1001.0 - Australian Bureau of Statistics -- Annual Report, 2014-15  
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PERFORMANCE REPORT

The ABS is Australia's central statistical authority for the Australian Government and provides statistical services for our state and territory governments. The ABS is responsible for:

  • collecting, compiling, analysing and disseminating statistics and related information,
  • coordinating the statistical operations of official bodies by:
    • avoiding duplication
    • achieving comparability and integration
    • maximising the utility of available data
    • developing and implementing statistical standards
    • providing statistical advice and assistance
    • working with international organisations on statistical matters.
This chapter provides an assessment of the ABS's performance in relation to the objectives and key performance indicators published in the Portfolio Budget Statement in 2014-15.

OBJECTIVE 1. DECISION-MAKING, RESEARCH AND DISCUSSIONS ARE UNDERPINNED BY RELEVANT STATISTICAL INFORMATION

KPI 1.1 AUSTRALIA'S KEY DECISIONS, RESEARCH AND DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE TO BE UNDERPINNED BY TRUSTED OFFICIAL STATISTICS

In 2014-15 ABS products and services continued to inform decisions by governments and the community. Key ABS statistics included: national accounts information; data on the labour force; the Consumer Price Index and other prices indexes; information from the Census of Population and Housing; and estimated resident population. These informed decisions on:
  • the indexation of government payments, superannuation payments, government taxes and charges, and the distribution of grants to states and territories (e.g. the apportionment of shares of GST funding) and funding to other entities (e.g. hospitals)
  • salary and wage negotiations
  • the assessment of legislated decisions such as the setting of minimum wages by Fair Work Australia and the setting of the cash rate by the Reserve Bank of Australia
  • the distribution of electoral boundaries by the Australian Electoral Commission
  • the preparation of government reports (such as the 2015 Intergenerational Report).

Use of ABS data in reports by Parliamentary Committees shows ABS data is used to inform the development and evaluation of government policies and programs. There were 68 references to ABS statistics in Parliamentary Committee reports in 2014-15. There were 850 references to ABS statistics in Hansard, showing the continued use of ABS statistics to inform public debate and decision-making. Microdata citations in academic journals have also continued, with 75 citations, showing an active use of official statistics for research purposes.

Community discussions are informed through media coverage. ABS statistics continued to be widely reported in the media, with over 6,300 articles citing ABS statistics without concerns about their quality in 2014-15 (table 4.6).

In 2014-15 the ABS commissioned a survey of Community Trust in ABS Statistics. The survey was conducted in 2015 from April to July and the results will be published in October 2015. The survey was previously undertaken in 2010, when 92% of those surveyed were found to trust or greatly trust the ABS.

KPI 1.2 STATISTICAL INFORMATION CONTINUES TO BE RELEVANT TO THE NEEDS OF KEY STAKEHOLDERS THROUGH ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT

In 2014-15 the ABS developed a stakeholder engagement strategy to revitalise stakeholder engagement as a central pillar in the ABS's organisational culture and looked for ways to partner with others to ensure information continues to be relevant. An example is the partnership with the Department of Industry and Science to expand ABS collection and analysis activities to assess new industry policy initiatives. This involved the creation of a new firm-level longitudinal business database - the Expanded Analytical Business Longitudinal Database - to provide a richer source of information for analysis of business performance, competitiveness and productivity.

The ABS uses a range of mechanisms to ensure it keeps in touch with the needs of its key stakeholders. The Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC) is the key advisory body to the ABS. Members are chosen to represent a broad cross-section of government, business, academic and community perspectives. In 2014-15 ASAC advised the ABS on: its overall statistical directions and priorities; ABS sustainability; the statistical business transformation program and wider transformation agenda; improvements to the National Statistical System through the development of a forward-looking National Statistics Policy and the Essential Statistical Assets for Australia Initiative; and plans to achieve a primarily digital Census of Population and Housing in 2016. The State and Territory Statistical Forum membership is representative of all state and territory governments. The forum works with the ABS to progress their statistical priorities. In 2014-15 this forum focused on progressing issues in relation to statistical data integration, statistical capability and measures of disadvantage.

