Principle 4: Commitment to Quality
Statistical authorities are committed to quality. They systematically and regularly identify strengths and weaknesses to continuously improve process and output quality.
The Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) is a useful tool in implementing the Code of Practice in the member states, recommending possible actions at the institutional and process level for each of the Code’s indicators.
In the framework of its mission and in line with the Code of Practice, SP follows reliable and robust methodologies and adequate procedures, according to the best international practices. It also maintains and makes public an extensive set of documentation on concepts and classifications, included on its Metadata System, as an important and constant groundwork for its activity. Moreover, SP produces and disseminates statistics in an impartial, objective and transparent manner and treats all users equally, in agreement with its Dissemination Policy. All these aspects have a positive impact on the credibility of the produced statistics and the perceived quality and trust of the institution as a whole.
SP’s quality commitment is clearly and publicly stated and is an essential aspect in conveying the trustworthiness of Portuguese official statistics. This standard is the cornerstone of its customer and information provider’s relationship management. SP’s users and partners recognize the quality of statistics, of services and products, of staff’s excellence and of the overall image of the institution, past and present. With this goal in mind, SP’s latest version of its Quality Chart, released in 2019, establishes SP’s public commitment towards the following stakeholders and areas:
- Information security
- Relation with respondents;
- Relation with statistical information users;
- Revisions policy;
- Data dissemination practices;
- Availability of statistical products and other products;
- Tailor-made responses to specific user requests and general user support;
- Welcoming procedures for visitors to SP’s premises;
- Management of users’ suggestions and complaints;
- Users’ satisfaction and evaluation activities;
- Management of Human Resources;
- Cooperation with external entities.
The quality management system implemented by SP follows the principles of the ISO 9001:2015 Standard, whenever convenient, having adopted a systematic and process-oriented approach in accordance with the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. This system comprises a wide range of instruments, methods, and activities covering process documentation, performance assessment, and user relations, as follows:
- Internal and external audits, highlighting the two rounds of Peer Review (2008 and 2015) in what external audits are concerned;
- Performance indicators and management tools, drawing attention to QUAR (in the context of the Public Administration performance assessment and management system – SIADAP) and a specific set of quality monitoring criteria;
- User and respondent satisfaction questionnaires, towards the different services provided (in compliance with the ISO 10004:2012 Standard);
- Suggestions and complaints management system (observing the ISO 10002:2014 Standard);
- Documentation system (E.g. methodological documentation, internal procedures, statistical activity´s quality reports ). In the context of the latter, SP reports directly to EUROSTAT, meeting the requirements of the European Standard – ESS Handbook for Quality reports (2014). These reports are available for each survey and can be accessed on EUROSTAT’s website by statistical domain.
Other guiding documents for SP’s quality policy:
Please visit EUROSTAT’s Quality webpage, for further information on implementing the European Statistics Code of Practice in the ESS and at EUROSTAT, as well as on the rounds of Peer Reviews, on European quality policies (Quality Declaration of the ESS), and on Quality reports. There is also further information on the good practices of adherence to the aforementioned Code, at European level.