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5256.0.55.001 - Information Paper: Non-Profit Institutions - A Draft Information Development Plan, Jul 2010  
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Tables 2 and 3 present a list of the statistical collections/products that relate directly to or are closely associated with the NPI sector.

The sections relating to ABS data are complete; that relating to non–ABS data is less well developed. In particular, no information has been gathered on administrative data sets that are in the public domain, or could be made available after appropriate modification. A substantial research effort and wide consultation would be required to do this.

This section also contains a description of the collections, including their strengths and deficiencies. It is arranged according to the Productivity Commission measurement framework.

Many of the collections listed below have been produced on an infrequent or once only basis. In many cases no commitment exists to undertake the collections in the future.


ABS Economic Data
Australian National Accounts: Non–profit Institutions Satellite Account (cat. no. 5256.0)Ad hoc2006–07No plans
Not–for–Profit Organisations, Australia (cat. no. 8106.0)Ad hoc2006–07No plans
Other economic surveys where NPIs are identified or are known to be significant – Performing Arts (cat. no. 8697.0)Ad hoc2006–07No plans
Sports and Physical Recreation Services (cat. no. 8686.0)Ad hoc2004–05No plans
Clubs, Pubs, Taverns and Bars (cat. no. 8687.0)Ad hoc2004–05No plans
Employment Services Australia (cat. no. 8558.0)Ad hoc2001–02No plans
Community Services (cat. no. 8696.0)Ad hoc2008–09No plans
Interest Groups (cat. no. 8639.0)Ad hoc1995–96No plans
Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non–Profit Organisations (cat. no. 8109.0)Ad hoc2002–03No plans
Legal Services (cat. no. 8667.0)Ad hoc2007–08No plans
Zoos, Parks and Gardens Industry (cat. no. 8699.0)Ad hoc1996–97No plans
Museums (cat. no. 8560.0)Ad hoc2007–08No plans
Private Hospitals (cat. no. 4390.0)2 yearly2006–072008–09
Generosity of Australian Businesses (cat. no. 8157.0)Ad hoc2000–01No plans
Unpaid Work and the Australian Economy (cat. no. 5240.0)Ad hoc1997No plans
ABS Social Data
Survey of Voluntary Work (now part of the General Social Survey)
Published in Voluntary Work, Australia (cat. no. 4441.0)
Microdata: Voluntary Work, Basic CURF (Confidentialised Unit Record Files) (cat. no. 4441.0.30.001) are also available for the year 2000.
4 yearly20062010 (a)
Time Use Survey
How Australians Use Their Time (cat. no. 4153.0)
Variable20062013 (b)
Household Expenditure Survey
e.g. question related to donations to charities, churches
6 yearly2003–042009–10 (c)
Census of Population and Housing (selected topics)
Voluntary work question
(small area data and cross classification with other characteristics)
5 yearly20062011
General Social Survey – various, including questions related to participation in community events4 yearly20062010
Sports and Physical Recreation: A Statistical Overview (cat. no. 4156.0)Annual20092010
Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview (cat. no. 4172.0)Annual20092010
Sports Attendance (cat. no. 4174.0)4 yearly2005–062009–10
Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity (cat. no. 6285.0)3 yearly20072010
Participation in Sports and Physical Recreation (cat. no. 4177.0)4 yearly2005–062009–10
Children’s Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities (cat. no. 4901.0)3 yearly20092012
Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events (cat. no. 4114.0)4 yearly2005–062009–10
Cultural Funding by Government (cat. no. 4183.0)Annual2007–082008–09
Private Hospitals (cat. no. 4390.0)2 yearly2006–072008–09
Disability, Ageing and Carers (cat. no. 4430.0)6 yearly (d)20032009
Education Statistics (various)
National Schools Statistics Collection (cat. no. 4221.0)Annual20092010 (e)
Early Childhood Education CollectionAnnual2010 (f)
(a) Reduced detail on volunteering in GSS 2010, but expected to be reinstated in 2014.
(b) The next Time Use Survey (TUS) is expected to be conducted on an integrated basis with the next Survey of Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation (SEARS) in 2013.
(c) The 2009–10 Household Expenditure Survey (HES) is currently in the field with data expected to be released from mid 2011. The following HES is scheduled to be conducted in 2015–16.
(d) Expected to become 2–yearly.
(e) Currently an aggregate data collection, with information on the non–government sector received from DEEWR.
(f) New collection covering preschool providers. First reporting of 2009 data to occur in 2010, expected to be a combination of unit record level and aggregate data, with subsequent annual collection to be at the unit record level.

