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Independent review on coding error released

Press Release – New Zealand Treasury

Independent review on coding error released The Treasury has released an independent review into a coding error that affected child-poverty projections it provided to the Government in December 2017. As outlined in a 17 January media statement, Decembers …Independent review on coding error released

The Treasury has released an independent review into a coding error that affected child-poverty projections it provided to the Government in December 2017.
As outlined in a 17 January media statement, December’s estimate was based on code that included a microsimulation modelling error made by the Treasury.

Work to implement improvements to the modelling began post-Budget 2017, and the prototype in which the error was introduced was developed in late October/early November. The error led to the mistaken projections given to the Government in December. The QA process undertaken by the Treasury, when preparing the projections, did not reveal the error. In January, the error was identified and confirmed. On 15 March, the Treasury released a statement, and related information, with revised projections.

At the time the error was confirmed, the Treasury committed to an independent review to consider: the underlying causes of the coding error; possible improvements to the Treasury’s microsimulation modelling framework; and associated quality-assurance processes.

The review is now complete. It was undertaken by Gillian Beer, a principal adviser with the Department of the Treasury, Australia. The review itself and the reviewer’s terms of reference are now available on the Treasury website.

“The review,” says Tim Ng, the Treasury’s Chief Economic Adviser, “has been an important step in better understanding the context within which the error was made, the QA processes we followed at the time, and where and how we might enhance these in future.

“The review’s recommendations are already assisting us to determine how we can reduce the likelihood of such errors happening in the future; the opportunities for working more closely with other public sector agencies with which we’re collaborating to produce this kind of analysis; and the processes we follow when responding to requests for advice based on complex modelling.

“I’d like to acknowledge our Australian counterpart’s willingness to providing the expertise required. This has ensured the review is both insightful and useful in helping us to put in place steps to avoid a repeat of the recent and regrettable error”.

ENDS

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