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8101.0 - Innovation and Technology Update, Feb 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/02/2010   
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5 NATSTATS 2010 CONFERENCE

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will be hosting another NatStats conference at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour on 15 - 17 September 2010.

NatStats 2010 will build on the enthusiasm and passion generated by delegates at NatStats08 and aims to build stronger links with key stakeholders, strengthen the understanding of statistical issues within and across governments, and consolidate support for current and emerging statistical initiatives.

An exciting program is being develped and will address a range of issues regarding national statistics. If you would like to hear more about NatStats 2010 Conference, or have any suggestions, please contact Annette Hants on (02) 6252 6936 or email natstats@nss.gov.au.

How Fit is Your Data?

Over the past few years, the call has been put out for public policies to be informed by good evidence. Statistical information is now answering that call. Statistical information has long been recognised as being good evidence, which places it at the heart of evidence-based policy.

So, how do we get "good statistical information"? One answer is DATAfitness.

DATAfitness = good data management practice.

Good data management is one of the foundation stones for building a solid statistical resource for Australia. In simple terms, DATAfitness symbolises the ability to compare apples with apples or being able to compare data which has similar characteristics.

The National Statistical Service (NSS), a community of government agencies led by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), is promoting good data management practices through its DATAfitness program. DATAfitness encourages the use of statistical frameworks, principles and resources which can help data providers and users to realise the benefits of good data management.

The three key elements of DATAfitness are:

  • Metadata Management, which describes what data is about and where it comes from. Adding metadata about data is essential for bringing data sets together and comparing information from different sources.
  • Data Quality, which describes data's "fitness for purpose". Data has a range of dimensions which must be understood to determine whether or not data is "fit for purpose" or, put simply, whether it can be used for the desired purpose.
  • Data Sharing, which describes sharing information as an important part of maximising data use and re-use. Data sharing arrangements ease the sharing of data between providers and users and support evidence-based policy and decision-making.

As part of its DATAfitness program, the NSS recently released A good practice guide to sharing your data with others. The guide supports quality data sharing across agencies by offering a non-technical introduction. It also provides a basic model for making data sharing agreements, which includes factors to consider and how these relate to agencies, staff and data.

The NSS is also currently developing an easy-to-use online support system for data collectors, providers and users - the Data Quality Online Tool (DQOT).

The DQOT is the first of its kind in the world and will provide clear and simple assistance to those involved in managing data.

The tool will help users to compile data quality statements and will also provide tailored guidance on statements for COAG indicators

The NSS will officially launch the DQOT in March 2010, in conjunction with the ABS. The tool is based on the nationally recognised ABS Data Quality Framework which provides a consistent standard for describing the quality of data.

For more information on DATAfitness, visit www.nss.gov.au/datafitness or email inquiries@nss.gov.au .

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