In addition to these cross-cutting, strategic engagement forums, the ABS hosts a comprehensive range of specialist statistical and topic advisory groups. These groups advise on specific statistical developments and on emerging issues that may influence future statistical needs, in relation to their areas of expertise.

The ABS also engages with its government stakeholders by outposting ABS statisticians to other agencies. Outposted ABS officers provide strategic statistical support for specific projects and policy initiatives, build statistical capability, and provide advice on data management practices to improve the health of the Australian statistical system. In 2014-15, 31 outpostings were undertaken, up from 30 undertaken during the previous year.

OBJECTIVE 2. HIGH QUALITY STATISTICAL INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE TO INFORM AUSTRALIA'S MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES

KPI 2.1 THE QUALITY AND ACCURACY OF AUSTRALIA'S OFFICIAL STATISTICS IS MAINTAINED OR IMPROVED

In 2014-15 the ABS produced over 500 statistical products (including microdata products). For each output the ABS aims to achieve an appropriate level of quality and accuracy, while also operating cost-effectively and minimising provider burden. Quality declarations, which include statements on accuracy, are published with most key ABS statistical publications, including Australia’s three headline economic collections: National Accounts; Consumer Price Index (CPI); and Labour Force; as well as the ABS's Estimated Resident Population releases.

Developments impacting the quality of these headline measures during 2014-15 included:
  • implementation of all recommendations that have a substantive bearing on the quality of the monthly labour force estimates, from the Independent Technical Review of the Labour Force Survey
  • continued monitoring of the collection and production of labour force estimates to enhance quality, including directing increased resources to the production of the estimates and ensuring greater coherence with other macro economic statistics
  • publication of the full set of sectoral accounts on a quarterly basis for the first time - including quarterly income accounts by institutional sector (cat. no. 5232.0)
  • implementation of transactions data into CPI (cat. no. 6401.0); research undertaken to maximise use of the data; and development of standards for the use of transactions in CPI.
    KPI 2.2 AUSTRALIA'S LEADING INDICATORS ADHERE TO APPROPRIATE STATISTICAL STANDARDS, FRAMEWORKS AND METHODOLOGIES TO MAINTAIN QUALITY AND SUPPORT COMPARABILITY IN THE GLOBAL STATISTICAL SYSTEMS

    To ensure comparability between countries, the standards, frameworks, classifications and methodologies governing official statistics are agreed internationally. The ABS publishes the concepts, sources and methods it uses for all key macro economic, industry and demographic statistics. These publications include information on the applications of internationally agreed practices in ABS statistics. Where possible, the ABS meets agreed standards, and in some cases the ABS is a world leader in the implementation of newly agreed or updated standards.

    Each year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assesses Australia's observance of its Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS). Since it is not practical for any country to observe all internationally agreed data standards, frameworks and methodologies fully, these standards provide an accepted benchmark for the main economic and population indicators for subscribing countries. In relation to official statistics produced by the ABS, in its 2014 report the IMF found that Australia met the requirements of the SDDS.

    The IMF releases formal reports on countries in consultation with the national government for most years. The most recent country report on Australia was published in February 2014 and it noted that:
      Australia subscribed to the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) and its metadata are posted on the Fund's Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board. In recent years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has taken several initiatives to further improve the quality of the data, such as including the prices of financial services in the CPI and developing new measures of labor underutilization. Method to calculate contributions to growth has also been revised so that each volume component adds to total volume GDP growth.
    IMF Country Report No. 14/51: Australia, February 2014


    KPI 2.3 USE OF ABS DATA INCREASES

    A high level of use of ABS statistics indicates their relevance to a broad audience. In 2014-15 there were 15.2 million visits to the ABS website, an increase of approximately 1.5 million on the previous year, and an increase of over 6.5 million since 2010-11.
    Table 4.1 Key metrics of ABS website visits, use of content and online performance

