Quality Assurance/Quality Control and Data Management
This section contains information and guidance to assist with the development of quality assurance/quality control procedures and data management systems for greenhouse gas inventories.
Quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) activities should be an integral part of any inventory development processes as they improve transparency, consistency, comparability, completeness and accuracy of greenhouse gas inventories.
Quality control (QC) is defined as a system of checks to assess and maintain the quality of the inventory being compiled. Quality control procedures are designed to provide routine technical checks to measure and control the quality of a greenhouse gas inventory; to ensure data consistency, integrity, correctness and completeness; and to identify and address errors and omissions. Quality control checks should cover everything from data acquisition and handling, application of approved procedures and methods, technical reviews of emission factors and other estimation parameters, to calculation of estimates and documentation. Examples of general quality control checks include:
- checking for transcription errors in data input;
- checking that emission and removals are estimated and calculated correctly;
- checking that proper conversion factors were used;
- checking that all sources and sinks have been accounted for; and
- checking appropriateness of emissions factors.
Quality assurance (QA) is a planned system of review procedures conducted outside the actual inventory compilation by personnel not directly involved in the inventory development process. It is a non-biased, independent review of methods and/or emissions estimates that ensures that the inventory continues to incorporate the most current scientific knowledge and data available. Quality assurance procedures may include expert peer reviews of calculations and assumptions and audits to assess the quality of the inventory and to identify where improvements could be made.
At the facility level, it is important that collected greenhouse gas data and information is effectively managed to ensure the reliability of the inventory whether it is used by regulators, stakeholders, or the general public. A greenhouse gas data management system should include methods and processes to ensure the integrity of the greenhouse gas data and information. It should also cover the data and information monitoring and management, as well as electronic spreadsheets and forms, data management software, and hardcopy records. It is important to that ensure data management controls exist throughout the data management system and are of significance whenever there is a transfer or change of data or information. These controls are extremely important for electronic spreadsheets to provide a record of any changes and limit access to avoid unauthorized revisions. Implementing controls on spreadsheets will also enable them to be verified. Examples of greenhouse gas data controls are provided in the table below.
|Greenhouse Gas Data Management Processes||Examples of Greenhouse Gas Data Controls|
|Data Collection||data entry controls including tolerance limits, ranges for applicable data fields, computations, and data sequence checks|
|staff competency requirements|
|documented procedures and schedule for data collection|
|prescribed sampling methodologies|
|Data Consolidating and Processing||checks on the conversion of data between their origin and their destination to confirm that the data are complete and accurate|
|controlled access to spreadsheets including password protection, locking or protecting formulas or master data|
|approvals and testing procedures for any changes to spreadsheets or models|
|error checking procedures including data reconciliations, recalculation|
|Data Transmission||where there are interfaces with other systems ensure the ability to recover the data in the event of incomplete data transmissions|
|the existence and adequacy of input, output, and transformation error checking, routines|
|Data Reporting||distribution lists for reports|
|documented procedures for management review of reports|
|System Security and Recovery||defined user access to greenhouse gas data in terms of roles and responsibility|
|segregation of duties to ensure no one individual has complete control over all key processing functions|
|documented process to ensure appropriate timing and frequency of data back-up|
|Maintenance and Retention||clearly defined accountability and codes of conduct for staff and service providers|
|internal audit procedures, and schedules for management reviews|
|documented data retention procedures|
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