Welfare Expenditure AustraliaAnnual20072008
Health Expenditure, AustraliaAnnual20082008
Australia’s Welfare2–yearly20092011
Australia’s Health2–yearly20102012
Australian Hospital StatisticsAnnual2008–092009–10
Residential Aged CareAnnual2007–082008–09
(NPIs are not generally an explicit dimension, although they are major contributors, eg. aged care
Department of Family and Community Services and Prime Minister’s Community Partnerships
Giving Australia: Research on Philanthropy in Australia
Ad hoc2005
Australian Community Sector Survey
Volunteering Australia
National Survey of Volunteering Issues
Centre for Corporate Public Affairs
Corporate Community Investment in Australia, 2007
Australian Sports Commission/State and Territory agencies
Exercise, Recreation and Sports Survey (ERASS)
Fundraising Institute Australia in collaboration with Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Centre For Social Impact
Managing the Downturn Survey
Ad hoc2010
Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies
Various research papers and releases
Centre for Social Impact
Various research papers and releases
Various research papers and releases
University of Melbourne
Various research papers and releases
Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
2 yearly20092011

ABS Non–Profit Institutions Satellite Account

The Non–Profit Institutions Satellite Account is the internationally accepted approach for the collection and arrangement of data to enable the macro–economic evaluation of the sector. The international statistical standards are contained in the United Nations Handbook on Non–Profit Institutions in the National Accounts. The National Accounts provide the wider economic context for the whole economy, while the satellite account draws out and highlights the contribution and involvement of NPIs within this wider economic context. It provides a birds–eye view of the NPI sector in the same setting as other industries and sectors of the economy, and enables comparisons with them. It was the primary source of information for the Productivity Commission study of the contribution of the sector.

The ABS Australian National Accounts: Non–Profit Institutions Satellite Account (cat. no. 5256.0) is based on the UN Handbook and is consistent with other statistical standards used in the national accounts and economic statistics. While it has been a major advance in the information available for the sector, the Productivity Commission and others have noted the need for some improvements:
  • No commitment exists for ongoing production of the satellite account. To date two issues – 1999–2000 and 2006–07 have been produced. Resources need to be committed for its ongoing production and its frequency should be sufficient to enable meaningful analysis of changes in the sector over time. Stakeholders should be able to confidently plan on the data becoming available.
  • A finer dissection of type of activities classified according to the International Classification of Non-Profit Organisations (ICNPO) is required to allow analysis of fields of significant interest that are currently hidden in broad or catch–all categories. A dissection of staff and expenditure into direct service delivery and other functions has also been noted as a need.
  • There needs to be more detailed information for NPI activity classified by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) to enable comparison with for–profit organisations in ABS business collections.
  • A large number of non–employing NPIs are missing from the survey coverage. While the valuation of volunteering hours from household surveys will indirectly capture much of the economic value of the services provided, there remains a paucity of information on the numbers, activities and location of these small community based organisations that are considered by stakeholders to contribute substantially to social capital. This affects the credibility of the satellite account for some stakeholders.
  • There is no information by state and territory to inform the policy interests of state and territory governments or the research and advocacy interests of state level peak bodies and other stakeholders.
Substantial ABS statistical systems infrastructure development and substantially larger samples would be required to make these improvements. Such improvements would have to be considered in a cost–benefit context.

