After two decades of systematic activities on quality, the Italian National Statistical Institute (Istat), can now rely on a sound and articulated framework comprising several pillars. Overall, Istat quality approach is highly coherent with European quality principles. Istat framework is based on a measurement system, including the calculation of standard quality indicators and the evaluation of statistical process compliance to quality standards, throughout the application of auditing and self-assessment procedures.
Quality indicators and quality activities are documented in a centralised information system, named SIDI, and made available for different purposes and to different users by means of the SIQual navigation system.
Quality activities are supported by a proper organisation that includes: i) a committee for audit and self-assessment governance; ii) a working group for the maintenance of the SIDI/SIQual system and the development of new areas for metadata and quality indicators; iii) a net of pilots for quality and documentation, in charge of the update of metadata and computation of quality indicators for Istat processes in the SIDI system.
As part of the quality strategy, the reinforcement of the quality culture is a strategic objective, pursued by offering a wide range of courses on quality, ranging from a base course on the fundamentals of quality concepts to the course for the quality pilots, to the advanced course on statistical methods in survey quality measurement.
Such a quality approach is in continuous improvement. After two experimental rounds held in 2010-2011, the auditing and self-assessment procedures are being launched on a regular basis. The quality indicators stored in the system are becoming the base for regular monitoring, additional quality indicators are being developed for the users.
Keywords: quality in official statistics
Biography: Ms. Giovanna Brancato is Head of the Unit Quality, audit and harmonisation at the Italian National Statistical Institute (Istat), where she works since 1996. Her background is in statistics. At Istat, she has always worked on quality issues, and in particular in topics related to standard quality indicators definition and implementation, quality reporting, quality assessment and quality communication to the users. She is in charge of the quality documentation system SIQual, available in Istat web site disseminating metadata and quality information to the external users. She is a member of the Eurostat working group on quality and has coordinated European projects on the development of recommended practices for questionnaire design and testing and on the communication of quality to the users.