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 European Commission > Eurostat > Quality > European Statistics Code of Practice > Implementation in Eurostat > Principle 4: Commitment to quality

Implementation in Eurostat: Institutional environment

Principle 4: Commitment to quality

 

Statistical authorities are committed to quality. They systematically and regularly identify strengths and weaknesses to continuously improve process and product quality.

Indicator 4.1: Quality policy is defined and made available to the public. An organizational structure and tools are in place to deal with quality management.

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Eurostat’s mission is to be the leading provider of high-quality statistics on Europe and quality considerations play a central role with regard to Eurostat corporate management as well as day-to-day statistical operations. A Eurostat team deals with quality management issues relating to both Eurostat and the European Statistical System (ESS) and holds regular meetings with quality managers from National Statistical Institutes to discuss the development of quality management within the ESS. The team also implements quality assessment for Eurostat's statistical processes and outputs, based upon Total Quality Management principles. A dedicated section of the Eurostat web page on quality details all initiatives developed by Eurostat in this domain.


Indicator 4.2: Procedures are in place to plan and monitor the quality of the statistical production process.

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Under the European Statistical Law, Member States must provide reports on the quality of the data transmitted. Using the quality reports received from Member States, Eurostat is required to publish the summary reports on the quality of European statistics, including details on the extent to which concepts, definitions and classifications are consistently applied within the European Statistical System.

The quality of European statistics is also described in the metadata files (ESMS as user oriented quality report and ESQRS as producer oriented quality report), which accompany the data published by Eurostat. Statistical processes are in general documented using quality criteria and concepts related to the statistical production. More detailed documentation of the statistical production processes at Eurostat is available in the Eurostat Process Metadata Structure.

In the European Statistical Law, there is a requirement for sectoral legislation to specify a common structure and frequency for the quality reports.

Eurostat continues to work on the development of the concept of differentiated quality to better reflect fit for purpose statistics (labelling).

Indicator 4.3: Product quality is regularly monitored, assessed with regard to possible trade-offs, and reported according to the quality criteria for European Statistics.

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The first cycle of quality assessment took place between 2008-2012 when all Eurostat statistical processes and their outputs where analysed to identify areas for improvement and to highlight good practices. There are currently more than 130 statistical processes in Eurostat and around 35 of these are assessed each year. Two key outcomes of the assessment were the identification of improvements to the process and also of good practices to be shared with other production teams. A new quality assessment methodology is being tested in 2013. It is based on compliance with the Code of Practice, standardisation and integration.

Indicator 4.4: There is a regular and thorough review of the key statistical outputs using also external experts where appropriate.

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The key statistical outputs are examined in detail as part of the implementation of Eurostat's quality assessments. External experts are systematically included in the evaluation of the multi-annual statistical programmes. External experts are also involved in assessments of statistical processes that demand considerable Eurostat resources. In the 2008-2012 cycle of quality assessments in Eurostat, over one third of the statistical processes involved an external expert. In the new quality assessment methodology, it is foreseen to consult external experts (IT, methodological....) when necessary.

Since 2011, users' satisfaction surveys have been conducted on an annual basis and the results are made public.

The European Statistical Governance Advisory Board provides a further external view of Eurostat's activities and examines quality issues.

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Last update 28.02.2012