The satellite account provides the inputs measures of the Productivity Commission measurement framework. It includes funding by source, other sources of income, expenditure by type, the value of volunteer services, employment and volunteer time, all classified by ICNPO. Capital formation and capital assets are also shown for the sector as a whole.

The satellite account makes a limited but important contribution to information on the outputs component of the measurement framework. It provides estimates of the dollar value of outputs of market and non–market NPIs. The latter are derived by summing costs in accordance with national accounts conventions. It also contains an estimate of value–added to the economy by NPIs and their contribution to GDP. Estimates of the economic value of outputs and value added are provided on two bases – a national accounts basis which excludes the value of volunteer work, and a satellite account basis which includes a proxy value for volunteer work.

Trends in financial data will reflect the impact of inflation over time. In keeping with national accounts practice there is scope to develop other output measures that are more reflective of movements in the volume of services provided over time (at its simplest, numbers of students and teaching hours in private schools, number of case mix procedures undertaken in private NPI hospitals, for example).

The satellite account does not attempt to measure the social outcomes and impacts components of the Productivity Commission measurement framework. This is considered an important limitation of the data that needs to be addressed with other information. Whether or not the satellite account would be the most appropriate vehicle to present the social indicators part of the framework at some time in the future is an open question.

Appendix 1 provides a list of data items and activity groups from the Non–Profit Institutions Satellite Account, 2006–07.

ABS Business Surveys

ABS conducts annual Australia–wide statistical collections from entities involved in economic activity in Australia. Employing and economically significant non–employing NPIs are in–scope of these collections. There are two components to the Business Survey program:
  • The core survey program provides annual financial data for broad level industries for use in the national accounts. It is not designed to produce estimates for NPIs and other institutional types.
  • The flexible data collections program is designed to address the need for more specific information including that needed for current policy issues relating to Australian industries. The program collects information for finer level industries or business activity on a one–off or less frequent basis and is often user funded. The Survey of Not–For–Profit Institutions 2006–07 was undertaken as part of this program.

Not–for–profit Organisations, Australia, 2006–07 (cat. no. 8106.0) provided much of the data for the Non–Profit Institutions Satellite Account. It was undertaken for that purpose.

There are a number of other industry surveys within the program that have provided separate information for NPIs, some of which have been undertaken on a more or less regular basis and some only once or very infrequently. For example, it has been 10 years between surveys of the Community Services Industry and the Interest Groups Industry has been surveyed only once (1995–96). Nevertheless, data for much of the NPI sector has been available at one time or another from these industry surveys.

Table 2 provided earlier in this report presents a list of the industries in the flexible data collections program to date where NPI data have been shown separately, or where they are known to be major contributors.

These surveys are subject to the same issues as the Satellite Account. Again there are no commitments for the ongoing production of these statistics. They are also likely to focus more on standard data items more relevant to for–profit businesses whose profit objective and sources of income may be different to NPIs.

Some of these surveys have also collected information on volunteering. Data quality issues arise because the large number of non–employing organisations excluded from the survey rely on volunteers to deliver services to their members and the community. Household based survey data for volunteering are not subject to issues around scope, and have been preferred for use in the satellite account (see section on volunteering below).

Appendix 2 provides a list of data item information from Not–for–profit Organisations, Australia, 2006–07 (cat. no. 8106.0).

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) collections

The AIHW publishes numerous and regular reports on the health and welfare of the Australian population and on health and welfare expenditures. However, it does not generally identify NPIs in the data, although in some cases it is known that they are dominant or substantial providers of services.

AIHW is potentially an important provider of information on the sector, and is a stakeholder in this IDP. Further consultation is required to explore opportunities to better highlight the contribution of NPIs in the data.
Australian Community Sector Survey

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) conducts an annual survey of community services and welfare organisations. The survey gathers information about the community services and welfare sector including factors affecting the operating environment over the preceding 12 months. It presents information about:
  • Income by source
  • Expenditure by type
  • Tax status
  • Workforce and volunteer characteristics
  • Service coverage, and clients
  • Turn–away rates
  • Relationship with governments and adequacy of government funding

The survey is voluntary and limited largely to ACOSS members (582 organisations responded to the 2010 survey).

