4240.0.55.002 - National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Data Collection Guide, 2011  
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Contents >> Collection Specifications >> Return of Data to Source


The ABS is committed to returning jurisdictional data sets and the method of 'returning to source' involves returning to each jurisdiction:

  • Jurisdiction-specific ECEC data sets
  • Information about processes used to reconcile data
  • Quality issues such as 'flagging edits', and any apparent data discrepancies and duplicates.
Although section 19 of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 prohibits the ABS from disclosing information held under the Act, returning information to the person from whom it was obtained (return to source) is an exception to that prohibition. It is ABS policy that in the case of administrative datasets or register-based information, the source is regarded as the organisation (often a government agency) that provided the information to the ABS, not the person or business who originally provided the information to the government agency.

Accordingly, jurisdictions will receive their own data sets under the return to source provisions for the National ECEC Collection. The ABS will return to a jurisdiction, information that has been coded or edited for internal consistency using information already supplied by the same agency, such as calculating age from date of birth. The ABS will also derive additional data elements from jurisdictional data sets in order to produce the outputs required for the publication Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia, 2011 (cat. no. 4240.0). All ABS-derived data elements will be included in the 'return to source files' for each jurisdiction.

When multiple sources of data have been used by the ABS to obtain full data coverage, jurisdictions will not receive the resultant data. In this situation, jurisdictions will not be able to calculate complete derivations based on their own data sets. Under the return to source provisions of subsection 19(1) of the Census and Statistics Act, jurisdictions will only receive their own data sets from the ABS and these data sets will not include any derivations or edits that were the result of combining other sources of data.

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