Frameworks and Standards for Statistical Modernisation






1.At the Workshop on Strategic Developments in Business Architecture in Statistics, held in Geneva in November 2012, the High-Level Group for the Modernisation of Statistical production and Services (HLG) and representatives of over 20 expert groups identified two key priorities for work related to statistical modernisation for 2013. One of these priorities is to support the enhancement and implementation of the standards needed for the modernisation of statistical production and services. The two key standards identified were the Generic Statistical Business Process Model (GSBPM) and the Generic Statistical Information Model (GSIM).


2.This project is important for the official statistics community because a lot of effort has gone into the development of standards such as the GSBPM and the GSIM. To realise the full benefits of this investment, it is necessary to ensure continued coordination during the implementation phase, and to ensure that the lessons learned during implementation are shared, and reflected in enhanced versions of the standards and their associated documentation.


3.This project outline includes the objectives, scope and content of this project, as well as some practical project management issues. It was approved by the HLG on 5 February 2013.



II.Project objectives


4.The project has four main objectives:


  • To ensure that the international statistical community has access to the standards needed to support the modernisation of statistical production and services
  • To increase coherence between these standards
  • To provide support mechanisms for the practical implementation of these standards within national and international statistical organisations
  • To ensure effective promotion and maintenance of the GSBPM and the GSIM, including the release of new versions as appropriate





5.This project concerns the models and frameworks needed to support modernisation activities within official statistics. It focusses on the implementation and integration of the models and frameworks that concern the statistical infrastructure and facilitate the management of statistical data and metadata (e.g. GSBPM, GSIM). It does not cover standards that are specific to individual subject-matter domains (e.g. System of National Accounts).


6.The project includes liaison with relevant standards bodies in the wider data industry where appropriate, for example the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) Alliance.





7.This Project comprises the following nine work packages.


Work Package 1: Support for the implementation of the GSIM


8.This work package includes providing support for a community of GSIM “early adopters”, such as setting up forums for the exchange of experiences, case studies and other documentation. It uses the UNECE wiki platform, and includes facilitation of virtual meetings between implementers.


Work Package 2: Enhancement of the GSIM


9.This work package initially focuses on gathering feedback from the users of the GSIM, based on their experiences of practical implementations. It also actively seeks feedback from other potential user groups within and outside official statistics. Based on the feedback gathered by September 2013, a recommendation will be made to the HLG as to whether a revised version of the GSIM is needed, and if so, whether this would be a minor revision (version 1.1), or a major change (version 2.0). In parallel, some feedback may be addressed by improving the supporting documentation for the GSIM, without changing the model itself.


10.The timetable for any resulting revision will be agreed with the HLG, and the revision would then be managed within this project.


Work Package 3: Update of the GSBPM


11.This work package will result in a revised version of the GSBPM. The first task is to gather feedback from users on potential changes to the model. This will be started at the Work Session on Statistical Metadata (METIS), Washington, 8-10 May 2013. As a minimum there will need to be minor terminology and documentation changes to reflect the existence of the GSIM. Other changes will be kept to a minimum, and will need to be supported by a good business case, so that the impact of the new version on the user community is kept to a minimum. The expected output is a version 4.1 of the GSBPM (or a version 5.0 if major changes are necessary).


Work Package 4: GSIM / DDI / SDMX mapping


12.This work package includes a detailed mapping between the information objects in the GSIM, with those in the information models of DDI and SDMX. It aims to identify any issues affecting the coherence of these standards, and propose solutions where possible. The main output will be a mapping between these standards. Mapping of the GSIM to other data and metadata management standards may also be carried out in this work package if there is a sufficient business case, and the necessary resources are available. This work package will provide inputs for work packages 1 and 2. 


Work Package 5: Training, advocacy and communication


13.This work package includes all activities to communicate and promote the idea of standards-based modernisation, and to encourage the adoption and implementation of the GSIM. It will build on, and implement the HLG Communication Strategy, in relation to standards. It includes the preparation and dissemination of training materials, giving presentations to expert groups and conferences, preparing brochures, posters and other promotional materials, and exploring the use of technology such as wikis and webinars to enhance communication.


Work Package 6: Links to geo-spatial standards


14.This work package provides an initial assessment of the role of geo-spatial standards in the modernisation of official statistics, including how they may relate to the GSBPM and the GSIM.


Work Package 7: Set up a virtual standards helpdesk


15.This work package establishes a central point for information relating to the standards necessary to support statistical modernisation. This virtual helpdesk facility is likely to link to the United Nations Statistical Division’s Global Inventory of Statistical Standards, but has more of a focus on supporting the integration, mapping and implementation of standards.              If successful, this virtual helpdesk is expected to become an on-going activity, therefore this work package should consider and recommend how this facility could be supported in future years in a way that maximises usefulness for minimal cost.


