The Statistical Offices of the Federation and the Länder jointly perform the tasks assigned to official statistics in Germany. They are neutral, objective and scientifically independent institutions that provide information on societal, social, economic and ecological structures, relationships and developments, and they highlight political spheres of activity. By collecting, processing and publishing statistical data, they honour the people’s fundamental right to information and lay an important basis for democratic decision-making processes that are based on facts.
Whenever the statistical offices are preparing for the next census, survey offices are set up in the local municipalities. The survey offices take responsibility for recruiting, supervising, training and coordinating their survey officers. They form survey districts and assign survey officers to each one. The survey offices constantly ensure the quality of the surveys and compliance with the data protection regulations. In addition, they are responsible for checking the survey documents and contacting any citizens who have failed to provide information, so that complete survey documents can be submitted to the local statistical office.
Survey officers are responsible for conducting interviews on site. They visit randomly selected citizens and record the data using an (online) questionnaire. Anyone who wishes to work as a survey officer must meet certain legal requirements. All applicants are screened by the local survey officers according to the stipulated selection criteria; if there are doubts concerning their credentials, their application may be rejected. Before they can carry out their first assignment, they must undertake a legally binding, written commitment to statistical secrecy and they must promise to maintain confidentiality with regard to the knowledge they gain during and after their work. On the census date, the survey officers start conducting the personal interviews in the randomly selected households and residences. They hold a special identity card to prove they are legally authorised to perform their work.