    2011-12
    2012-13
    2013-14
    2014-15

    Statistical products released (a)
    708
    729
    652
    507
    Visits to the website
    11 264 801
    12 208 441
    13 714 415
    15 236 433
    Downloads
    2 171 665
    2 436 997
    2 799 192
    2 712 883
    Calls to NIRS (b)
    51 592
    82 087
    48 619
    35 993
    Social Media – Facebook and Twitter
    Facebook posts
    n/a
    n/a
    115
    105
    Newsfeed reach
    318 278
    273 779
    847 395 (c)
    231 200 (c)
    Number of tweets
    n/a
    n/a
    625
    464
    Number of re-tweets
    n/a
    n/a
    3 287
    1 675

    (a) This time series has been revised. The series previously included products that were reissued or updated after publication. The decrease in products from 2013–14 is due to the consolidation of ABS publications to ensure the ABS makes effective use of government funding.
    (b) National Information and Referral Service.
    (c) The increase in newsfeed reach in 2013-14, followed by a decline in 2014-15, was primarily due to a service Facebook offered to promote posts. The ABS used this free service in 2013-14 but ceased using it in 2014-15 when it became a charged service.

    KPI 2.4 HIGH-QUALITY STATISTICAL INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE TO DESCRIBE AUSTRALIA'S MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES

    In December 2014 the ABS published Essential Statistical Assets (ESA) for Australia, which holistically assessed the quality of Australia's 74 essential statistics. Overall the results were positive with most statistics assessed as meeting an acceptable standard for the quality indicators selected and having appropriate quality practices and processes in place for the purposes of ESA.

    There were areas for improvement for some statistics, mainly in the quality dimensions of timeliness, accuracy and coherence. One statistic (ambient air quality) was identified as having significant quality issues for the purposes of ESA. Seven statistics were identified as having moderate quality issues for the purposes of ESA (expenditure on research and development; household income; wealth and expenditure statistics; housing affordability; income, labour and family dynamics; pollution and accumulation of waste; size and location of protected terrestrial and marine parks; and domestic household travel (time, distance and mode)).

    Three statistics (biodiversity and ecosystem health; water quality of natural systems; and access to essential social services) were identified as having data gaps which meant no quality assessment was undertaken.

    More details on the quality of essential statistics are available in Essential Statistical Assets for Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 1395.0). The ESA initiative is now identifying and pursuing future investment priorities.

    OBJECTIVE 3. THE COOPERATION AND SUPPORT OF PROVIDERS CONTINUES

    KPI 3.1 PROVIDER COOPERATION IS DEMONSTRATED THROUGH THE ACHIEVEMENT OF TARGET SURVEY RESPONSE RATES

    The ABS sets high target response rates for collections to ensure surveys are representative of the whole population. Overall, the ABS continues to achieve very high response rates, however not all surveys met their targets in 2014-15, as shown in Table 4.2 below. This is due to the increasing difficulty of collecting survey forms from households and businesses. The ABS has an ongoing program of methodological research and development aimed at improving the quality of survey responses into the future and reducing the need to run surveys by using alternate sources of information such as administrative data.
    Table 4.2. Response rates achieved for selected surveys

    Target response rate (%)
    Final response rate (%) (a)
    2011-12
    2012-13
    2013-14
    2014-15

    Business surveys
    Retail Business Survey
    95
    95
    95
    94
    90
    Quarterly Business Indicators Survey
    85
    87
    86
    88
    88
    Capital Expenditure Survey
    90
    94
    92
    90
    90
    Economic Activity Survey
    90
    86
    85
    85
    87
    Business Characteristics Survey
    95
    95
    97
    97
    96
    Survey of Average Weekly Earnings
    98
    98
    94
    94
    95
    Survey of International Trade in Services
    90
    95
    95
    94
    92
    Household surveys
    Labour Force Survey (b)
    94
    96
    96
    95
    94
    Multi Purpose Household Survey (c)
    80
    80
    79
    78
    74
    Survey of Income and Housing
    84
    81
    (d)
    80
    (d)
    National Health Survey
    87
    (d)
    (d)
    (d)
    82

