THE IMF DATA QUALITY ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK (DQAF)
The DQAF comprises a generic assessment framework and specific assessment frameworks for the main aggregates used for macro-economic analysis. The framework follows a cascading structure that flows from five main dimensions that have been identified as critical constituents of data quality. For each of these interrelated, and somewhat overlapping, dimensions, the framework identifies pointers, or observable features, that can be used in assessing quality. These pointers to quality are further broken down into more detailed elements. At its most detailed level, for certain dimensions of quality, such as methodological soundness and accuracy and reliability, the DQAF is highly technical in nature and is designed mainly for IMF and internal assessment purposes by national accounts experts. However, at the broader level, the framework allows data users to assess data quality for their own purposes.
Recognising that the quality of individual datasets is intrinsically bound together with that of the institution producing it, the DQAF includes a few elements and indicators that, although not constituting a quality dimension in themselves, have an overarching role as prerequisites for quality. These pointers to quality cover issues such as whether a supportive legal and administrative framework is in place, whether resources are commensurate with the needs of the statistical program, and whether quality is recognised as a cornerstone of statistical work by producers of official statistics.
The DQAF defines the following dimensions of quality:
- prerequisites of quality
- assurances of integrity
- methodological soundness
- accuracy and reliability
A feature of the DQAF is that there is a relatively close mapping to international statistical standards, such as the System of National Accounts
(SNA93). The SNA93 manual is used as a benchmark for definitions, concepts, classifications and valuation methodologies.
In 2003, the ABS undertook a summary assessment of its national accounts program using the broad category headings of the DQAF. This assessment was published in the March quarter 2003 issue of Australian National Accounts: National Income and Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0) available on the ABS web site.