In legal terms, the quality means that the national and European statistics shall be developed, produced and disseminated based on uniform standards and of harmonised methods. The quality of statistical processes and products can be defined as the “fitness for purpose”, “fitness for use’, ‘meeting user needs’ and ‘customer satisfaction’.
When the information meets the national needs and with figures describes the history, present and the future in real sense, it offers the credibility of the system and inspires trust. Therefore, statistical information must be relevant, of high quality and obtained ethically.
The goal of the Croatian Bureau of Statistics is to follow the European standards and consequently provide high quality statistics for national and European purposes.
At the top of the pyramid of quality documentation is the Declaration of Quality of the European Statistical System, which is a partnership in which Eurostat and the national statistical authorities of each EU Member State and EFTA countries cooperate.
In order to achieve the main goal in the quality area, the European Statistics Code of Practice
(CoP) sets the standard for developing, producing and disseminating national and European statistics. The CoP, as the European standard, enables the Croatian Bureau of Statistics to continually work with customers on statistical quality by ensuring customers information necessary for understanding the quality in statistics and by establishing a system that gives answers on how far the quality meets their needs.
Using standardised tools and methodologies enable statistics to build quality in a way that it serves data providers, data owners, data producers and data users. One of the tools for organising, monitoring and improving quality is the Quality Assurance Framework of the European Statistical System
(ESS QAF), which identifies possible activities, methods and tools for quality management as well as guidance and evidence for the implementation of the Code of Practice when developing, producing and disseminating European statistics.
Eurostat follows a comprehensive quality management approach based on the CoP. In reality, the quality of statistics is neither one-dimensional nor absolute. Instead, it has to be understood as a relative concept, the products' characteristics being defined in relation to users' needs. As with other products, statistical information has to be 'fit for purpose' and this approach, leading to differentiated quality assurance (for statistics for direct policy use, standard and experimental statistics), emerges from continuous optimisation and learning in close interaction with users. An important element in this mosaic of statistical processes and products that enables better communication with users of statistical data is the General Revision policy of the Croatian Bureau of Statistics
What is the quality?
The quality of a statistical product can be defined as the “fitness for purpose” of that product. More specifically, it is the fitness for purpose with regards to the European Statistical System quality dimensions.
What are the main quality principles according to the Quality Declaration of the European Statistical System?
According to the Quality Declaration of the European Statistical System, the principles of quality are:
Principle 11 CoP
is the degree to which a statistical product meets user needs in terms of content and coverage.
Principle 12 CoP
Accuracy and reliability
is how close the estimated value in the output is to the true result.
Principle 13 CoP
Timeliness and punctuality
describes the time between the date of publication and the date to which the data refers, and the time between the actual publication and the planned publication of a statistic.
Principle 14 CoP
Coherence and comparability
is the degree to which data derived from different sources or methods, but which refer to the same topic, are similar, and the degree to which data can be compared over time and domain, for example, geographic level.
Principle 15 CoP
Accessibility and clarity
is ease with which users can access data, and the quality and sufficiency of metadata, illustrations and accompanying advices
There are additional characteristics that should be considered when thinking about quality. These include output quality trade-offs, user needs and perceptions, performance costs and respondent burden, as well as confidentiality, transparency and security.
The Code of Practice for Official Statistics requires from NSIs to continuously improve their cooperation with customers on statistical quality by ensuring that customers understand the quality of official statistics and by establishing how far the quality meets their needs.
Additional security requirements and continuous concern about data security requires from the NSIs to meet commitments as regards data confidentiality and to maintain security in statistics.
The establishment of a system for continuous quality improvement has created the preconditions for reducing operating costs in individual processes and subprocesses, i.e. it became possible to redirect resources to development activities and increase the value of statistical business processes in qualitative terms.