    (a) Average response rates over the year for quarterly or monthly surveys.
    (b) Target response rate was lowered from 97% to 94% in February 2014.
    (c)The Multi Purpose Household Survey covers a number of individual topics, enumerated monthly. Response rates are a simple average across all topics.
    (d) Survey not conducted during the year.

    To encourage the support of businesses and households the ABS actively protects the privacy of respondents. The Australian Privacy Principles complement the ABS's obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act), which require the ABS to maintain the confidentiality of information collected under the Privacy Act. The ABS meets the confidentiality requirements of the Privacy Act by ensuring information provided is securely maintained, used only for statistical purposes, and used only in aggregated tables and unidentifiable microdata files to support research and analysis.

    KPI 3.2 ABS COMMITMENT TO REDUCING PROVIDER BURDEN IS DEMONSTRATED THROUGH THE MINIMISATION OF PROVIDER LOAD

    The most significant factors contributing to provider burden are the number of surveys in the field, and the number of households and businesses participating in them. The number of contributing households and businesses has a direct relationship with the quality of estimates produced. More streamlined interactions with data providers (such as the use of online forms) also helps to reduce overall burden on providers, as does the increased use of administrative data rather than direct collection. In 2014-15, the ABS continued to move beyond the public data environment to explore options with telecommunications companies around mobile phones, and investigate use of satellite imagery to measure agriculture crop yields. The increased use of administrative data is highlighted in the special articles in the 2014-15 Annual Report.

    The total number of hours taken by businesses to complete ABS business surveys in the 2014-15 financial year was approximately 383,000. This is an increase of 19,000 hours on the reported figure in 2013-14. Caution is advised when comparing the provider load numbers reported from one year to the next, as the ABS work program is made up of different collections each year. Some collections are conducted every year and others every two or three years. The ABS also conducts ad hoc surveys. This flexible work program allows the ABS to provide statistics more relevant to our users.

    The increase in reported hours in 2014-15 has been influenced by:
    • the addition of three new collections: the Information Media and Telecommunications Industry Survey; Freight Management Survey; and the Land Management and Agricultural Commodities Survey. Combined, these totalled approximately 10,850 provider load hours.
    • the inclusion of some collections that have been undertaken in previous years, where the provider burden information was not available for reporting in previous annual reports.

    These collections are: the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers; the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours; Vineyards, Australia; the Monthly Survey of Financial Information; and the Retail Business Survey. Combined, these contributed approximately 24,100 provider load hours.

    Excluding the major test undertaken for the Census of Population and Housing, the total number of hours taken by households to complete ABS household survey forms is estimated at 55,000 hours in 2014-15, a decrease of 9,000 hours from the 2013-14 total.

    KPI 3.3 COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PERFORMANCE MEETS ABS SURVEY CHARTER STANDARDS

    The ABS Surveys Charter includes information on how surveys are conducted, and outlines the rights and obligations of the ABS and survey participants. The Charter explains what people can expect when dealing with the ABS and ABS interviewers, including standards expected of the ABS when responding to complaints. The overwhelming majority of businesses and households selected in ABS surveys understand and support the need for high quality statistics.

    Households and businesses have a number of options if they have queries or complaints about being selected in a survey or about the processes involved. Freecall (excluding mobile phones) contact numbers are provided with all information sent to survey participants and, in most cases, when participants call these numbers their concerns are resolved by the ABS officers receiving the calls.

    The ABS received 594 written queries or complaints from businesses in 2014-15 (Table 4.3). Most approaches from businesses were seeking exemption from the requirement of ongoing participation in the ABS Business Survey Program. The ABS does, at times, provide general exemptions from surveys in exceptional circumstances. Some providers are also granted temporary exemptions on compassionate grounds.

