1504.0 - Methodological News, Dec 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/12/2007   
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Progress Update on the Quality Infrastructure System (QIS) and Quality Gates

In the September 2007 edition of Methodological News, it was reported through the Making Quality Visible (MQV) initiative that the first production Quality Infrastructure System (QIS) was launched in August 2007. This article details further developments and future directions for the QIS, and also provides an update of the progress that has been made in recent months on various aspects of the Quality gates initiative.

Progress Update on QIS - Quality Information Monitoring tool

The QIS was released as a production tool in August 2007. This is the first version release of the full production system, which is inclusive of a production release of the output reporting tools, SAS BI. A number of demonstrations of the new release have since been given to various economic survey areas in the ABS.

The first version of this production release is primarily focused on economic survey data, and consists of 13 quality measures (QMs): 12 measures from the ABS Survey Facilities (SF) tool and one measure from the Provider Information Management System (PIMS). The measures from ABSSF are focussed around survey frame quality measures, measures of accuracy, and adjustments to data. They include information about contribution to estimates from imputed and outlier values, and business provisions; standard errors, and relative standard errors; and live and dead units, and proxies on the survey frame. The measure coming from PIMS is the form receival rate.

As part of the release, there is a production release of a client interface that will allow formatted sending of the above quality measures to the production version of the Collection Management System (CMS), which is currently used by economic survey areas in their survey or collection sign-off procedures.

The output reports are displayed using the production environment of SAS Business Intelligence (BI) tools. These output reports are delivered via a QIS Portal (accessed from the user's desktop) within the SASBI environment, and show the relevant quality measures in a prepared report, hence allowing clients to view some aspects of quality for their survey without any work by the user.

On the household survey side, the Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) group have established a SASBI portal, which they are using for monitoring the MPS and SSS surveys. QIS and BAM have set-up a shared portal so that both economic and household quality information can be found by accessing the same reporting tool.

It is planned to have a second version of the production release of QIS in April 2008, which will contain more functionality in the output reports (such as a drill-down function for reports of measures, and the functionality of running user-specified SAS programs using QIS data) and the inclusion and breadth of more quality measures, including a broader range of users. The high priority quality measures on the horizon are live response rate, frame quality measures and linkage of more survey areas sending their quality measures to QIS.

Progress Update on Quality Gates

Recently workshops have been held with various economic and social survey managers to progress the initiative of quality gates for minimising statistical risks. These workshops have focused primarily on the role of quality gates in mitigating statistical risk, as well as prompting discussion as to what clients perceive to be risk areas in their collections and subsequently, where quality gates could be used. Discussions have also been held with the Economic Statistics Data Centre (ESDC), who have already put forward a list of quality gates, to assist them in furthering the implementation of their quality gates. In particular, assistance will be provided on the aspects of setting tolerances and remedial actions, based on their expectations of what is acceptable quality for their measures. Discussions have also been broadening the quality framework to include aspects (or show the synergies with) project management, monitoring processes, continuous improvement and more general risk assessment. Future work in this area will be focussed on assisting (and advising) more clients with creating and implementing quality gates, as well as work on broadening the framework as specified above.

For more information on either of these updates please contact Rebecca Cassidy on (02) 6252 6022 or Bruce Fraser on (02) 6252 7306.