The purpose of the statistics on social protection expenditure is to provide an overall and cohesive description of social protection expenditure in the broadest sense of the term in the different EU Member States. It must be emphasized that not all items of social expenditure in the statistics on social protection expenditure are payable through public funds. The decisive criterion is that they are collective and compulsory, e.g. compulsory but private pension schemes are included in the statistics. Similarly, different compulsory expenditure paid by employers to national health insurance, etc. are included. Social expenditure statistics were originally established in the 1940s to meet the needs of the Nordic Ministers of Social Affairs in analysing the development in social expenditure and recipients of social benefits. This led to collaboration between the Nordic countries regarding comparative Nordic social statistics. A result of this is the annual publication Social Protection in the Nordic Countries.
Since 1972 the statistics are mainly set up to comply with EU's needs. EUROSTAT has developed common guidelines for comparable statistics in the field of ESSPROS (European system of integrated social protection statistics). A result of this work was ESSPROS manuals from 1981 and 1996, where the latter has been used in the statistics from 1994 onwards. The 1996 manual was slightly revised in 2008. So far there have not been legal acts in this field but in April 2007 a Council Regulation was passed.
In 2012 the Danish statistics were subjected to adjustments as from the survey year 2011. The purpose of the adjustments was, e.g. to enhance the comparability of the statistics to the statistics on public finance, which comply with the principles applied in the Danish national accounts. Another purpose was to make the statistics easier to understand in relation to other statistics as well as enhancing the documentation of the statistics with regard to the underlying accounting sources.
The statistic gives a coherent description of social costs from public as well as private intervention in order to relieve the burden connected with illness, invalidity, recreation, old age, unemployment, families and housing. The concept of social measures (social benefits) is defined in a broad sense. The concept embraces payments in cash, coverage of expenditure paid and delivery of goods and services. It is not essential whether the benefits are provided under the auspices of private or public bodies.
The statistics has as its starting point the government finances statistics and the sector accounts. There is a close connection to the COFOG classification which provides the basis for the detailed ESSPROS classification of the social protection expenditure.
Data is in big demand from international organisations.
Important sources to uncertainty are erroneous coding or other errors in the primary accounts on which the statistics relies (state, municipalities etc.), and the risk of misclassification within the ESSPROS classification.
Figures are published approximately 9 months after the end of the calendar year. The statistics are usually published without delay in relation to the scheduled date.
The statistic was reorganized in 2012 and the revised data goes back to 2007 and are not comparable to data before 2007.
These statistics are published in a Danish press release and in the StatBank under Social protection expenditure (ESSPROS).