Managing the Downturn Survey

The Centre for Social Impact, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Fundraising Institute Australia conducted two surveys on the impact of the economic downturn on NPIs during 2009.

Philanthropy and government funding collections

Giving Australia: Research on Philanthropy in Australia was an initiative of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnerships and coordinated by ACOSS in collaboration with university and private institutes and peak bodies. A report of findings was delivered in October 2005.

A large scale survey of individuals, businesses and NPIs was conducted to collect quantitative and qualitative information on givers, the recipients of giving and factors affecting giving. It was a major contribution to information available for the sector.

Generosity of Australian Businesses, 2000–01 (cat. no. 8157.0) was a user–funded survey designed to provide estimates of the overall level of business support for the community sector. It contained information on the types of support given by industry and broad categories of recipients. It collected not only monetary values, but also dollar equivalent values of goods and services associated with business giving arrangements.

Tax Deductible Giving Statistics is produced annually by the Australian Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS). It analyses and presents statistics on the characteristics of broad groups of donors claiming tax–deductible donations in their individual income tax returns. It uses data published by the Australian Taxation Office.

Cultural Funding by Government (cat. no. 4183.0) is published annually and contains estimates of public funding for heritage, arts and cultural activities, facilities and services across the three levels of government. NPIs are not explicit in the data but are major contributors to the activities that receive funding.


The ABS collects information about volunteering in three main household data collections:
The volunteering module of the ABS General Social Survey (GSS) collects a variety of information about the number and type of organisations volunteered for, volunteer hours, reasons for volunteering, and type of volunteer activity. This can be cross classified by socio-demographic and other information such as sex, age, state and territory of usual residence, occupation, etc, and potentially against other social variables collected in the survey. The GSS provides the information required for measuring the contribution of the NPI sector. The ABS maintains a regular dialogue with volunteering peak bodies, governments and other organisations about data needs on volunteering.

The 2006 Census of Population and Housing also contained a question on volunteering, which is being repeated in the 2011 Census. The Census has much potential power for data analysis because it provides small area (census collection district) data and can be cross classified with a large number of other household characteristics collected. It therefore supports detailed analysis not generally available using sample survey data.

Time-Use Survey – How Australians Use Their Time (cat. no. 4153.0) collects information on the daily activity patterns of people via survey form and diary. This survey covers topics such as how Australians allocate their time between paid and unpaid activities including volunteering and care giving.

Appendices 3 and 4 for contain a summary of ABS Volunteering collections, their coverage and contents.

For all of these collections, ABS goes directly to individual households. Household members volunteering for very small NPIs have an equal chance of selection as those who volunteer for larger organisations. They can be expected to provide a better estimate of the totality of volunteer activity than data collected from NPIs in business surveys because the latter mostly exclude small non-employing organisations who rely on volunteers.

The GSS substantially meets needs for information on volunteers for the Non-Profit Institutions Satellite Account. However, there are a number of issues that have been raised as requiring research:
  • Data coherence within the ABS collections and other sources. The Census of Population and Housing produces lower rates of volunteering than the GSS. Some state government consultancies and data collections using different definitions and methodologies produce higher volunteering rates than the ABS GSS. Issues around the impact of differences in definitions and methodology on the estimates have been raised by stakeholders.
  • Information is required on new or evolving areas of volunteering – the gift of time by business is a growing area of interest, as is the wider spectrum of activities organised by companies in employee time.
  • Some stakeholders want more flexibility around the definition of a volunteer. The requirement of free will excludes school children undertaking school based projects and unpaid services might exclude much of corporate volunteering.
  • The wider social value of volunteering is excluded from the ABS valuation of volunteering in the satellite account.
  • There is no official estimate of the total monetary value of volunteering services. The estimate provided in the Non-Profit Institutions Satellite Account is for volunteer services provided to or for an NPI. This reduces the utility of the information for use in research and advocacy by the volunteer sector.