    The ABS received 105 written queries or complaints from households, most of which were seeking exemption from participation in surveys. Exemption is provided to households in exceptional circumstances, usually on compassionate grounds.

    Table 4.3: Written correspondence to the ABS from businesses and households selected in ABS surveys, 2011-12 to 2014-15 (a)

    2011-12
    2012-13
    2013-14
    2014-15

    Business surveys
    670
    849
    758
    594
    Requests for exemption
    609
    777
    611
    381
    Other complaints and queries
    61
    72
    147
    213
    Household surveys
    119
    86
    119
    105
    Requests for exemption
    45
    44
    84
    81
    Other complaints and queries
    74
    42
    35
    24

    (a) Excludes correspondence to politicians (ministerial correspondence), which is shown in Table 4.4.

    In 2014-15, the ABS received and responded to 37 queries from politicians advocating on behalf of constituents (Table 4.4).

    Table 4.4: Correspondence to the ABS from politicians acting on behalf of constituents, 2011-12 to 2014-15

    2011-12
    2012-13
    2013-14
    2014-15

    Business surveys
    3
    10
    18
    25
    Household surveys
    34
    25
    21
    12


    The ABS's performance against the standards for managing correspondence from businesses is summarised below in Table 4.5.

    Table 4.5: Performance against ABS Surveys Charter complaint resolution standards for 2014-15: targets and actual performance

    Performance standard: responding to correspondence from businesses
    Target (days)
    Actual performance (average days)
    Actual performance (% of total where target achieved)

    Sent written acknowledgement
    7
    4
    77%
    Sent written advice outcome
    28
    10
    95%




    KPI 3.4 CUSTOMER SERVICE PERFORMANCE MEETS THE ABS'S SERVICE DELIVERY CHARTER STANDARDS

    The ABS Service Delivery Charter outlines the ABS’s commitment to providing a high level of customer service. In 2014–15 the ABS met its commitments by:
    • providing a telephone enquiry service during regular business hours (Australian Eastern Standard Time) Monday to Fridays
    • ensuring the website was available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, subject to events beyond its control
    • advertising website unavailability for maintenance purposes one working day prior to the website being unavailable
    • fixing all broken web page links within three working days of notification by a customer
    • referring any requests for translation of any web product which is not suitably accessible for visually impaired users, to an appropriate translation service within three working days
    • responding to customer enquiries as soon as possible
    • providing a quote as soon as possible based on specific customer information requested and final specifications
    • delivering information requested within the time frame negotiated between customer and the ABS consultant
    • processing Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) microdata product access requests as soon as possible following of receipt of completed CURF application forms.

    More information about the ABS’s commitment to meeting the expectations of its customers is presented in the program reports.

    OBJECTIVE 4. TRUST IN OFFICIAL STATISTICS IS MAINTAINED

    KPI 4.1 AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC SENTIMENT ABOUT ABS STATISTICS REMAINS POSITIVE

    Positive public sentiment regarding the ABS is represented by the number of positive and neutral media articles, which include articles citing ABS statistics without concerns about their quality. There was an increase in negative media coverage in 2014-15 (Table 4.6), following a significant increase in negative media coverage in 2013-14. The increase in 2013-14 was driven by articles regarding an ex-ABS staff member who was charged with insider trading. Negative coverage on this continued in 2014-15 and there was also negative reporting on the quality, reliability and methodology of Labour Force, Australia, and negative reporting on the future of the Australian Census of Population and Housing.

