Pre-requisites of quality

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Data quality is regulated by a framework of statistical laws, policies, standards and practices, and technical and human resources. This framework cannot exist in a vacuum. Pre-requisites of quality, as one of the dimensions of data quality, do not comprise a qualitative dimension, but refer to the evaluation and understanding of the institutional context in which the statistical processes exist and which is essential to the other dimensions. This dimension presents the integrated nature in which available statistical laws, as well as essential human and technical resources, impact on other quality dimensions.

In order to highlight the specificity of this part of the framework (pre-requisites), and to differenciate it from the other "dimensions", the accepted convention is to start the numbering at 0 (Zero).

Contents

0.1 Legal and institutional environment

0.1.1 The responsibility for collecting, processing, and disseminating statistics is clearly specified

  • 1. A law, such as a statistical law, or other formal provision (e.g. inter-agency protocol or executive decree, or Education ACT) assigns primary responsibility to an agency (or agencies) and provides the authority to the agency (or agencies) for the collection, processing, and dissemination of the education statistical data.
  • 2. Institutional arrangements are consistent with the above assignment of responsibility (e.g. other existing institutional Act's (including an existing Statistical ACT) that designates responsibilities to line ministries concerned with education statistics data).

0.1.2 Data sharing and coordination among agencies producing data are adequate

  • 3. Arrangements or procedures are in place to ensure the efficient and timely flow of data between agencies (e.g. service level agreements to provide secondary sources of data, service level agreements between different levels of government responsible for data collection and reporting).
  • 4. Arrangements are in place to ensure consistency of methods and results (e.g. service level agreements with education statistics data providers, available data producing standards).
  • 5. Contacts (e.g. regular meetings and/or workshops) are maintained with other data producing agencies to ensure proper understanding of data requirements, to avoid duplication of effort, and to take into account respondent burden.

0.1.3 Respondents' data are to be kept confidential and used for statistical purposes only

The confidentiality of individual respondent’s data is guaranteed and that guarantee is widely known
  • 6. In collecting data, whether using administrative data or surveys, a law or other formal provision clearly states that individual responses are to be treated as confidential, and shall not be disclosed or used for other than statistical purposes unless disclosure is agreed to in writing by the respondent.
  • 7. In collecting data, respondents are informed of their rights and obligations with regard to the provision of information, and they are informed that the information they provide will be used for statistical purposes only.
Procedures are in place to prevent disclosure of individual data
  • 8. Access to individual data is restricted to authorized staff who require the information in the performance of their duties.
  • 9. Steps are taken to secure the premises of the data producing agency and its computer systems to prevent unauthorized access to individual data.

0.1.4 Statistical reporting is ensured through legal mandate and/or measures to encourage response

A law or other formal provisions are adequate to mandate reporting of information to compile statistics
  • 10. Data-producing agencies have the legal authority to collect data required to compile the statistical data.
  • 11. If reporting is mandatory, there are penalties for noncompliance with reporting requirements (including misreporting), even if such provisions rarely need to be employed.
Data producing agencies consider carefully respondent burden
  • 12. Data producing agencies provide assistance to respondents in completing and submitting forms (e.g. by providing a point of contact), in order to raise awareness of the importance of good quality statistics and creating goodwill.

0.2 Resources: Resources are commensurate with needs of statistical programs

0.2.1 Staff, financial, and computing resources are commensurate with statistical programs of the agency

Staff resources for compiling statistics are adequate to perform required tasks
  • 13. Overall, the number of staff is adequate to perform the required tasks.
  • 14. The qualifications, skills and experience of the staff are adequate. They are provided formal and on-the job training in statistics and related subjects.
  • 15. Efforts are made to ensure the retention at any point of time of a core contingent of skilled staff (e.g. succesive planning is taken into account).
Computing resources for compiling statistics are adequate to perform required tasks
  • 16. Overall, sufficient resources are allocated and best efforts are made to exploit the full potential of modern computing technology for compiling and disseminating the statistical data.
  • 17. Software utilized for compiling and analyzing data is adequate, continually updated, and well adapted to perform existing and emerging tasks.
  • 18. Hardware is adequately provided to ensure efficient processing of data and management of the databases and adequately protected, including through provision of emergency back-up systems for retrieval of statistical series and updates in the event of natural disasters, accidents, and other unusual events.
Financial resources for compiling statistics are adequate to perform required tasks
  • 19. Overall, financial resources for compiling data are adequate to perform required tasks and commensurate with the overall resource availability for the agency.
  • 20. There are forward plans that allocate budgetary resources to future statistical development based upon identified statistical needs for compiling data.
  • 21. Physical facilities (office building, furniture and equipment) and other resources (transportation arrangements) are adequate to perform required tasks.

0.2.2 Measures to ensure efficient use of resources are implemented

  • 22. Managers in the data-producing agency promote a policy vision and a direction that is shared with the staff (through meetings, quality group sessions, circulation of information, etc.).
  • 23. Management takes steps to develop and release the full potential of the staff.
  • 24. Periodic reviews of working processes are undertaken to ensure that they improve.

0.3 Relevance: Education Statistics cover relevant information

  • 25. Data users are consulted and/or kept informed on specific aspects of the current data (e.g. usefullness in terms of detail, periodicity and timeliness).
  • 26. A structured and periodic process of consultation (e.g users' advisory committee or working groups) takes place to review the usefulness of existing statistics and to identify emerging data requirements.

0.4 Quality awareness: Quality is a cornerstone of statistical work

0.4.1 Processes are in place to focus on quality

There is recognition in the organization that quality is a cornerstone of statistical work
  • 27. High level management is sensitive to all dimensions of data quality, and promote a shared concern for quality; managers in the data producing agencies are accountable for the overall quality of data produced by the agency (e.g. integrity, methodological soundness, accuracy and reliability, timeliness, coherence, relevance, and accessibility).
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