| Communicate with businesses on an ongoing basis
| Promote the value of official statistics to business and the community
| Report on load
||October 2007 |
| Understand the characteristics of non-respondents
||December 2007 |
| Understand respondent attitudes towards surveying
||June 2008 |
| Promote the value of official statistics to individual respondents
||July 2008 |
We must ensure that there is a reasonable value exchange when respondents supply data to us. We can achieve this by communicating how government uses the data and by promoting ways that respondents can use the data.
To ensure that respondents obtain value for the investment of their time, they need to be aware that statistics are available with information tailored to meet their needs. The strategy is to promote the value and use of official statistics by:
- providing information packages to respondents that demonstrate the value of official statistics
- undertaking initiatives with community groups and business advocates to
- raise awareness of the value of official statistics
- developing Internet-based products that give valuable statistical information to businesses and individuals, and promoting these products through initiatives with communities and respondents.
Respondents need to see that there is value in investing significant time, effort and goodwill to participate in government surveys. If respondents don’t perceive that official statistics add value, this impacts on the quality of response. Our research indicates that people who have used statistics are more positively disposed towards responding accurately to surveys.
Understanding respondents and their attitudes towards surveys is critical to understanding how perceived load contributes to non-response. It is also important to know if non-respondents have common characteristics. If we know more about our respondents, we may be able to improve data quality by lowering non-response rates and develop new strategies to improve or maintain coverage.
Our strategy is a combination of assessing information already available in relation to response behaviour (for example, identifying common demographic information about business non-respondents) and communicating with respondents to understand their views and concerns.
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Communicate with businesses on an ongoing basis
Work is underway to strengthen existing relationships with large business respondents (the top 50 businesses) and organisations such as Business Mentors New Zealand, Chambers of Commerce and key organisations such as Business New Zealand and the Retailers’ Association.
We are starting to work with the small- and medium-size business sector. In 2006, Go Stats! business presenters worked with Chambers of Commerce to provide tutorial material to small businesses and build their understanding of the value of statistics. This successful programme continued in 2007 and contributed to the aim of better communication with organisations that represent and work with businesses.
Promote the value of official statistics to business and the community
We have a number of current initiatives with community and business organisations that promote the value of official statistics. These include:
Census 2006 regional tour – the census is our major statistical output and a regional tour started in May 2007 with the aim of ensuring the public are aware of and have access to census results.
Small Business Expo partnership – we have a partnership with the Small Business Expo to create the Statistics New Zealand Business Information Zone at expos in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Go Stats! Seminars for Businesses – the Go Stats! initiative helps small and medium-sized businesses, and business advisors and mentors find out how statistics can be of value to them in their business. We successfully piloted this initiative in 2006, in partnership with local business organisations, and it continued throughout 2007.
The Public Library Partnership – this promotes the value of official statistics through libraries. The 74 territorial authority libraries participating in this partnership receive our publications and a range of other benefits, including training, promotional material and access to our advisors.
Community liaison – we have liaison officers who work with Māori and Pacific communities (Kaitakawaenga and Pacific liaison officers). They aim to increase awareness of official statistics within Māori and Pacific communities, and to assess their statistical needs.
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Report on load
We will report quarterly to the Minister of Statistics on respondent load and our performance against business and social survey targets. We will also report on respondent load in our annual report.
Our website must also include information on load targets. We will publish relevant information from these reports on our website. We will implement these targets by June 2008.
Understand the characteristics of non-respondents
It is important to understand why people and businesses do not respond to surveys, and to measure trends in non-cooperation. We will undertake a research project to identify any common demographic attributes of non-respondents.
Initially this will focus on data already available from survey management systems. A possible later outcome of this work may be a survey of non-respondents (in Canada, when a similar exercise was undertaken, there was a high degree of response from non-respondents).
Understand respondent attitudes towards surveying
The best way to understand respondent attitudes is to communicate with respondents directly and ask for their perceptions.
It is not always appropriate to treat respondents (business respondents in particular) as though they are all the same. One objective is to see if it is possible to break down the survey population into smaller groups with distinct issues (sole proprietors may have a significantly different perspective from that of group accountants, for example). This knowledge can help tailor future initiatives for a range of audiences.
Promote the value of official statistics to individual respondents
We will develop an initiative to promote the value of official statistics to Statistics NZ business survey respondents.
The focus of the initiative will be to show respondents how they can use existing official statistics to improve their business. This respondent information initiative will be delivered by July 2008. It will reflect research, which shows that most businesses want more than the information than relates to one particular survey. They want packages of information that help explain their market and industry.
This initiative will also include targeting respondents who have expressed concerns about a survey with information to help make the survey easier to complete. We will provide customised information that demonstrates the relevance of their contribution.