Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.19, No.4, 2003. pp. 365382

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Quality Management Using ISO 9000 for Price Indices in the UK

The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for producing a wide range of inflation measures. These include the Retail Prices Index (RPI) and the UK Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), which is used for comparisons across the European Union.

One of the key components of national statistics is a public commitment to the regular quality assurance of outputs to ensure the professional quality of output. In this context ISO 9000 has become an integral part of an ongoing programme designed to improve and maintain the quality of the RPI and HICP. It is now a key element underlying a formal quality management system ISO 9000.

The article reviews the meaning of quality in the context of statistical outputs, the different approaches available to quality management, and the potential these have to improve performance and how the latter can be measured. It describes some of the benefits that have accrued from using a formal system of quality management and takes a critical look at the lessons learnt.

ISO 9000 has been used to refer to the series of International Standards Organisation (ISO) Standards, except where references to specific standards such as ISO 9002 or ISO 9001 (2000) apply.

ISO 9000; European Foundation for Quality Management quality model; quality management system; documentation; auditing; price collection.

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