Several factors characterise the quality of official statistics. Often, the focus is on accuracy when talking about the quality of statistics, whether the figures give a precise description of reality. For users, it is just as important that the statistics is relevant to describe the phenomenon of interest. For the statistics to be the basis for important decisions, it needs to be published timely enough. It is important that statistics provide comparisons over time and to similar developments in other countries. It must also be easy for the user to find and understand the statistics they need.

The European Statistics Code of Practice – a common framework for quality

The European Statistics Code of Practice (ES CoP) (open PDF from is a common framework for quality in official statistics for Europe. Norway is included through the European Economic Area Agreement. Code of Practice is based on users’ needs that official statistics need to fulfil.

The Norwegian Statistics Act and the Code of Practice sets requirements for official statistics. The Statistics Act and the Code of Practice have many similarities, where the Code of Practice is more detailed, the Statistics Act is more general.

Code of Practice sets requirements for the institutional environment, statistical processes, and statistical output. It includes 16 principles with underlying indicators. It was established in 2005 and revised in 2011 and 2017. SSB has contributed to the development of Code of Practice.

Institutional environment

1. Professional Independence

1bis. Coordination and cooperation.

2. Mandate for Data Collection and Access to Data

3. Adequacy of Resources

4. Commitment to Quality

5. Statistical Confidentiality and Data Protection

6. Impartiality and Objectivity

Statistical processes

7. Sound Methodology

8. Appropriate Statistical Procedures

9. Non-excessive Burden on Respondents

10. Cost Effectiveness

Statistical output

11. Relevance

12. Accuracy and Reliability

13. Timeliness and Punctuality

14. Coherence and Comparability

15. Accessibility and Clarity


Quality Assurance Framework

The Quality Assurance Framework of the European Statistical System (QAF) (open PDF from supports the Code of Practice with guidelines for methods, tools, and practices that are useful in implementing the Code of Practice.

European quality assessment – ESS Peer Review

European statistics should be of high quality and continuously improve. To ensure this, assessments of all statistical offices in Europe are required. This is called ESS Peer Review. For Norway, Peer revies were conducted in 2008, 2014, and 2021.

You can read the report from the Peer review in 2021, as well as Statistics Norway’s action plan following the Peer Review and more about Peer Reviews on Eurostat's website.

Peer Reviews is based on the Code of Practice and aims to improve the quality of official statistics.

To conduct a Peer review, a quality team, organised by Eurostat, gains insight into statistical production through document reviews and self-assessments. In 2021 the team discussed with Statistics Norway, other producers of European statistics, the media, and other users of official statistics. Four other national authorities who report to Eurostat where reviewed: the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries (DoF), the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO).

Quote from the Peer Review report: “Overall, the Peer Review team considers that the Norwegian statistical system demonstrates a strong commitment to the European Statistics Code of Practice (ES CoP) and that progress since the last peer review has been significant. Hence, the peer review team encouraged Statistics Norway and the other national authorities developing, producing and disseminating official statistics to continue the good work and presented recommendations that could allow them to improve beyond compliance with the European Statistics Code of Practice.”