Study visit in Finland

In November 2019, at the invitation of the Finnish Center for Pensions (FCfP), the IBE project team of the monitoring the fate of graduates took part in a one-day seminar on the possibilities of using registry data for socio-economic analyzes. The meeting took place in Helsinki, along with researchers from the Finnish Center for Pensions (FCfP), and scientists from Estonia's Tallinna Ülikool took part in it.

During the meeting, IBE researchers presented plans to use registration data for research on the professional and educational situation of secondary school graduates in Poland. Similar solutions are already in place in Finland and Estonia. Experts from the Finnish Center for Pensions and Tallinna Ülikool discussed the use of administrative data for research and the needs of public policies in their countries.

In Finland, data on the basis for calculating pensions (i.e. data on earnings and working period) are available from the Finnish Center for Pensions (FCfP), while the rest of the registry data is stored at the Finnish Statistical Office. Contrary to the situation in Poland, an integral part of the statutory tasks of FCfP is to conduct research on the impact of social, economic and demographic changes on the social security system and to present recommendations for legal changes regulating the shape of this system. The Finnish experience shows that the use of registry data for the purposes of monitoring public policies has great potential. It is a good practice to create small, dedicated and specialized analytical teams that work with administrative data from a given area. For example, at the Finnish Center for Pensions, a specialized research and analysis department has been working on registry data since the 1960s. Placing the unit responsible for the analysis of administrative data in the structures of the institution responsible for a given area of ​​public policy guarantees a higher level of security of data processing, greater accuracy and reliability of analysis results and a higher level of decision-makers’ confidence in the results of such analyzes. Moreover, ensuring institutional continuity of such a team brings positive long-term effects. It allows for effective and long-term cooperation of researchers and representatives of public administration responsible for shaping public policies.

Similar solutions for the use of registry data for analysis carried out for the purposes of implementing public policies or scientific research are in place in Estonia. Here, however, the management of most state registers, their administration and disclosure of data has been entrusted to one institution – the Estonian Central Statistical Office. Such concentration facilitates the use of data for analyzes, and in particular, combining data from different registers. The register data can be used for scientific purposes and can only be accessed at the headquarters of the Estonian Central Statistical Office. Data obtained from registers on the professional fate of graduates and the professional situation in individual industries and occupations are used in Estonia as part of a variety of projects, both of an academic nature and addressed to a wide audience – e.g. regarding the creation of an application supporting the choice of a field of study. In order to monitor the educational fate of vocational and higher schools, the administrative data of the Estonian IT education system, tax data and information from the register of state employment services are used.

An important positive side effect of creating public policy monitoring systems based on administrative data is the creation of transparent and secure data sharing channels for the purposes of analyzes and scientific work. The Finnish and Estonian experience shows that when administrative data is used for the purposes of policy monitoring, ‘standard’ data sets are created, which, after pseudonymisation, using procedures developed for this purpose, can be safely made available for the purposes of scientific analyzes. The range of information available in the collections and the detailed methodological documentation are publicly available, which makes it easier for scientists to plan analyzes using administrative data. In cases of a non-standard scope of data, a specialized cell of the data administrator may prepare a set developed specifically for the needs of a given research project. Data sharing procedures require the presentation of a scientific research project, which is assessed by the scientific council established in the institution that is the data administrator. These solutions guarantee the correct and safe use of administrative data for research purposes.

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