CZECH REPUBLIC: Opportunity for a coordinated audit on the Population and Housing Census 2021
In 2022, the Supreme Audit Office of the Czech Republic is going to conduct an audit on the Population and Housing Census which took place in 2021. The key focus of the audit was presented at the 14th Meeting of the EUROSAI IT Working Group held in Tallinn on 9-10 November 2021. The Czech SAO acknowledges SAI Estonia’s readiness to cooperate on this audit and invites all the other ITWG members to participate as well. For further information, please visit this topic on the BIEP portal here.
Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 763/2008 on population and housing censuses stipulates that "... it is necessary for the collection of statistics to conform to the principles of...cost-effectiveness and statistical confidentiality". Therefore, we are convinced that it is highly appropriate for state administration bodies to utilize administrative registers as much as possible.
In order to fulfil the EC Regulation, it is necessary to introduce cost-effective census methods and abandon traditional ways of data collection through paper/online forms which are still being used in the Czech Republic and other countries.
Our future audit, therefore, aims to examine the cost-effectiveness of the population and housing census carried out in 2021, i.e. how efficient the national population and housing census was and if there is room for improvement in terms of the statistical service provided with particular focus on the use and collection of data from administrative registers. The findings may be potentially used to persuade the government to make better use of administrative registers (which the EU aims to achieve with its various measures) and decrease expenditures associated with the administrative burden of implementing the census. Alternatively, it may point to the need to amend the national legislation accordingly.
The planned audit will also entail a thorough audit of public procurement for the IT systems used for the 2021 national population and housing census, including an audit of the technology used – granting exclusive and non-exclusive rights to the customer, responsibility for maintenance and operation, architectural principles, use of shared services, forced IS modifications, technological neutrality, cross-border access, accessibility and inclusion, cybersecurity and SLA fulfilment.
In order to increase the value of the audit, we invite all ITWG members to participate in this audit by sharing their information on census methods and costs, as well as information on the collection and use of data from registers and related IT tools. We also believe this topic has great potential for coordinated audit activities such as mutually coordinated analytical work within BIEP or perhaps a coordinated audit.