Audit and Accreditation Process

The central element in the monitoring activity of the MRC is its system of annual external audits of measurement service operations performed by a specialized team of independent CPA auditors. MRC audits serve these important functions:

  • They determine whether a measurement service merits accreditation (or continued accreditation)
  • They provide the MRC with the results of detailed examinations which become the basis for quality improvements in the service, either by voluntary action or mandated by MRC as a condition for accreditation, and
  • They provide a highly beneficial psychological effect on measurement service performance. Knowledge that their work may be reviewed by CPA auditors is a powerful spur for quality work by all field and home-office personnel of the service.

Syndicated Measurement Services that submit to MRC Accreditation must agree to:

  • Supply Complete Information to the MRC
  • Comply with MRC Minimum Standards
  • Comply with MRC Minimum Standards
  • Submit to Annual Audits
  • Pay for the Audit Costs (internal & external)

Resulting audit reports are very detailed containing many methodological and proprietary details of the measurement service and illumination of the primary strengths and weaknesses of its operations. The reports are confidential among the MRC members, independent CPA firm, and the service. Audit reports include detailed testing and findings across various aspects of the service including:

  • Sample design, selection, and recruitment
  • Sample composition by demographic group
  • Data collection processes and controls plus fieldwork
  • Metering, survey or interviewing accuracy
  • Information technology general controls
  • Client on-boarding
  • Invalid traffic detections & filtration
  • Editing and tabulation procedures
  • Data processing
  • Data processing
  • Assessment of measurement service disclosures of methodology and performance

Pursuant to the last bullet above, the MRC mandates services disclose many methodology and performance measures, which would be otherwise unknown, for example:

  • Source of sample frame
  • Selection method
  • Respondents by demographic group versus population
  • Response rates
  • Existence of special survey treatments for difficult to recruit respondent groups such as young or ethnic persons
  • Editing procedures
  • Minimum reporting requirements for media
  • Ascription and data adjustment procedures employed
  • Errors noted in published reports
  • Data reissue standards and reissue instances
  • Measured rate

Measurement services awarded MRC Accreditation are given permission to display the MRC’s logo on the audited research product indicating compliance with our Standards. MRC Standards are publicly available; more importantly, the extensive methodological and survey performance disclosures mandated by the MRC are required to be available to all rating service customers.