The National Statistical Service
The National Statistical Service is an ABS initiative designed to maximise the usefulness, availability and comparability of government data at both national and state and territory levels. Access to better, broader and more comparable information, better monitoring of the effectiveness and efficiency of program services, improved access to and use made of the data by the wider community, and reduced overall costs for the provision of government information services will ensure improved policy formulation. The direction is consistent with the whole-of-government approach being taken at the Australian Government level, as well as many jurisdictions.
The vision of the National Statistical Service is ‘all government agencies working together to deliver the statistics required by Australia’.
Under section 6(c) of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975, a key function for the ABS is to improve coordination of the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics produced by other official bodies. In accordance with this Act, the ABS continues to develop the concept of the National Statistical Service by broadening the concept of ABS statistical responsibilities to include not only statistics collected by the ABS, but also data produced or available from other government and non-government agencies. The ABS provides leadership, through collaboration, to the Australian, and State and Territory Governments in making better use of their administrative data so it can provide another source of quality data for statistical purposes. The ABS encourages agencies to adopt a holistic approach to improving the quality of statistics available to users through the application of similar methodologies to administrative and statistical data.
In pursuing the development of the National Statistical Service some of the main achievements in 2004–05 included:
- further developing the National Data Network, a national platform for acquiring data based on shared protocols and facilities
- in close consultation with other agencies, supporting information development plans which identify the issues to be addressed in a particular field of statistics, the available data (both ABS and non-ABS), the additional data needed, and who has carriage for provision of the data
- supporting statistical fora in each jurisdiction to share information on better statistical practice
- providing assistance in the form of outposted statistical officers to the Australian, state and territory governments and agencies with a view to facilitating the access to, and understanding of, statistics, and strengthening statistical coordination across these bodies
- strengthening national statistical centres that have a responsibility for statistics in a particular field, irrespective of the origin of the data source (ABS or elsewhere).