Quality assurance

Code of Practice for Official Statistics

The Code of Practice sets out expectations for the quality and quality assurance of Official and National statistics. Compliance with the Code is a statutory requirement on bodies (like the SSSC) that produce statistics that have already been designated as National Statistics.

The Code covers all parts of the statistical process, “from the identification of needs to the decision to collect or compile data, through to providing advice to the user.” (p.4) and is not simply concerned with the publication stage. Quality and quality assurance must therefore be considered throughout the production cycle.

SSSC documentation

In order to support this work the SSSC has produced a number of documents setting out what we do and our responsibilities concerning quality. The documents below can be found on the SSSC’s workforce data website.

The Corporate Policy Statement of Quality – this publication provides a statement on the quality guidelines used by the SSSC including information on what users can expect.

The SSSC has also produced and published A Guide to Basic Quality Assurance in Statistics, which is first and foremost intended as a guide to SSSC staff.

UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) assessment

The UKSA have responsibility for assessing the quality of all National Statistics publications. The SSSC’s annual Mental Health Officer (MHO) report was assessed by the UKSA between 2013 and 2014. The report’s status as a National Statistics publication was confirmed and details of the UKSA assessment can be found here on the SSSC data site.

Quality assurance of administrative data

In January 2015 the UKSA published guidance on the quality assurance of administrative data. In referring to “administrative data” UKSA state that, “Administrative data are a by-product of administrative systems developed primarily for operational purposes.”. They are the data that organisations develop as part of the day to day running of their services.

The data collected by the SSSC from local authorities on their workforce comes in general from local authority HR and payroll systems, i.e. data the authorities use to manage and pay their staff. In addition, the data that the SSSC obtains from the Care Inspectorate on the workforce within registered care services is of a similar nature.

The SSSC is currently developing clear processes to ensure that administrative data are quality assured in the manner expected by the UKSA. Discussions are taking place with the Care Inspectorate and with local authorities about the steps that require to be in place. Separate systems will be agreed and set up for the data collected directly from services by the SSSC and for the data shared with the SSSC by the Care Inspectorate (which is collected by them from registered care services). It is intended that this work should be completed by March 2016 and that relevant documentation will be published on the SSSC workforce data website. In 2016-17 the SSSC will look to implement these processes.

If you have any further questions about the quality assurance of the SSSC’s workforce data please contact us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.