Quality Assurance Framework
Common Quality Framework of the European Statistical SystemThe 2019 edition (Version 2.0) of the Quality Assurance Framework of the European Statistical System (ESS QAF) follows and aligns with the 2017 revision of the European Statistics Code of Practice (ES CoP). Together with the general quality management principles, the ES CoP and the ESS QAF constitute the common quality framework of the ESS, based on which high-quality European Statistics are developed, produced and disseminated.
This self-regulatory common quality framework complements the extensive legal framework of the ESS that is based on Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European Statistics which itself derives from the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. High-quality European Statistics and services are therefore developed, produced and disseminated in a very robust legal and quality framework.
The ESS QAF is a supporting document aimed at assisting in the implementation of the ES Code of Practice. Like the ES Code of Practice, the Quality Assurance Framework of the ESS applies to statistical authorities of the ESS, comprised of the European Union Statistical Authority (Eurostat), the National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) and Other National Authorities (ONAs) which are responsible for the development, production and dissemination of European Statistics. In some ES CoP Principles, Indicators and ESS QAF Methods, Tools, Practices reference to ‘other statistical authorities’ is to be understood as “others beyond Eurostat and the NSIs”, i.e. the ONAs.
Aim and Target Group of the ESS QAF
The ESS QAF represents a collection of methods, tools and good practices that are suggested for use and/or are already in use in (some of) the statistical authorities of the European Statistical System, where they have proved to be useful. The aim of the ESS QAF is to accompany the ES Code of Practice by providing guidance and examples in the form of more detailed methods and tools as well as good practices for the (rather) high-level Principles and Indicators of the ES Code of Practice.
In accordance with the self-regulatory nature of the ESS common quality framework, these methods, tools and good practices are of a non-obligatory nature and therefore, not binding for the statistical authorities. The listed methods, tools and good practices demonstrate how the ES Code of Practice can be implemented in the every-day work of a statistical authority, taking due account of national circumstances.
The suggested methods, tools and good practices are identified at institutional and statistical process/output level, reflecting the most suitable level of their adoption, application and/or use. In their listing, they evolve from a general perspective into a more concrete and detailed description. It has to be underlined that a specific method, tool or good practice (in a slightly modified formulation) can be listed in support of several Indicators and this sometimes repetitive nature of methods, tools and good practices in the ESS QAF is done on purpose as it follows the approach applied in the ES Code of Practice.
Organisation and development of the ESS QAF
The current version 2.0 of the ESS QAF was prepared by the ESS Task Force QAF, a sub-group of the Working Group on Quality in Statistics, and Eurostat, and was approved by the European Statistical System Committee in May 2019. It was inspired by the revised ES Code of Practice, Regulation 223/2009 on European Statistics, the two rounds of ESS peer reviews, results and lessons learned from the ESS Vision Implementation Projects, current statistical practices of ESS members as well as other international initiatives and developments, such as the "Generic Law on Official Statistics (UNECE)" and the "Guidance on Modernizing Statistical Legislation (UNECE)".
While the "Generic Law on Official Statistics" (GLOS) provides reference for developing a solid legal basis for the functioning of the National Statistical System and the production of high quality official statistics in the context of the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, the UNECE Task Force, established to develop the guidance document, built its work on the GLOS. The "Guidance on Modernizing Statistics Legislation" identifies common elements of statistical legislation and defines their intended outcomes to inspire countries wishing to benchmark or update the legal framework of their National Statistical System (NSS), acknowledging though that statistical systems across countries are organized in varying ways. Whenever reference to international guidance on legislation is made in the ESS QAF, it is these two documents that can be consulted.
The ESS QAF remains open to further updates in the collection of methods, tools and good practices and, in this context, will closely follow the evolution of the ES Code of Practice in the future.
Future developments of the ESS QAF
Quality Assurance Framework