Next NSDS

As stated in the introduction of the present guidelines: Since the NSDS process was first proposed, nearly all countries concerned have designed and implemented at least one NSDS; some are even running their third. Although this does not modify the overall logic of the originally proposed process, the changes that have been introduced must be contextualised if only because a first round was completed. As an illustration, when designing a second NSDS, the final evaluation report of the first serves as assessment report for the second. Also, often with minor adjustments, the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, the mission and vision statements are carried over. Time devoted to acknowledging, understanding and preparing activities is dramatically shortened and this allows for more time to focus on strategic issues and goals and reduces the overall time to achieve the design. It is likely that the national strategic management capability has somehow been improved as a result of implementing the previous NSDS.

In this chapter, it is therefore assumed that the country has designed and implemented a first NSDS and intents to design and adopt another one along the lines proposed in the present guidelines. It is further assumed that the general principles laid down by PARIS21 for the first generation of NSDS were broadly agreed upon by the main stakeholders supporting the development of the national statistical system. So, at the time the opportunity of designing a new NSDS is stated, the first would have been evaluated and the report endorsed and released.

The final evaluation of an NSDS allows lessons to be learned and progress to be built on, including for the design of a future NSDS. The report would include an assessment at the end of the NSDS implementation period aiming at answering the question “Where are we now?” through a full description of the National Statistical System (NSS). This assessment is similar to the assessment one would make if designing a first NSDS and is summarized by a SWOT analysis showing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, therefore allowing to compare the present situation and environment of the NSS with the situation that was prevailing when the first NSDS was designed and with the situation that was aimed at when the strategy was adopted and possibly adjusted as a result of the mid-term revue. The first important lessons are about whether the design process proposed an implementable strategy and what ought to be improved in that process. Another component of high importance for the design of the new one is the lessons learned on the implementation and M&E mechanisms and how stakeholders have supported the first initiative.

 

DESIGNING THE NEW NSDS
Most importantly it is assumed that the endorsed evaluation suggested the design of a new strategy, that activities under Essential steps are to be carried over, incorporating changes the evaluation team recommended, and that Acknowledging and Understanding sub-phases could be skipped assuming that the evaluation exercise covered the related issues.

The time allocated to the Preparing sub-phase can therefore be significantly reduced; still, the whole Preparing process is turned towards the future within an environment that is most likely substantially different from the one about 5 years earlier, partially thanks to success in implementing of the previous NSDS. The Commitment for a new NSDS is straightforward but has to be known by all concerned: the Constituency. Although the stakeholders of the national statistical system are now well identified it is necessary to renew their engagement for the development of statistics, and to update and to improve the organizational arrangements to account for possible changes in the administrative setup of the country and in the governance of the NSS, and for lessons learned during the last few years. Regarding the following components: Design team, Road-map and Endorsement; they can be viewed as totally new, not necessarily different but integrating acquired experience.

The Assessing sub-phase can nearly entirely be built on the evaluation final report that most likely include recommendations from the evaluators, and on observations and direction given by the highest political level the NSS is accountable to. If a SWOT analysis is not part of the evaluation, the design team has to make it to feed the envisioning sub-phase.

The previous strategy had adopted both a Mission for Official statistics and a Vision for what the NSS will look like after the next 10 to 20 years of national development. This Envisioning sub-phase has therefore to appreciate whether the previously shared Mission and Vision statements have to be adjusted to account for the recent SWOT analysis results, the evaluation findings and the direction and guidelines provides by the political governance, as well as for the perceived trends in global, regional and national development. Also in a rolling long term perspective a new period of few years opens up to programme new major censuses and survey statistical operations further ahead. To deliver the Vision, an overall strategy was previously sketched; it is likely that it will need some changes reflecting the transformations that occurred, the new ones that are now foreseen as well as components of the strategy that appear to have been less performing than expected.

Except for recurrent activities and projects launched but not ended yet, the content of the Plan of action is almost entirely new. For the new Elaborating action plan sub-phase, lessons learned when implementing the previous NSDS should help setting plans for the realisation of the new outputs requested by new the strategic goals, in line with a realistic updated programme of financial and human resources availability. The necessary M&E mechanism might be based on the mechanism already in place incorporating needed improvements and changes. Due consideration should be given to the period covered by the plan of action so as to ensure a satisfactorily synchronization with ongoing or new national, regional or international development initiatives; as for any statistical programme of activities the NSS agenda for statistical indicators and survey results release has to be closely linked to the data need cycles of these initiatives.

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