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Quality in Statistics
Statistics Portugal (SP) is the main authority for the production and dissemination of official statistics in Portugal and its work is steered by the underlying principles of its mission, vision, and values, which are quality-oriented and known to the public. In what concerns its legal framework, quality in statistics is defined by the Portuguese Statistical System Law, article 7 (Law no. 22/2008) and the Regulation (EC) nº 223/2009 ,(amended by the European Regulation 2015/759), at national and European levels, respectively.
SP is part of the European Statistical System (ESS) and has adopted the European Statistics Code of Practice, since its first edition (2005), as firm guidance for the success of its mission. Since its last revision (November 2017), the Code comprises the Quality Declaration of the European Statistical System, 16 Principles and 84 indicators of best practices and standards for each of the Principles, defining the European benchmarks for the statistical activity, covering the institutional environment, statistical processes, and statistical outputs. Although all 16 principles are essential, it is important to highlight the Principle 4: Commitment to Quality:
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 General Guidelines of Official Statistical Activity 2023-2027, constitute an important framework for the strategic objectives of the National Statistical System (NSS) and the relevant actions for the Statistical Authorities. Quality-related aspects are prominent in this particular document.
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 rounds of Peer Review (2008,2015 and 2022) 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 – European Statistical System (ESS) handbook for quality and metadata reports (2020). 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 and on Quality reports. There is also further information on the good practices of adherence to the aforementioned Code, at European level.