Work Package 8: Mapping GSBPM to the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics


16.This requirement was identified during a high-level seminar for leaders of statistical organisations in SPECA (Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia) countries. It should be relatively quick and easy to complete such a mapping, which will contribute to the sense of integrated standards, and is likely to be of interest to chief statisticians.


Work Package 9: Project management and coordination


17.This work package comprises the necessary project management activities to ensure the successful delivery of the other eight work packages.



V.Definition of success


20.This project will be successful if it results in successful implementations of modernised statistical production processes based on the GSBPM and GSIM, as well as enhanced versions of those standards and accompanying documentation. Improved mapping between standards, and the establishment of a single point of reference for information on the standards needed for the modernisation of statistical production and services, will also be ensured.



VI.Expected costs


21.The following table shows an estimate of the minimum resources, and other costs needed to deliver the different work packages.


Work Package

Estimated resources

Source of resources

Other costs
(in US Dollars)

1: Support for the implementation of the GSIM

3 person months

UNECE Secretariat plus volunteer NSOs


2: Enhancement of the GSIM

9 person months

Volunteer NSOs plus UNECE Secretariat plus volunteer external reviewers

Possible travel costs if a workshop or sprint is needed

3: Update of the GSBPM

3 person months

METIS group plus UNECE Secretariat, plus volunteer external reviewers


4: GSIM / DDI / SDMX mapping

3 person months

External contractors[1] plus volunteer standards experts


5: Training, advocacy and communication

3 person months

Volunteer NSOs plus the UNECE Secretariat and the HLG Secretariat Team

Up to $1000 for technical solutions for webinars and distance learning.

Travel costs of presenters / participants to relevant meetings / training events.

6: Links to geo-spatial standards

2 person months

Volunteer NSO(s) plus external reviewers


7: Set up a virtual standards helpdesk

2.5 person months

The UNECE Secretariat and the HLG Secretariat Team

Possible software costs, if existing platforms (e.g. the UNECE wikis) are not used

8: Mapping GSBPM to the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics

0.5 person months

The UNECE Secretariat and/or the HLG Secretariat Team, plus volunteer external reviewers


9: Project management and coordination

3 person months

A part-time project manager working in the UNECE Secretariat. Occasional input from project steering group members, and HLG members (in their role as project sponsors)

Up to $500 for telecommunications and other incidentals


29 person months

UNECE Secretariat (12 person months)

NSO / International organisation staff (15 person months)

Contractor (1 person month)

Other standards bodies, e.g. DDI Alliance (1 person month)

$1000-1,500 for miscellaneous communications costs

Travel costs of experts






22.The project aims to complete the activities described by the end of 2013, however there are various unknowns which may affect the timetable:


  • The extent of the revisions needed to the GSBPM and the GSIM – if these are greater than expected, more time and/or resources may be necessary. This will not be known until user requirements have been gathered and assessed.
  • The availability of resources from national and international statistical organisations to support this project – if the necessary resources are not available, either the timetable will need to be extended, or the outputs will need to be re-defined (in terms of quality or quantity or both).
  • The availability of project management and support resources in the UNECE Secretariat – To meet the resource requirements of this project (and the proposed “plug and play” project) will require the continuation of the current extra-budgetary post in the UNECE secretariat. This is assured for the first half of 2013, but additional donor funding will be required for the remainder of the year. As above, if this is not forthcoming, either the timetable will need to be extended, or the outputs will need to be re-defined (in terms of quality or quantity or both).


23.The following approximate project timetable for the calendar year 2013 assumes the necessary resources will be available, and the revisions to the GSBPM and the GSIM are not significantly more extensive than expected:







































































































































= Peak period of activity


= Lower level of activity



VIII.Project governance


24.The project sponsors are the HLG. This is the group that has ultimate responsibility for signing off the project deliverables. In practice, this responsibility may be delegated to a project steering group. The nature and composition of the project steering group will depend to some extent on the establishment of a new governance structure for HLG projects and expert groups, though the steering group can be expected to be:


  • Composed of senior managers from national and international organisations and relevant standards bodies
  • Geographically diverse
  • Diverse in terms of the backgrounds and interests of its members, to ensure the project outputs are broadly applicable across statistical organisations


25.The project manager has day to day responsibility for the running of the project, providing regular updates and signalling any issues to the steering group and the HLG as necessary. The loading on this post is expected to be approximately half-time over the year, therefore the same person will also manage the “plug and play” project, helping to ensure coherence between the two projects.




[1] This work will be started by Arofan Gregory and Chris Nelson of Metadata Technologies, under their existing contract with the UNECE.