There are also a range of non-ABS sources of volunteering data to note.

The National Survey of Volunteering Issues conducted by Volunteering Australia collects information from volunteers and organisations on volunteer characteristics and attitudes around various issues such as recognition for work, out of pocket costs and barriers to involving volunteers. It is a large scale survey but relies on voluntary reporting.

Corporate Community Investment in Australia, 2007 was a study conducted by the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs which detailed the extent to which volunteering is a driver of corporate community investment activity.

State and territory governments also assemble and publish information on volunteering in their own constituencies. In some cases they have their own data collections, definitions and methodologies to support local performance reporting and policy development.

As mentioned above, the Non–Profit Institutions Satellite Account contains dollar estimates of NPI outputs based on the sum of :
  • the actual market sales of goods and services for those organisations fitting the definition of market organisations
  • a proxy market value derived from summing NPI costs for non–market organisations
  • a proxy market value for the value of services provided free by volunteers

The satellite account also includes an estimate of the value–added to economic production by NPIs, and their share of economic production for the whole economy (NPI share of GDP).

The outputs referred to in the Productivity Commission measurement framework are units of service delivery. These can range from the relatively objective physical (or volume) measures such as school teaching hours, case management hours, number of active members, and community participation in events, through to difficult to define outputs such as advocacy.

The UN Handbook on Non–profit Institutions contains a chapter on measuring NPI outputs. It presents some basic output indicators for each ICNPO Group. More recent work has been done by the OECD and Eurostat on defining output indicators for service industries such as education and health in the context of the national accounts and productivity measurement. The challenge remains to collect this type of information for NPIs. NPIs involved in providing school education services are relatively well served for data.

Some sources of output information have been identified for this IDP, but more research and consultation would be needed to make a full assessment of data availability for outputs. In some cases NPIs are identified or can be inferred in the data, in other cases they are known to be a significant contributor.

The following sources of information contain useful output indicators information:

Data availability has not been investigated in detail. A substantial scoping project would be required to consider what indicators are appropriate and available and what is feasible to develop. Progress is likely to be in the longer term.

As mentioned earlier in this IDP, a useful starting point for investigation is the public sector performance indicators developed under the various COAG Agreements, the Productivity Commission, and the large number of social wellbeing indicators produced by the ABS, AIHW and some other agencies.

Potential sources of outcomes indicators information include:
Other IDPs that have been produced by the ABS and AIHW for relevant subject fields should also be investigated for relevant indicators:
In most cases it will not be possible to distinguish or attribute outcomes solely to services delivered by the NPI sector. Linkage is likely to range from more or less direct, to quite tenuous. In the latter case there is potential for a statistic to be misleading as an indicator of NPI contribution, although they might still be very useful to the sector as an indicator of need.


Impacts measurement is in the realm of individual and community wellbeing and human and social capital.

A substantial scoping project would be required to consider what indicators are appropriate and available and what is feasible to develop. Progress is likely to be in the longer term.

The ABS Measures of Australia’s Progress provides a starting point for further consideration of indicators of impacts.

    There is known to be a large amount of financial and other data collected from NPIs for administrative purposes. This is required for government administrative processes around corporation law, fundraising, service contracting and grants to community organisations.

    The main issue is likely to be the coherence and accessibility of data for statistical use and analysis for evidence based policy. The Australian Government National Compact with the Third Sector includes Improve information sharing including greater access to publicly funded research and data in its Priorities for Action.

    Information is widely disbursed in Australian and state and territory government agencies. The various agencies of governments – community services, health, education, sport and recreation, environment, housing, etc - are likely to have financial relationships with potentially a large number of NPIs that provide services funded by governments or are recipients of government assistance.

    All governments have agreed to adopt the Standard Chart of Accounts (from 1 July 2010) for financial reporting by NPIs receiving government funding. This will provide an improved opportunity for future data capture for statistical purposes, although the opportunity has to be realised.

    Substantial research and consultation would be required in order to conduct a stocktake of information available in a form suitable for statistical research and analysis.

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