Sources & Methods


The European System of integrated Social PROtection Statistics (ESSPROS) is an instrument which enables international comparison of administrative national data on social protection in the EU member states.

Social protection encompasses all interventions from public and private bodies intended to relieve households and individuals of a defined set of risks or needs, provided that there is neither a simultaneous reciprocal nor an individual arrangement involved.  Social protection systems are crucial to reduce poverty levels and help people towards social inclusion.  The social protection risks or needs included in ESSPROS are: disability, sickness/health care, old age, survivors, family/children, unemployment, housing and social exclusion not classified elsewhere.

Commission Regulation (EC) No. 10/2008 establishes the main definitions and classifications used in the ESSPROS domain, for the data on social protection expenditure and receipts for the total of social protection schemes.

Methodological description

Administrative data sources are used throughout in order to compile three modules (core system, pension beneficiaries, and net).  For all three modules, data is collected on an annual basis and is compiled in accordance with the ESSPROS manual.  Data is calculated separately for each scheme and the figures are then aggregated in order to compile the total social protection expenditure.  Missing or incomplete figures are estimated. 

Accuracy and reliability of data

Quality of data is assured by adherence to the ESSPROS manual.  ESSPROS data is compiled in line with the corresponding budget reforms announced for the reference year in question. 

Particular ESSPROS schemes which contain missing data are estimated through the use of administrative sources. For other particular ESSPROS schemes where only a single total value is available, the necessary breakdown is estimated by apportioning the total through the use of pre-established ratios used in previous years. 

Timeliness and punctuality of data

Since 2008, the National Statistics Office has published an annual publication entitled ‘Social Protection: Malta and the EU’. This publication is published within one year after the reference year, and is available on the NSO’s website.

Data on social protection expenditure and receipts for calendar year n, together with any revision of previous years, are transmitted to Eurostat by end of June of year n+2.  Data on pension beneficiaries for the calendar year n at ‘all schemes’ level are transmitted to Eurostat by end of May of year n+2. Data on net social protection benefits for the calendar year n, together with any revision of previous years, are transmitted to Eurostat by end December of year n+2. 

Accessibility and clarity of data

In 2015, the publication was issued in conjunction with a news release entitled ‘A Holistic View of Social Protection Expenditure: 2013’. This analysed the European System of Integrated Social Protection Statistics on a gross and net basis.  This is available on the NSO’s website and was published on the pre-established date, as scheduled in the Advance Release Calendar.

For a particular reference year n, a quality report on the core system is submitted by September of year n+2.  The quality report on the module on pension beneficiaries is annual and for a particular reference year n this is transmitted to Eurostat by end Septemberof year n+2. A metadata report is also produced at national level and disseminated on NSO’s metadata website.

Coherence and comparability/consistency of data

Geographical comparability is possible at ‘all schemes level’ only for quantitative data as harmonised European rules are used by all member states for compiling ESSPROS data.

Malta’s ESSPROS data is comparable from 1995 onwards and is in line with ESA2010 and the Classification of Functions of Government (COFOG) data.  Prior to year 2008 the unit of measure was the Maltese Lira (Lm) and the conversion rate to euro used was the fixed rate of 0.4293.

Pension beneficiaries’ module data is available from 2006 onwards.  Net social protection benefits data covers from reference year 2007 onwards.

ESSPROS data referring up to the 2007 collection were compiled in accordance with a former version of the ESSPROS methodology, the ESSPROS Manual 1996.  Starting from 2008, an updated version of the methodology came into force.  From 2011 to 2016, the ESSPROS methodology was in accordance with the 2011 edition of the ESSPROS Manual.  As from 2017, ESSPROS data is being compiled according to the 2016 edition of the ESSPROS manual.  This is the reference document in the two Commission Regulations implementing the EP and Council ESSPROS Regulation.

Coherence tests between the quantitative, the pension beneficiaries’ data and the qualitative information are possible.  The qualitative information includes a general description of the scheme, a detailed description of the benefits and information on recent changes and reforms.​


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