    Table 4.6: Positive, negative and neutral articles in selected print newspapers, 2010-11 to 2014-15 (a)

    2010-11
    2011-12
    2012-13
    2013-14
    2014-15

    Total number of articles
    1,692
    2,524
    3,442
    2,054
    6,603
    Positive and neutral articles
    1,679
    2,062
    3,436
    1,991
    6,363
    Negative articles
    13
    12
    6
    61
    240
    Negative articles as a % of total
    0.8%
    0.5%
    0.2%
    3.0%
    3.6%

    (a) From March 2014 articles syndicated by multiple publications are counted individually. From September quarter 2014 the ABS started sourcing media monitoring services from a private company which expanded the number of articles sourced. These breaks in series explain the majority of the increase in the total number of articles in 2014-15. The negative articles as a % of total is the preferred measure of Australian public sentiment about ABS statistics.

    OBJECTIVE 5. STATISTICAL CAPABILITY IS IMPROVED WITHIN AUSTRALIA, ASIA AND THE PACIFIC REGION TO SUPPORT INFORMED DECISION-MAKING, AND PROGRESS IS MADE IN THE NATIONAL AND GLOBAL STATISTICAL SYSTEMS

    KPI 5.1 NATIONAL STATISTICAL LITERACY PROGRAMS EFFECTIVELY ENGAGE TARGET AUDIENCES

    Adequate statistical literacy is needed to ensure statistical information is used effectively. During 2014-15 the ABS released the third, more detailed, tier of the Draft Statistical Capability Framework (the framework) to our partners in government, the community and internationally for consultation. The aim of the framework is to guide greater integration of statistical capability development effort across the ABS, and with our partners. The framework forms a key part of the infrastructure being implemented to transform the ABS's approach to building statistical capability.

    During 2014-15 the ABS:
    • received detailed feedback on the draft framework from our local and state government partners which is being incorporated back into the framework ready for further consultation
    • worked with state and territory governments through the State Statistical Forum to get sign-off on a plan to build statistical capability within their governments including reviewing and sharing case studies of good practices
    • used the framework to build statistical capability in the Pacific region
    • contributed to the Australian Government-led Policy Visualisation Network, helping to bring policy makers together to explore how government agencies can get the most out of visualisation techniques to inform policy making and evaluation
    • worked with other stakeholders to develop enhanced statistical methods for the future including Australian Technology Network Universities, the University of Wollongong and the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute. This also includes a partnership with University of Queensland to develop enhanced statistical modelling capabilities through the development of the ABS Longitudinal Datasets Training Program.

    KPI 5.2 EFFECTIVE DELIVERY OF INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMS INCREASE THE STATISTICAL CAPABILITY OF NATIONAL STATISTICAL OFFICES IN THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION

    In 2014-15 the ABS continued to take a strong lead role in Asia and the Pacific region to support the development of increasingly high-quality, comparable statistics. During 2014-15 the ABS:
    • partnered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to provide technical assistance and capability development in Fiji, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste
    • supported regional improvement in Civil Registrations and Vital Statistics
    • contributed as a member of the Governing Council of the UN Statistics Institute of Asia and the Pacific (SIAP), and also a member of the Friends of the Chair group which will report to ESCAP on strategic directions for SIAP for the next five years
    • co-chaired the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Technical Advisory Group on Population and Social Statistics.

    More information on the ABS's international statistical capability building programs in Asia and the Pacific region is provided in Program reports.

    KPI 5.3 THE NATIONAL STATISTICAL SERVICES PRIORITIES ARE PROGRESSED OR MET

    During 2014-15 the ABS made progress in all five of its priority areas for the National Statistical Service:
    • transforming information management infrastructure
    • maximising the use of public information assets for statistical and research purposes
    • progressing the Essential Statistical Assets for Australia initiative
    • enabling statistical information to be integrated with location information
    • enhancing the level of statistical capability across government agencies.
    In 2014-15 the ABS progressed these interrelated priorities with the support of key statistical governance forums, including the Australian Government Statistical Forum, the State Statistical Forum, the Australian Statistics Advisory Council, and the Cross Portfolio Data Integration Oversight Board. Further information on the National Statistical Service is provided in the program reports.

