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Quality Gates for the Mitigation of Statistical Risk
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) leads Australia's national statistical services, running hundreds of surveys and publishing thousands of pages of output every year. As with any large and complex organisation, problems with processes do arise and the ABS has suffered errors in our data in the past with varying degrees of impact on the public domain. Most errors are detected in-house before publication, however this has at times resulted in intense last-minute work to correct the problems leading to delays in the release of data. Other errors have only been discovered after release, resulting in re-issue of statistical output. As a result of these errors the ABS has endeavoured to instigate better quality management practices through the development and use of the risk mitigation strategy known as quality gates.
Quality gates are an organisational risk mitigation strategy the ABS has adapted to improve the early detection of errors or flaws in any part of statistical processes, be it collecting, processing, analysing or disseminating statistics. Quality gates are a powerful tool for improving an statistical organisation's ability to manage statistical risk by:
Each quality gate is a checkpoint at which an assessment of the quality of the process is made either qualitatively or quantitatively, to determine whether to proceed to the next stage of the process. This is achieved through the six components of a quality gate:
Although the ABS is in the early stages of implementing quality gates, the impact has been very positive and we are therefore keen to promote their use to external organisations. To achieve this, the ABS will release an information paper that outlines the concept of quality gates and their six components in more detail, discusses the benefits of quality gates and provides examples to assist organisations to implement quality gates in their own statistical processes.
The information paper, 'Quality Management of Statistical Processes Using Quality Gates (cat. no. 1540)', will be released on Thursday, 23 December 2010. A home page icon will promote the paper on the ABS website from early December, and will later be linked to the paper upon its release.
Further information on the implementation of quality gates in a statistical process can be obtained from Andrew Doherty on (03) 9615 7038 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or from Narrisa Gilbert on (08) 9360 5283 or email@example.com.
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