The highest-level legal reference in Spain regarding statistical activity is to be found in the Spanish Constitution of 1978, which, in article 149. 1. 31, it establishes that the State has exclusive jurisdiction over statistics with state purposes. In turn, Law 12/1989, of 9 May, of the Public Statistical Services (LFEP) regulates the function of statistics with state purposes based on the provisions of article 149. 1. 31. This law sets out the principles governing the statistical activity, regulates the collection of data, its keeping and dissemination of results, institutes the conditions in which response is obligatory, regulates statistical secrecy, introduces statistical production planning and regulates statistical institutions, both executive and advisory.
According to the LFEP, the public statistical function in the scope of the General Administration of the State is developed by the National Statistics Institute (INE); the ministerial department units and those of any other public institutions dependent on them, to whom that function has been entrusted, and the High Council on Statistics. The following advisory bodies should also be added to these: The Interministerial Statistics Commission and the Interterritorial Statistics Committee.
The INE is the central organ of official statistics in Spain and has important roles and responsibilities, contained in Article 26 of the LFEP. These include: coordination and supervision of statistical services, the formulation of the preliminary National Statistical Plan (PEN), the inventory statistics, the development of general censuses, large surveys and integrated economic accounts and demographic and social statistics, the exercise of international relations in terms of statistics, etc..