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Kazakhstan: Census Methodology

(extracted from case study)

Although an integral part of the government reform programme, the need to undertake a census was given additional impetus and priority by its inclusion as one of a number of "key actions" which had to be fulfilled as a condition for receiving the World Bank second and third tranche payments.

The main objectives of the census were to:

  • carry out a headcount
  • obtain qualitative data
  • provide input into the personnel roll and post management system
  • act as a basis for developing a civil service legal framework.

To achieve this, the census concentrated on data-gathering of employees:

  • numbers
  • grades
  • gender
  • work assignments
  • language competency
  • educational background
  • qualifications
  • training received
  • age
  • pay
  • location
  • organisation
  • service details

The census was carried out in two stages. The first covered all employees of 29 ministries and agencies of the central executive branch, and all employees of the health and education sectors in two districts (Kustanai and Pavlodar). This was to be completed by June 1998.

The second stage covered health and education sector employees in the rest of the country and was to be completed by June 1999. Within the set timescales, work was to be carried out on checking accuracy and anomalies and actual numbers against cadre and analysing the results.

Some government departments were not included in the first stage because of the confidentiality of data. These comprised:

  • President's Office
  • President's Guarding Service
  • National Guard
  • Committee of National Security
  • Barlau service
  • Ministry of Defense
  • Ministry of Interior Affairs

A pilot census was carried out in January 1998 to check the effectiveness of the software that was developed specially to process the results and to check the questionnaire forms and suggest any improvements. The pilot included the Kustanai and Pavlodar health and education sector staff and the local state bodies in one district (Almaty).

Lack of precedents in the form of previous censuses caused some initial difficulties in co?ordinating activities. The Ministry of Finance took responsibility for carrying out the census and co-ordinating work between the various state organisations. The Ministry had the IT resources available to process the information in the form of a Computer Centre and could provide control and accurate checking of the data.

The Ministry provided a core group of five staff supplemented by a further 15-20 at the peak period, to work on the census for six months. Work was carried out on the methodology for the data-gathering operation which was by questionnaires devised by the team in conjunction with a local publishing house. The forms were delivered to relevant district bodies for them to ensure completion by each employee. Completion of the forms was sanctioned officially by the government. Heads of units were made responsible for ensuring accurate coverage and officials were nominated as enumerators for each budgetary entity. They were trained intensively in filling of the forms and several dry runs were conducted as tests. Overseeing each budgetary entity's census exercise was a designated co-ordinator backed up a by a team of roving supervisors to check the work. A good deal of cross-checking with salary details was carried out and a sample of forms was checked to verify that personal details were correctly taken and completed. The team then collected the completed forms, checked them and passed them to the Ministry of Finance's Main Computer Centre in Almaty for data input. The timeframe for sending out forms to receipt of the completed ones was two months.

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