Besides external quality auditing and peer-review activities that target particular statistical production processes or the organization itself within the European Foundation for Quality Management framework (EFQM), Statistics Finland has developed and has been using an internal quality audit system continuously from 2007 (Piela, P. 2009). It is based on a system that was used at Statistics Sweden (Eiderbrant-Nilsson, G. 2005). The main objectives of quality audits are: to evaluate and question ways of working, methods and techniques; to identify and search for good practices; to increase knowledge by bringing together experts from different parts of the organization, and to introduce more discussion into organizational culture. The latter objective is actually a very distinctive and relevant part of the system.
An audit is carried out by an auditor team selected from the pool of voluntary auditors. Until the end of 2010, 53 voluntary auditors have participated in 41 audits that have involved one or several similar statistics production processes (SPPs). Audits have been seen as useful for the target SPPs but they have also been an important learning experience for the auditors themselves.
Statistics Finland has designed the Training Programme in Statistical Skills (TPSS) to sustain better the professional competence of its personnel in its aim to be a learning organization (Mäkinen, R. 2010). As the idea is to teach and deepen experts' knowledge on statistics production processes, it was decided to connect the audit system with the training programme in such a way that audits become a compulsory final practical work assignment in the TPSS advanced studies part, fulfilling one of the two rounds of annual audits. Participation in the TPSS, however, is on a voluntary basis.
The presentation will cover the structure of this system and experiences from audits in improving and training on quality in official statistics.
Eiderbrant-Nilsson, G (2005). Quality Audits at Statistics Sweden. Proceedings of the ASA Section on Quality and Productivity, Minneapolis.
Mäkinen, R (2010): Training Programme in Statistical Skills - towards top statistical know-how and solid professional identity. Proceedings of the Q2010 European Conference on Quality in Official Statistics, Helsinki.
Piela, P (2009): Participative Quality Audits at Statistics Finland. Proceedings of ISI 2009, Durban.
Keywords: Auditing; Peer-review; Quality training; Quality assurance
Biography: Mr. Pasi Piela has been working among statistical quality and quality management issues for 11 years. He is currently a Head of Development at the Statistical Methodology R&D Unit of Statistics Finland, being responsible for the Statistical Auditing and Review system that Statistics Finland has been using from 2007. His major research interests are in another actual field, namely, Geographic Information Systems (GIS).