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1304.5 - Stats Talk WA (Newsletter), May 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/09/2004   
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Alan Hubbard, Regional Director, WA
Alan Hubbard, Regional Director, WA
Several months have passed since I commenced as Regional Director and I thought it would be interesting to reflect on my experiences and impressions of the ABS over that time.

Focus

My initial focus was to learn as much as I could about the services provided by the WA Office, its staff and its relationships with its clients. As the Western Australian Regional Director I also have a role in the management of the national organisation and I am now involved in various management activities affecting the ABS Australia wide.

Range of Statistical Publications

The sheer breadth of activity and range of statistical publications that the ABS produces is my strongest impression to date. At the same time, the detailed and intense processes applied to produce a statistical release were a revelation to me. The professional approach of ABS staff, their skills and commitment to their work impressed me from the outset and continue to impress.


Outposted Officers

ABS officers outposted to State Government agencies are gaining valuable experience, whilst also providing these agencies with accessible, high quality data. The reports I receive from these officers give me a strong appreciation of the mutual benefits these arrangements are providing.

Understanding and Meeting Statistical Needs

Engaging with State clients in order to understand and meet their statistical needs is the major focus for the WA Office. In support of this process I have commenced a series of meetings with State Government agencies with the aim of raising awareness at the senior executive level about the range of services offered by the ABS. This forum also gives me an opportunity to receive feedback on how the ABS is performing in meeting agencies’ needs.

Productive Dialogue with Users of ABS Data

Since assuming my new role, I see the value in maintaining a productive dialogue with users of ABS data very clearly. Currently many business and government decisions are taken without the benefit of detailed statistical analysis. It is easy to understand how managers, who are under continual pressure to meet current needs, may see the development of future statistical requirements as a lower priority issue. The ABS must elevate that priority and improve responsiveness for these decision makers.

Challenges

The challenge for myself and the ABS, is to elevate the current priorities for State level data; and to improve our timeliness and responsiveness to client needs for WA data.

Commitment

An example of ABS’ ongoing commitment to fulfilling State needs is the State Statistical Forum (SSF). The SSF meets annually in Canberra, bringing together State Government representatives and senior ABS executives, to ensure a common understanding of State needs, and to review the progress of ABS responses to these needs. Topics covered in the February 2004 meeting included increasing the range of regional data; improving the State accounts; and increasing the quality and range of statistics in respect of the Indigenous population.

Productive Partnerships

I look forward to further progressing the development of productive partnerships between the ABS, WA regional office and WA State Government agencies. Please consider contacting the ABS before you make your next big decision. We will do our best to assist you.


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