Statistical legislation

The compilation of statistics is governed by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on the collection and processing of data and on the obligation to supply data. Besides the Statistics Act, the processing of data for statistical purposes is also subject to the provisions of the Personal Data Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities.

In its statistics compilation Statistics Finland applies the statistical legal acts of the EU, which steer the National Statistical Institutes of all EU Member States.

Statistics Act

The compilation of statistics is regulated by the Statistics Act (PDF). Data collected in other contexts must be primarily exploited for statistics. The vast majority of data are drawn from diverse registers. Only such data that cannot be obtained from elsewhere are collected from data suppliers. State authorities have a statutory obligation to supply data from the information in their possession. Enterprises, municipal organisations and non-profit institutions are obliged to supply data on matters separately prescribed in law.

Basic statistical data are confidential. Permission to use data can be granted for scientific studies and statistical surveys by means of the user licence procedure. Permission to use data can be given so that data enabling direct identification of the statistical unit have been removed. Exceptions to secrecy are public data in the Business Register and public data describing the activity of central and local government authorities. 

EU statistical legal acts

EU statistical legal acts are usually regulations of the European Council and the Parliament that are supplemented with regulations of the Commission. They concern harmonisation of the statistics produced by the EU Member States, such as classifications and other statistical standards, and the data that must be supplied to the Commission and their submission timetables.

The principal document guiding the activities is the long-term Statistical Programme (PDF) approved by the Parliament and the Council on the basis of which the Commission draws up an annual Work Programme. When compiling statistics in accordance with the Statistical Programme, the National Statistical Institutes of the Member States and the Statistical Office of the European Union, Eurostat, must observe the EU Regulation on Community Statistics (PDF). As a supranational regulation it takes precedence over national statistical legislation but in practice there are no conflicts between it and the Finnish Statistics Act.

Eurostat has compiled a guidebook on the EU's statistical law "Legal framework for European Statistics - The Statistical Law" (PDF).