Statistical Quality Assurance

National Records of Scotland (NRS) has published a Statistical Quality Assurance Strategy that seeks to provide an overview of how we will assess and measure the level of quality being achieved throughout the collection and processing of Census data and the production and dissemination of statistical outputs.

The key quality assurance activities we are developing include:



Assurance of processes

Quality assurance activities at each step of the Census data journey

Validation of Population Estimates

Comparing our national and local authority population estimates to other data

Topic-based Analysis

Comparing our topic-based population estimates to other data

Internal and External Assurance Panels

Methodologies and population estimates reviewed by internal and external experts

National Statistics Accreditation

All activities and outputs assessed against the three pillars of the Code of Practice: trustworthiness, quality and value

We continue to work closely with our statistical colleagues in ONS and NISRA to harmonise our approach to statistical quality assurance where possible. To support this, a UK Statistical Quality Working Group has been established that meets quarterly to share methodologies, best practice and lessons learned. Regular communication continues between meetings to keep up to date on work in the respective UK offices, and to identify areas for potential alignment and joint working.

The three UK census offices also continue to work closely with our colleagues from international census organisations in Canada, the Republic of Ireland, United States of America, Australia and New Zealand to share statistical quality assurance best practice and lessons learned across census operations.

We expect that quality assurance activities proposed in the strategy will evolve based on stakeholder feedback, evaluation of the census rehearsal in 2019/2020, peer review of tools and methodologies, and our continued work with colleagues from other census offices.

To encourage stakeholder feedback, the Statistical Quality Assurance Strategy was presented to the Population and Migration Statistics Committee (Scotland) - (PAMS) on 19 November 2019. In addition, the publication of the Statistical Quality Assurance Strategy was promoted as part of a five day social media campaign, where stakeholders were encouraged to provide feedback on proposals. The strategy was also promoted at the Statistical Methodology stakeholder event and feedback on proposed methodology requested. The strategy was also presented to the External Methodology Assurance Panel (EMAPs) in June 2020 and feedback was received from panel members on proposed quality assurance checks. All feedback will be incorporated into updates and NRS proposes to publish a revised strategy in October 2020.

NRS continues to seek views from our stakeholders on the proposed plans laid out in the Statistical Quality Assurance Strategy to ensure we get it right and undertake the types of quality assurance checks our census data users expect. To share your views on our strategy, please contact