The first dimension of quality in the ABS DQF is the Institutional Environment. This dimension refers to the institutional and organisational factors which may have a significant influence on the effectiveness and credibility of the agency producing the statistics. Consideration of the institutional environment associated with a statistical product is important as it enables an assessment of the surrounding context, which may influence the validity, reliability or appropriateness of the product.
The dimension of Institutional Environment can be evaluated by considering six key aspects:
- Impartiality and objectivity: whether the production and dissemination of data are undertaken in an objective, professional and transparent manner.
- Professional independence: the extent to which the agency producing statistics is independent from other policy, regulatory or administrative departments and bodies, as well as from private sector operators, and potential conflict of interest.
- Mandate for data collection: the extent to which administrative organisations, businesses and households, and the public at large may be compelled by law to allow access to, or to provide data to, the agency producing statistics.
- Adequacy of resources: the extent to which the resources available to the agency are sufficient to meet its needs in terms of the production or collection of data.
- Quality commitment: the extent to which processes, staff and facilities are in place for ensuring the data produced are commensurate with their quality objectives.
- Statistical confidentiality: the extent to which the privacy of data providers (households, enterprises, administrations and other respondents), and the confidentiality of the information they provide, are guaranteed (if relevant).
The Institutional Environment dimension of a dataset or a statistical product can be evaluated by asking specific questions about the aspects listed above. We provide some suggestions of questions which might be asked, but these are not intended to be comprehensive or exhaustive. We encourage users and producers of statistics to generate their own questions to assess Institutional Environment in an appropriate way within their context.
Suggested questions to assess Institutional Environment
- Which organisation(s) has supplied the data? What sort of organisation is this (e.g., public, commercial, non-government organisation)?
- Under what authority or legislation were the data collected?
- What procedures are in place to enable a need for a statistical product to be evaluated with respect to its scope, detail or cost?
- To what extent are quality guidelines documented by the agency?
- Is statistical confidentiality guaranteed, and if so, under what authority?
- To what extent, and how quickly, are any identified errors in published statistics corrected and publicised?