Quality Management at the Office for National Statistics (UK)
Ceri Regan1, John-Mark Frost1, Jennet Woolford2
1Methodology Directorate, Office for National Statistics, Newport, Gwent, United Kingdom; 2Methodology Directorate, Office for National Statistics, Titchfield, Hampshire, United Kingdom

Official Statistics within the United Kingdom are steered by a Code of Practice, which serves to establish common standards across a decentralised Government Statistical Service (GSS). The Code provides recommended good practice in the production of Official Statistics and is a requirement for National Statistics. In particular, Principle 4 states that “...Quality should be monitored and assured taking account of internationally agreed practices.”

In order to develop more detailed best practice for statistical producers, and to therefore support them in adhering to Principle 4, a GSS-wide Quality Task Force was established in 2010. The Task Force was charged with developing policies, standards and good practice associated with: quality management; quality assurance; quality reviews; and quality measurement and reporting.

The work of the GSS Task Force builds on previous work to develop quality indicators, via two Eurostat projects, namely:

a) Output Quality Indicators for measuring and reporting quality to users; and

b) Process Quality Measures, which if used appropriately, can enable continuous quality improvement during all stages of the statistical production.

At the Office for National Statistics (ONS), work has recently been underway to develop a Quality Management Strategy. Staff training and guidance has also been developed (at all levels) and rolled-out to ensure that the appropriate messages are reaching staff. Increasing knowledge and obtaining 'buy-in' have been the greatest challenges, but it is hoped that the ONS can eventually embed a quality culture. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the work undertaken to date and to discuss how these quality initiatives have been implemented.

Keywords: Quality management; Quality assurance; Quality reviews

Biography: Ceri Regan has worked at the Office for National Statistics for approximately 12 years, working in the Methodology Directorate on a number of varying projects. Ceri has worked within the Quality Centre for 1.5 years, hopefully building on the good work already undertaken and pulling the quality components together. The work of the centre is now focussed on driving forward quality initiatives and attempting to embed a quality culture at the ONS.