Customer Services Branch is part of the ABS 2017 Program Delivery Division which includes a range of business transformation projects as well as ongoing collection and dissemination services for the ABS.
The Branch supports the ABS mission by assisting business partners to effectively communicate official statistics through a wide range of high quality information products and services and communication channels.
The program’s key objectives are to maximise the informed use of ABS statistics, optimising the mix of dissemination channels, and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of statistical communication. The program seeks to utilise leading edge communication and dissemination technology and aspires to showcase ‘best practice’ communication of official statistics.
The program provides a range of information solutions for customers – from a telephone referral service, through user-pays consultancies, to supporting the complex needs of clients through improved access to, and use of, microdata. It is responsible for developing a national approach to improving statistical literacy and capability across segments of the Australian population.
The Customer Services Program works with ABS business partners to provide many of the services and processes by which statistical releases are prepared. The program helps business partners produce web and database content efficiently and effectively and provides the tools, training and processes to help achieve this. In addition, the program ensures that the presentation and usability of ABS products are enhanced by the use of relevant standards developed based on objective research.
The main output of the program is the provision of a range of ABS product and delivery options to customers, which include:
- the ABS website www.abs.gov.au as the primary vehicle for ABS statistical communication
- database products, which provide large volumes of detailed statistical data such as Census data packs, Census Table Builder and Survey Table Builder
- information consultancies, providing data tailored to customers’ needs
- Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) available in CD-ROM, via the Remote Access Data Laboratory or ABS Data Laboratory for analysis by researchers
- telephone/e-mail/fax information and referral services
- outreach and statistical training programs provided across Australia
- lesson plans for teachers and interactive activities for school students
- pre-release embargo lockup arrangements.
The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
- continue to deliver 2011 Census of Population and Housing products and services – due 2012–13
- take a leading role in an international collaborative project to help develop a muti-dimensional publishing facility (.Stat) with the ability to view data as dynamic tables, graphs, maps and the functionality to provide machine-to-machine web services – due 2013–14
- work towards updating dissemination infrastructure and systems to meet the needs of users in a rapidly changing digital environment, including facilitating re-use of ABS data by external clients and third party portals while ensuring visibility of the ABS brand – due 2013–14
- continuously expand the ABS’s internet presence and content to allow visitors to have greater insight into the information through visualisation tools and web services and engage with the information and dynamically create information tailored to their needs – due 2013–14
- take a leading role in an international collaborative project for shared microdata access infrastructure and increase use of ABS microdata by researchers – ongoing
- implement new innovative and flexible tools for safe and effective access to microdata – due progressively from 2012
- increase statistical literacy among the five target groups identified by the ABS (school students, tertiary students, opinion leaders, decision makers and general community) – ongoing
- capture, understand and report evidence about information consumption needs and behaviours of the Australian community – ongoing
Customer Services Branch