Scottish economy statistics: quality assurance

Information about the quality assurance processes that underlie the Scottish Government's economic statistics.

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Accessibility and clarity refer to the simplicity and ease which users can access statistics, with the appropriate supporting information and assistance.

Publications are available on line, and follow the standard accessibility guidelines. Publications are presented in a user friendly manner e.g. tables are available in spreadsheet format. OCEA carry out numerous bespoke analyses for users (especially in the academic community) where users need statistics below publication level.


The Coherence of two or more statistical outputs refers to the degree to which the statistical processes by which they were generated used the same concepts - classifications, definitions, and target populations - and harmonised methods. Coherent statistical outputs have the potential to be validly combined and used jointly. Examples of joint use are where the statistical outputs refer to the same population, reference period and region but comprise different sets of data items (say, employment data and production data) but for different reference periods, regions or other domains.

Considerable effort is now made to ensure internal comparability with our own figures, especially on a time-series basis. For example, until 2009, the Input-Output tables for Scotland were published on an annual basis but no revisions were made to earlier years. In the latest publication, a time series of I-O tables was published from 1998 to 2004 on a consistent basis, allowing for methodology and definitional changes over time (e.g. the re-calculation of FISIM to be consistent with the UK National Accounts). The next publication, updating the tables to 2007, will also incorporate revisions back to 1998.

The next publication of GDP for 2010 Q2, due for release on 20 October, will use the 1998-2007 I-O tables for weights and constraining variables. The quarterly SNAP estimates will also be constrained to the annual I-O analysis for 1998 to 2007.


Comparability is a special case of coherence and refers to the latter example above where the statistical outputs refer to the same data items and the aim of combining them is to make comparisons over time, or across regions, or across other domains.

OCEA have taken care to ensure that economic statistics produced for Scotland are presented on the same basis, where relevant, as those produced for the UK as a whole.

The same standards and definitions e.g. the Standard Industrial Classifications are used to ensure comparability.

It may not always be easy to ensure comparability on the same time-scale. For example, the ONS are moving from SIC 2003 to SIC 2007 in a piecemeal fashion. Whilst we will receive data on the new classification, the control totals we use will not be available until the Regional GVA estimates are compiled. This is the last product ONS will be converting.


If you have any enquiries relating to Economy Statistics then please contact us at:


Telephone: 0131 244 3768

Office of the Chief Economic Advisor
Room 4ER
St Andrews House
Regent Road

We welcome comments on both the format and content of the website and descriptions of any problems you encounter.

You may also contact the Statistician Group Enquiries for general information.


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