistical Council are to be welcomed. This is partly because their specific proposals would lead to a more efficient system of providing official statistics. Moreover, the very publication of these papers, together with the Statistical Users' Seminar of June 1984, have meant that the provision of statistics has come alive as a policy issue. One hopes that this symposium can give a further impetus to this policy debate. This Society is a particularly appropriate host for this set of contributions, as it is the only regular forum which brings together statisticians, social scientists and Government officials. For too long, the provision of statistics has been seen as either something which was of little importance or else the concern of a small group of "experts". It is tempting to decry such notions by assertion. There is, however, a danger that at a Society such as this, the importance of statistics will be taken as self-evident. This is understandable. After all, the national income accounts have been described as the staff of life for the macro-economist, and similar things could be said about the links which bind policy analysis and statistics provision in so many areas. At an even broader level, information has been described as the currency of democracy. But in the harsh world which we are facing, the importance of statistics will not be taken as axiomatic. This is especially the case in view of the many competing claims for public expenditure. Hence, this paper begins with the links between statistics provision, policy making and research. It goes on to point out a number of ways in which the provision of statistics falls short of potential. Some key constraints on the achievement of this potential are briefly enumerated. Finally, a number of matters which might usefully be considered by the new National Statistics Board are discussed.
Other Titles:Symposium on Statistics for Policy and Research
Publisher:Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland
Series/Report no:Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland
Vol. XXV, Pt. III, 1985/1986
Description:Read before the Society, 7th November, 1985