1001.0 - Annual Report - ABS Annual Report, 2005-06  
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Chapter 8 - Summary

The ABS is required to report against the outcomes and outputs as specified in the 2005–06 Portfolio Budget Statements presented to the Parliament in May 2005. As noted in chapter 2, the ABS has one outcome and one output group (Australian Bureau of Statistics – national statistical service). There are two subgroups in the output group – Economic Statistics and Population and Social Statistics.

The Portfolio Budget Statement for the ABS sets out performance indicators to be used to evaluate the outcomes for the ABS. Four of these are against the overall outcome, and three are against the output group, as shown in the diagram below:

TABLE 8.1: PERFORMANCE INDICATORS FOR THE ABS

Performance information for Outcome 1Performance information for Output 1

    1. Integrity in statistical operations
    2. Relevance of ABS output
    3. Appropriate use of statistical standards, frameworks and methodologies
    4. Improving coordination of the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics produced by other official bodies
    1. Improve the quality of outputs
    2. Increase the quantity of outputs
    3. Achievement of cost effective outputs


A summary assessment against each of the performance indicators is shown in the table below. Some topics are explained in more depth in the subsequent chapters. These are:
    • Engagement with users of statistics
    • Provider/respondent relationships
    • Assistance to producers of statistical services
    • Quality and timeliness
    • Dissemination of statistics
    • Extended analysis of statistics
    • Statistical standards and infrastructure
    • International engagement
    • Effectiveness of activities.

TABLE 8.2: SUMMARY OF PERFORMANCE INFORMATION FOR OUTCOME 1

Performance indicatorsAssessmentMore information

1. Integrity in statistical operations

1.1 An objective statistical service, as demonstrated by:

  • release of reliable/ accurate statistics
  • The ABS released an extensive range of statistics in 2005–06.

    The ABS took steps to ensure that the statistics produced were of high quality, and that users were given information about quality. Information was also provided about any known errors, such as that in the Producer Price Index and International Trade Price Index releases for March 2006.

    Dissemination of statistics

    Quality and timeliness
  • open statistical process
  • The ABS undertook extensive user consultation Engagement with on a range of statistical developments. Methodological developments were open to scrutiny, through information papers and the Methodological Advisory Committee.Engagement with users of statistics

    Quality and timeliness

    Dissemination of statistics

  • trust and cooperation of providers
  • The ABS undertook to ensure that provider Provider/load was minimised, and that the information respondent provided was protected as is required under the relationships Census and Statistics Act 1905.

    Continuing high response rates demonstrate a good level of cooperation by providers.
    Provider/respondent relationships

    2. Relevance of ABS output

    2.1 Statistical output which meets the needs of key users of economic and social data in terms of:
  • support to decision-making, and
  • demonstrated by a high level of use.

  • The ABS released a wide range of statistics, and these were used extensively, as shown by the increase in accesses to ABS services, and the increase in references to the ABS in the print and electronic media
    Dissemination of statistics
    2.2 Openness of planning processThe ABS has extensive user consultation processes. A three-year forward work program is published on the ABS website. The ABS Corporate Plan, updated in 2005, sets out broad objectives and strategiesEngagement with users of statistics

    ABS corporate governance

    3. Appropriate use of statistical standards, frameworks and methodologies

    3.1 Lead the development of national statistical standards, frameworks and methodologies, and their implementation within the broader Australian statistical system A range of standards were released or updated – most significantly classifications for industry (ANZSIC) and for occupation (ANZSCO).

    The geographic classification for the 2006 Census was prepared, and work on developing Mesh Blocks is well advanced.

    Statistical standards and infrastructure
    3.2 Contribute to the development of key international standards, frameworks and methodologies, and implement them as appropriate.The ABS contributed to a range of international standards, including the International Standard of Classification of Occupations, the System of National Accounts, the International Comparison Program, the 2010 round of Population Censuses and the International Standard of Industrial Classifications.Statistical standards and infrastructure International engagement

    4. Improving the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics produced by other official bodies

    4.1 Statistical Clearing House activity.The SCH completed reviews of 118 statistical collections.

    SCH intervention resulted in 73 instances of improved survey design and/or reduced provider load.

    Assistance to producers of statistical services
    4.2 Assisting other official bodies with integration of administrative and statistical data, including outposting ABS officers, and providing training on statistical standards, frameworks and methodologies.The ABS provided assistance through outposted officers, training courses, development of National Data Network (NDN), and supporting projects on statistical developments.

    The ABS is an active member of steering committees and working groups for a range of major statistical projects.

    Engagement with users of statistics

    Assistance to producers of statistical services
    4.3 Identifying, storing and disseminating statistics from other official bodies. Work is progressing on a number of Information Development Plans, which are identifying potential data sources. The NDN is now operating in demonstration phase, and the amount of data available is increasing.Assistance to producers of statistical services



    TABLE 8.3: SUMMARY OF PERFORMANCE INFORMATION FOR OUTCOME 1, OUTPUT GROUP 1.1

    Performance measuresAssessmentMore information

    1. Improve the quality of outputs

    1.1 Achieve or exceed timeliness, statistical reliability, response rates and accuracy objectives:

  • timeliness
  • The time between the end of the reference period and release was similar to previous years.

    Quality and timeliness
  • statistical reliability
  • The ABS continued to take steps to maintain and improve the reliability of statistics.

    Quality and timeliness
  • response rates, and
  • The ABS maintained high response rates. Provider/ respondent relationships

  • accuracy.
  • The ABS continued to work towards ensuring that statistics released were accurate.
    Quality and timeliness

    2. Increase the quantity of outputs(a)

    2.1 Increase the range of statistics disseminated. Number of releases increased from 733 in 2004–05 to 781 in 2005–06. All statistics on the ABS web site are now free, increasing the accessibility of information for users.

    Dissemination of statistics
    2.2 Innovative outputs.There were 126 new releases produced. Changes were made to the ABS website to make outputs more accessible. The ABS undertook a range of additional analysis projects to produce new outputs.Dissemination of statistics

    Extended analysis of statistics

    Quality and timeliness

    3. Achievement of cost effective outputs

    3.1 Conduct efficiency reviews and audits, and implement their recommendations.The ABS conducted a number of reviews and audits, which produced a range of recommendations for work program and procedures.

    Effectiveness of activities
    3.2 Test operating efficiencies of statistical activities by benchmarking internally and externally.Benchmarking – comparing ABS activities with those elsewhere in the organisation, in other agencies in Australia and overseas – is a part of many reviews and audits.

    Effectiveness of activities
    3.3 Market test a number of non-statistical activities to identify possible outsourcing opportunities.The ABS makes use of external providers in a range of activities. No additional outsourcing opportunities were identified in 2005–06. The ABS worked closely with partners on the 2006 Census including development of the eCensus.

    Effectiveness of activities
    3.4 Minimise respondent load.
    Respondent load is closely monitored and minimised as much as possible, through ensuring data is of high priority, and through good sample and questionnaire design. Provider/respondent relationships

    Effectiveness of activities

      (a) Measure 5 in 04–05 ABS Annual Report

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