Official Statistical System

INSEE and official statistics
Dernière mise à jour le : 25/01/2023

The Official Statistical Systeme (SSP) is defined by the Ouvrir dans un nouvel ongletFrench law n° 51-711 of 7 June 1951 on the obligation, coordination and confidentiality of statistics.

It is composed of INSEE and 16 Ministerial Statistical Offices (MSOs) who carry out statistical operations in their field of competence.


The SSP :

  • collects data for statistical purposes ;
  • produces the official data on which the public debate is based and disseminates it to a wide audience ;
  • analyses the data ;
  • contributes to European and international statistics, where appropriate.

The SSP must respect a number of rules aimed at maintaining confidence in the information produced and disseminated, in particular professional independence, reliability, neutrality, quality of processes, sound methodology and accessibility. The main ones are set out in the European Statistics Code of Practice the latest version of which dates from November 2017; this code was instituted by the Ouvrir dans un nouvel ongletRegulation (EC) 223/2009 of 11 March 2009, amended in 2015, of the European Parliament and of the Council on European Statistics.

INSEE is responsible for coordinating the methods, resources and statistical work of the SSP and for unifying statistical nomenclatures.

The activities of the SSP are evaluated by the Official statistics authority, created by the law on the modernisation of the economy of August 2008.

Ministerial Statistical Offices (MSOs)

As a rule, MSOs are central administration departments of a ministry. Each MSO is competent for one or more themes, the perimeters of the MSOs being complementary. Thus, each MSO is involved in one or more functional areas of ministerial competence and, if the ministerial configuration so requires, an MSO may fall under the authority of several ministries.

The list of MSO is annexed to theOuvrir dans un nouvel onglet decree of 3 March 2009 as amended on the Official Statistics Authority.

In addition to carrying out statistical surveys, MSO play an essential role in the exploitation, for general information purposes, of data collected by administrations, public bodies or private bodies with a public service mission.

Each MSO is subject to the common law rules that apply to government departments. However, because of the nature of their tasks and the fact that they belong to the official statistical service, DSS have duties that distinguish them from other government departments. In particular, they must respect the principles set out in the European Statistics Code of Practice. They also have specific rights necessary for the fulfilment of their tasks, notably to access data for statistical purposes.

The Charter of Ministerial Statistical Offices specifies the common references for Ministerial Statistical Offices , associated with their membership of the official statistical service.

Statistical coordination

INSEE coordinates the public statistics production work of the various MSOs. This mission, instituted by the decree creating INSEE (Ouvrir dans un nouvel onglet decree n° 46-1432 of 14 June 1946), is reinforced by Regulation (EC) 223/2009 and by Principle 1a "Coordination and Cooperation" of the European Statistics Code of Practice.

The Director General of INSEE chairs the Statistical Programme Committee, which brings together all the heads of the MSO. The coordination work covers various subjects of common interest to the entire official statistical service, of a strategic or technical nature. These subjects may be related to current French or international legislation, or to the implementation of audit findings, such as the European peer review, human resources management or the development of statistical production or dissemination tools.

In addition to the plenary meetings of the Statistical Programme Committee, coordination takes the form of general or thematic meetings several times a year, including meetings of thematic committees on social statistics, on business statistics, on IT, on quality, on regional action and on dissemination and communication.

Furthermore, the mobility policy for managers within the official statistical service is an influential vector for the coordination of the SSP, contributing strongly to the dissemination of a common statistical culture within the SSP.

Official Statistics in Overseas France

The official statistical service produces and disseminates data on the overseas departments and communities.

INSEE has an explicit responsibility for the population census (organisation and legal populations) in all the overseas territoriesOuvrir dans un nouvel onglet (Law n° 2002-276 of 27 February 2002. Article 156).

For other official public statistics :

  • in the overseas departments and regions, INSEE and the SSM are in charge of their preparation as in metropolitan France ;
  • in the other ultra-marine territories, laws, including organic laws, determine the competences between the State and the territory; responsibility is differentiated according to the territory.