The following provides definitions and information on various aspects of quality.
Reviews may be conducted internally or externally and cover the processes and/or outputs of official statistics. The review forms part of the cycle of continuous quality improvement aimed at identifying areas for further examination and improvement. It also provides a means of auditing compliance with the Code of Practice Principles.
Quality Management – “encompassing approach”
Quality management provides the organisation with an encompassing approach to quality work. It focuses on the full statistical process, and aims to improve quality and to coordinate quality initiatives. It also encourages and promotes a culture of continuous improvement, self-assessment and quality reviews. Quality Management is about having the right processes and checks in place to ensure that what is produced is fit for purpose. It is made up of Quality Assurance and Quality Control.
Quality Assurance – “anticipating problems”
Quality assurance covers all procedures focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled. It requires processes and systems in place that are planned and tested, and which should self correct or flag problems under exceptions. The goal of quality assurance is to prevent, reduce or limit the occurrence of errors in a statistical product and, therefore, to get it right first time. Quality Assurance is also about creating evidence that errors have not slipped through. For example, testing survey questions to show that interviewers and respondents understand the questions.
Quality Control – “responding to observed problems”
Quality control is directed only at what can be measured and judged acceptable or not; if measurement is not possible, then quality control cannot be performed. It is used to measure actual performance, compare it to standards and act on the difference. Quality control is most commonly applied at the process stage of a survey to work performed by people with various levels of training and ability, and where the task is repetitive and manual. Where ‘observed problems’ occur repeatedly, adjustments to the quality assurance procedures should be investigated. It applies to activities like coding, data capture and editing.