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Quality of statistics
The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia focuses on providing quality and user-friendly national statistics, which means the statistics are presented and accessible in a user-friendly way.
In the past, the quality of national statistics was dealt with mostly in connection with data accuracy in the narrow sense (mainly as coherence between statistical data and exact values). In the last decade the statistical profession has made great progress towards broader understanding of the quality of statistical data. The most developed countries implemented a new approach in national statistical institutes: total quality management at the level of organization. Considerable change in dealing with quality in the European Statistical System was brought by the European Statistics Code of Practice, which was adopted in 2005.
In September 2011 the European Statistical System Committee adopted the revision of Code of Practise.
Quality Statement of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia
The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia operates on the basis of the National Statistics Act† and Regulation (EC) No. 223/2009 on European statistics ; in performing its tasks it follows the general principles of quality management, the European Statistics Code of Practice† and the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics . In line with the stated, SURS declares that it takes into account the following principles: professional independence, process orientation, quality of products and services, planning of improvements, stimulating working environment for employees, data providers-friendly official statistics, user-oriented official statistics. The principles are more in detail presented in the Quality Statement of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia.
The European Statistics Code of Practice
With the adoption of the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat and the statistical authorities of the EU Member States have committed themselves to an encompassing approach towards high quality statistics.
The Code builds upon a common definition of quality (which was developed and accepted within the European Statistical System) and targets all relevant areas: institutional environment, statistical processes and statistical outputs.
The Code is nowadays a recommendation which should be followed as much as possible; Member States and Eurostat should regularly report on implementation to the European Commission. The first report for 2005 was done in the form of a self-assessment questionnaire. As the next step towards the implementation of the Code, Eurostat organised peer reviews to complement the self-assessments. They are considered a vital element for the implementation of the Code in practice given their capacity to encourage the sharing of best practice and to contribute to better transparency of the whole statistical system. The peer review of SORS took place in May 2007. The report includes the description of the situation at that time of the implementation of the Code at SORS and the recommendations for further improvements. The peer review reports from other countries are available on Eurostat's website.
In the years after the peer review SORS annualy reported Eurostat on implemented improvements at SORS and the authorised producers of the national statistics.
Data Quality Components
SORS adopted the Eurostatís common quality definition. According to this definition the quality of statistical data is composed of the following six components:
- Relevance. Relevance is the degree to which statistics meet current and potential user needs. It refers to whether all statistics that are needed are produced and the extent to which concepts used (definitions, classifications, etc.) reflect user needs.
- Accuracy. In the general statistical sense this concept denotes the closeness of computations or estimates to the (unknown) exact or true values. Statistical data are namely not equal to the true values because of variability (values vary due to random effects/errors that appear at the implementation of the survey) and bias (values vary due to systematic effects/errors that appear at the implementation of the survey).
- Timeliness and punctuality. Timeliness of publication reflects the length of time between the period when the statistical phenomenon was observed and the release date of data. Punctuality refers to the time lag between the announced date of publication (for example in the release calendar) and the actual release date of data.
- Comparability. Used concepts should be harmonized, so that the obtained data and information are comparable over time, between geographical areas and between domains.
- Coherence. Coherence of statistics is their adequacy to be reliably combined in different ways and for various uses. The problems with coherence can occur when data originate from different sources or from different statistical surveys, where the used concepts, classifications and methodological standards are not harmonized.
- Accessibility and clarity. Accessibility refers to the physical conditions for users to access the statistical data: where and how it is possible to order data, delivery time, how much it costs (clear pricing policy), access to microdata and metadata, availability in various formats. Clarity refers to the environment in which the data are presented: are data accompanied by appropriate metadata, by graphical presentations, by information on their quality and by information about the extent to which additional assistance is provided by the national statistical institute.
Besides the mentioned quality components, SORS also adds a seventh component, costs and burdens. This component measures the cost efficiency of statistical surveys and the burden of reporting units (data providers) when they report the demanded data for statistical purposes.
Reporting About the Quality of Statistical Surveys
Standard quality reports for statistical surveys have been regularly prepared by SORS since 2006 and they cover a broad scope of quality indicators for statistical surveys (in line with the Eurostatís standard for quality reports). Later on also annual quality reports for statistical surveys were introduced; these are shorter, translated also in English and include only the most important quality indicators about individual statistical surveys and are prepared every year.
These quality indicators provide an overview of various quality components and enable comparability between statistical surveys and between countries. Individual quality indicators can be divided into producer and user oriented: the former measure quality from the point of view of producers and the latter from the point of view of users of statistical results. More information about the quality definition and quality indicators is available on Eurostat's Quality homepage.
The Methodological Council is one of the advisory bodies at the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia. It was established to guarantee high quality of statistical products.
User Satisfaction Surveys
User satisfaction with statistical data and services is regularly monitored with various user satisfaction surveys. The results of these surveys are an important source of information about the needs of users and problems they face.