Statistics Finland aims to develop and renew its range of products and services in order to be proactive in meeting the needs of information users. In recent years, the amount of data available as a self-service on the website has systematically been increased: electronic releasing of data has been widened and new thematic pages have been built for topic combinations. Another priority area has been the promotion of the use of basic data for scientific purposes through further development of the services offered to researchers. The aim is to ensure as wide and open use of statistics as possible in society.
By the end of 2010, all statistics of the agency were using a new publishing system for statistical data. When new data are released, the system generates on the agency's website a free statistical publication containing text, tables and figures in html and pdf format. New tables were also added to the free StatFin database so that at the end of the reviewed year it contained tables from nearly 200 different sets of statistics.
Statistics Finland published over 50 printed titles in 2010. As a result from the shift to electronic publishing, the number of titles fell from the previous year. The total circulation of the publications was 24,000. The best-selling publications in the reviewed year were the Tieto&Tredit (Information and trends) periodical focusing on economic and social issues, the Statistical Yearbook of Finland, the Finnish-language regional reviews, and the Hyvinvointikatsaus (Welfare review) periodical about social and living conditions in Finland.
Among Statistics Finland's charged services, special compilations and interview surveys, as well as the Register of Enterprises and Establishments, and the tailored trend indicator service attracted most users.
In June, a free service opened on the agency's website containing nearly 60 international statistical graphs describing the situation in Finland relative to other European countries. The service, which was also published in English in the reviewed year, can be accessed via the International statistics portal of the website. June also saw the launch of a set of web pages on the theme of internationalisation of enterprises, giving access to articles, statistics and database sources for international comparisons.
Charged supply via the web was widened by the launching of the Finnish-language service Finland by postal code area, containing regional data by postal code area and municipality.
At the request of users, new indicators were added to the free Findicator service that had been launched in the previous year. This service, which was jointly built by Statistics Finland and the Prime Ministers' Office, contains over one hundred indicators describing diverse social phenomena.
According to the taken measurement of use, 239,000 persons visited Statistics Finland's website in November. The number increased from the year before.
Statistics Finland aims to develop its services for researchers so that in future all the basic data subject to a user licence that researchers need can be supplied from one service point.
The remote data access system that had been in trial use was made a permanent practice in 2010. The system allows researchers to use data on Statistics Finland's server at their own workplace via a secure Internet connection. The number of its users went up clearly in the reviewed year.
Statistics Finland systematically gathers feedback on its products and services. Besides general business image and data user surveys, feedback is also collected regularly about charged assignments and annually specified individual products. The feedback and direct contacts with stakeholders are utilised to develop and renew services and improve activities.
According to the survey of data users conducted in November, satisfaction with the services of Statistics Finland has remained high. On a scale of 4 to 10, the respondents gave to the service they had received the overall grade of 8.18. Over 90 per cent of the respondents regarded Statistics Finland's data as reliable and impartial. The respondents viewed most critically the timeliness and exhaustiveness of the data. Web-based services are the most widely used services of Statistics Finland: nearly 80 per cent of the respondents had used them.
In the corporate communications survey conducted by Taloustutkimus Oy, media editors rated Statistics Finland as the second best public organisation in information dissemination. The editors regarded reliability and openness as the main strengths of Statistics Finland's communications. The areas they thought would benefit from further development were accessibility, and communication of social responsibility.
The World Statistics Day declared by the UN General Assembly was held on 20 October 2010. On the World Statistics Day, the producers of official statistics in Finland wanted to focus on statistical literacy and user skills as essential civic skills. Statistical exercises and learning materials were produced for schools. Schools were also given the opportunity to invite experts in different fields to visit them and explain what statistics are, and how they are produced and used. Several school visits were organised in different parts of Finland.
Together with the Finnish Association of Teachers in Mathematics, Physics and Informatics, and the Finnish Statistical Society, Statistics Finland organised the national competition of the International Statistical Literacy Competition for young people. The aim of the competition intended for secondary and upper secondary school students is to improve the abilities of young people to use statistics to describe their environment. The competition is organised by the International Association of Statistical Education (IASE), which promotes the teaching of statistics and statistical literacy.
Statistics Finland also provides training in statistics as charged customer courses. Twenty-one courses were organised in 2010. These were attended by some 360 persons and the training days totalled good 400. The course topics included statistical methods, data sources for statistics, interpretation of statistics and statistics describing topical phenomena.
Statistics Finland's Library of Statistics offers a statistical information service that everybody can use. In 2010, the Library handled around 12,000 information service assignments. The number has remained unchanged for several years now.
Within the European Statistical Data Support Service the Library completed some 250 information service assignments relating to EU statistics.
As an experiment, the Library of Statistics participates in the nationwide Ask the Librarian chat service where customers can communicate with an information specialist of the Library via a secure chat channel. The Library of Statistics is the only specialist library among the 14 libraries running the service.