    OBJECTIVE 6. STATISTICAL AND INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE IS DEVELOPED TO BETTER SUPPORT AUSTRALIA'S LONG-TERM STATISTICAL NEEDS

    KPI 6.1 PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND TOOLS ARE AVAILABLE AND IMPROVED TO ASSIST PROVIDERS TO MEET THEIR OBLIGATIONS

    The cooperation of Australian businesses and households is critical to the quality of ABS statistics. In 2014-15, the ABS continued to work to make digital transactions for data providers easier. Online forms are now available as an option for 80% of the business surveys run by the ABS. Of the businesses offered an online option, approximately 90% opt in. Online take up rates for households are much lower (about 22%), but still exceed the introductory target of 20%.

    Initiatives undertaken in 2014-15 to improve interactions with providers include the new respondent online survey interface. Respondents selected in ABS business and household surveys can now access their online survey forms on the ABS website through an ABS Survey Account. The new service provides respondents with a single port of access for all their ABS survey obligations.

    In preparation for Australia's first predominantly digital Census in 2016, a large public test of 100,000 dwellings was conducted across parts of South Australia and Western Australia in August 2014. This test confirmed that the changes to the Census approach to make online response the default option will be effective and that an online response of 65% can be expected in the 2016 Census. The 2016 Census online form has been enhanced to work across smart phones, tablets and desktops and incorporates new features to interact with the provider in real-time to clarify responses.

    Further Information about the ways the ABS is supporting the Australian Government’s digital agenda to reduce red tape is provided in the special articles. More information on online forms is provided in the program reports.

    KPI 6.2 THE ABS PROGRESSES NEW SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS TO SUPPORT STATISTICAL INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

    In 2014-15 the ABS continued to improve its approach to statistical information management by:
    • embedding an initial critical set of statistical metadata concepts into our Metadata Registry & Repository (MRR) and the supporting technologies that make those metadata concepts available for use
    • iteratively improving our foundational infrastructure, in particular the MRR, Statistical Workflow Management System and Content Authoring tools through updates that reflect learnings from scenarios and trials
    • developing and showcasing a first prototype of the Statistician's Workbench which demonstrated a metadata driven business process integrated with the foundational infrastructure
    • capturing the core organisational requirements of an Enterprise Data Management environment to be ready for an approach to the market for commercial solutions
    • successful collaboration with multiple statistical organisations building software and sharing development and maintenance costs of OECD.Stat software - an important machine-to-machine data access solution supporting our data dissemination strategy
    • making savings and consistency improvements in the processes we use for confidentiality by introducing perturbation within the SuperStar 2 product - used internally to produce many of our published tabulations
    • introducing a corporate tool to simplify the application of user requested confidentiality.

    KPI 6.3 THE ABS IS ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF STATISTICAL FRAMEWORKS, METHODS AND STANDARDS

    During 2014-15 the ABS continued its significant involvement in the development of statistical frameworks, standards and methods. Key contributions include:
    • co-chairing the UN Expert Group on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information to lead international work on developing a global geospatial statistical framework, investigating global geocoding and geographic classification practices, and statistical-geospatial metadata interoperability
    • an extensive contribution to the International Workshop on Work, Labour Force and Earnings Statistics
    • being one of the few countries to: implement transactions data into Consumer Price Index; conduct research to maximise use of the data; and develop standards for the use of transactions in CPI
    • contributing to the first UN Compilation Guide for the new Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services
    • contributing to a range of international standard setting activities, including the National Accounts Advisory Expert Group, the IMF's Balance of Payments Committee and the Government Finance Statistics Advisory Committee.
    In the big data sphere, the ABS:
    • chaired the United Nations (UN) Statistical Division Global Working Group on Big Data and the task team on satellite imagery, remote sensing and geospatial data
    • contributed to the production of a Big Data Quality Framework report as a member of a UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), released on the UNECE website as a part of The Role of Big Data in the Modernisation of Statistical Production project.