The Office for National Statistics is committed to assuring the quality of its statistics. ONS has a number of established mechanisms for assuring quality, including:
New methods or major changes to methodology undergo external review, for example:
the GSS Methodology Advisory Committee (GSS MAC) provides independent advice from external experts
the coverage measurement and adjustment methodology for the 2011 Census underwent QA throughout its development, with a final external review (Ian Plewis et al.)
the involvement of internal and external methodological experts in major development work such as the Beyond 2011 programme
A Quality Centre which supports areas throughout ONS in assessing and reporting on the quality of ONS statistical outputs
The sharing of best practice across the Government Statistical Service
Continuous improvement initiatives for existing outputs, for example GDP
In addition, ONS is re-establishing its programme of National Statistics Quality Reviews (NSQRs). The previous NSQR programme was put on hold in 2008 following the creation of the UK Statistics Authority and the launch of a new assessment process for Official Statistics. Now that the first round of Statistics Authority assessments has been completed ONS has decided to conduct these rolling in-depth methodological reviews, focusing initially on its most widely used statistics.
The NSQRs will complement the existing quality assurance practices set out above, providing an additional tool to ensure ONS methods are - and remain - fit for purpose and amongst the best in the world. A review board, which will include external expertise, will ensure that the quality and methodology underpinning ONS outputs have kept pace with changing methods and users' needs. The reviews will provide an opportunity for external experts and users to contribute to the continued improvement of our methods.
The findings of the reviews will be published when complete, including recommendations for any changes and improvements.