QUALITY MEASUREMENT OF STATISTICS by Ioannis Nikolaidis The planning of the statistical surveys in NSSG is based on the needs of society, economic decision-making and scientific research. The data needs of the customer, researcher or interest group are identified and specified in the planning stage. The modes of operation, concepts, classifications and standards set by the NSSG determine the operating framework of the statistical surveys. The key areas in planning stage are the definition of the content and the strategic decisions on data collection methods. The resources, budget, personnel and equipment are also established early in planning stage. At the same time the process and the schedule for the statistical surveys are defined and it is ensured that the data quality criteria are fulfilled. The quality measurement in NSSG follows the structure of the seven main components of the Eurostat quality concepts. These components are: Relevance. Relevance is the degree to which statistics meet current and potential users' needs. It refers to whether all statistics that are needed are produced and the extent to which concepts used (definitions, classifications etc.) reflect user needs. When reporting on relevance, the aim is to describe the extent to which the statistics are useful to, and used by, the broadest array of users. For this purpose, statisticians need to compile information, firstly about their users (Who they are, How many they are, How important is each one of them), secondly on their needs, and finally to assess how far these needs are met. Accuracy. Accuracy is defined as the closeness between the value finally produced (after collection, editing, imputation, estimation, etc) and the true, but unknown, population value. The difference between the two values is the error. Timeliness and punctuality. Punctuality refers to "the possible time lag existing between the actual delivery date of data and the target date when it should have been delivered, for instance, with reference to dates announced in some official release calendar, laid down by Regulations or previously agreed among partners. If both are the same, delivery is punctual." Timeliness refers to "the lapse of time between the delivery and the reference dates. The latter being the date (or the period) to which data mostly applies." Accessibility and Clarity. Accessibility and clarity refer to the simplicity and ease for users to access the statistics using simple and user-friendly procedures, obtaining them in an expected form and within an acceptable time period, with the appropriate user information and assistance: a global context which finally enables them to make optimum use of the statistics. Accessibility refers to the physical conditions in which users can access statistics: distribution channels, ordering procedures, time required for delivery, pricing policy, marketing conditions (copyright, etc.), availability of micro or macro data, media (paper, CD-ROM, Internet...), etc. Clarity refers to the statistics' information environment: appropriate metadata provided with the statistics (textual information, explanations, documentation, etc); graphs, maps, and other illustrations; availability of information on the statistics' quality (possible limitation in use...); assistance offered to users by the NSI. Comparability. Comparability aims at measuring the impact of differences in applied statistical concepts and definitions on the comparison of statistics between geographical areas, non-geographical domains, or over time. Coherence. Where similar statistics from various sources exist, they should be identified and any differences should be quantified and explained. A discrepancy between two sets of statistics produced by different surveys may be due to differences in the data collection process or differences in reporting units resulting in different estimates. Coherence of statistics is their adequacy to be reliably combined in different ways and for various uses. It is, however, generally easier to show cases of incoherence than to prove coherence. Completeness. Completeness is the extent to which statistics are available - compared to what it should be available - for meeting the requirements of the European Statistical System. There are clear relations between completeness and relevance. Furthermore, the availability of statistics is, in some cases, limited by accuracy and confidentiality reasons.