1530.0 - ABS Forms Design Standards Manual, 2010  
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Contents >> Survey Letters >> Survey Letters-Examples of Other Letters

EXAMPLES OF OTHER LETTERS

While aspects of these standards will be of interest to those outside the ABS, they were developed for internal use. As such, some information contained in these standards will not be applicable to an external audience. ABS staff should refer to the Corporate Manuals database for the most recent version of these documents, as some details (names, phone numbers etc.) have been removed from the online version.

Contents



Introduction

There are several types of letters that are part of the survey process but are mailed to respondents on an individual basis. These letters should be personalised, using the respondent's name and specific details of their situation. They should also use the signature and job title of the specific ABS person dealing with their case. A brief description and example of each type is given below, with the blue text to indicate where specific cycle information needs to be added.
Passive refusal letter

The passive refusal letter is mailed to respondents who, after repeated attempts by the ABS, cannot be contacted. This letter should be sent by Registered Post with the Unit ID recorded on the pink slip.

Example:

<Name of respondent>
<Name of business>
<First address line>
<Second address line>
<Third address line>

Attention: Mr/Ms/Mrs First Name Surname

Dear Mr/Ms/Mrs Surname,

In Month Year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) requested that your business complete a form for the Full Survey Name by due date on the form. Despite further requests for the information, our records show that your form is still outstanding. This information is now needed urgently. I am writing to you now to explain a little more about this survey and to ask for your cooperation in supplying the information requested.

Purpose of the survey (taken from covering letter). Results of this survey will be used by government, industry and business analysts to assist in policy development and informed decision making, which may directly or indirectly affect your business.

The information asked for is collected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. The Act provides the Australian Statistician, or his delegate, with the power to direct businesses to provide the information sought. The Act also allows for a penalty of up to $110 per day for failure to complete and return a form when directed. Information supplied to the ABS under the Act remains confidential to the ABS.

We require the enclosed form to be returned by Day Month Year. If exact figures are not available from your records, careful estimates are acceptable. If you fail to complete and return the Full Survey Name form (and, if applicable, supplementary form(s)) for survey cycle by Day Month Year, consideration will be given to recommending to the Australian Statistician that he issue you with a direction under the Act.

I look forward to your cooperation and would appreciate the return of the completed form by the due date. If your form has not been returned by this date, a senior member of staff will contact you.

Should you wish to discuss this matter or require any assistance, please contact me on 02 6252 XXXX or 1800 XXX XXX (freecall excluding mobile phones) and quote reference number ATOXXXXXXX.

Yours sincerely,

<Signature>


Name of signatory (Signatory should be at the APS4/5 level)
Position of signatory
Australian Bureau of Statistics

Day Month Year


Active refusal letter

The active refusal letter is mailed to respondents who have explicitly stated that they refuse to comply with the ABS's request for data. It is mailed before the pre-NOD letter, but the refusal can occur at any time during the follow-up process. For example, a respondent who refuses to comply after receiving the first reminder will be sent an active refusal letter.

This letter should be sent by Registered Post with the Unit ID recorded on the pink slip.

Example:

<Name of respondent>
<Name of business>
<First address line>
<Second address line>
<Third address line>


Attention: Mr/Ms/Mrs First Name Surname

Dear Mr/Ms/Mrs Surname,

I refer to a telephone conversation(s) between my staff and yourself in which you indicated your refusal to participate in the Full Survey Name. I am writing to you now to explain a little more about this survey and to ask for your cooperation in supplying the information requested.

Purpose of the survey (taken from covering letter). Results of this survey will be used by government, industry and business analysts to assist in policy development and informed decision making, which may directly or indirectly affect your business.

The information asked for is collected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. The Act provides the Australian Statistician, or his delegate, with the power to direct businesses to provide the information sought. The Act also allows for a penalty of up to $110 per day for failure to complete and return a form when directed. Information supplied to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) under the Act remains confidential to the ABS.

We require the enclosed form to be returned by Day Month Year. If exact figures are not available from your records, careful estimates are acceptable. If you fail to complete and return the Full Survey Name form (and, if applicable, supplementary form(s)) for survey cycle by Day Month Year, consideration will be given to recommending to the Australian Statistician that he issue you with a direction under the Act.

I look forward to your cooperation and would appreciate the return of the completed form by the due date. If your form has not been returned by this date, a senior ABS staff member will contact you.

Should you wish to discuss this matter or require any assistance, please contact me on 02 6252 XXXX or 1800 XXX XXX (freecall excluding mobile phones) and quote reference number ATOXXXXXXX.

Yours sincerely,

<Signature>

<Name of signatory>
<Position of signatory>
Australian Bureau of Statistics

Day Month Year
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Pre-NOD (Notice of Direction) letter

The pre-NOD letter gives the respondent one more opportunity to submit a completed form to the ABS. It advises the respondent of the implications should they choose not to respond, specifically, the ABS' ability to initiate legal proceedings under the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

Example:
<Name of respondent>
<Name of business>
<First address line>
<Second address line>
<Third address line>


Dear <Respondent's Name>,


Legal Action: <Name of survey>

Despite attempts to gain your cooperation, a completed form for the above survey remains outstanding. I am writing to seek your cooperation in completing this survey form, and to advise you of the implications if you do not respond.

The importance of these statistics to the government and industry has been stressed in previous contact as have offers of assistance in completing the form.

If you fail to complete and return the enclosed survey form by <bold due date>, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will consider initiating legal proceedings against <name of provider> under the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

The Act provides for penalties of up to $110 per day for failure to comply with a direction to complete and return a statistical return. This same Act provides you with a guarantee that your information will remain confidential and that the data released are only at an aggregate level.

I have enclosed the following survey form for completion:
  • <Name of survey>

Please give this matter your immediate attention. For your convenience, I have enclosed a reply-paid envelope for its return and a copy of the form for your records. Careful estimates are acceptable if exact figures are not available.

If you wish to discuss this matter further, please contact <PCU contact>, Assistant Director, Provider Contact Unit on <phone number of PCU contact> (reverse charge calls will be accepted) and quote reference number ATOXXXXXXX.

Yours sincerely,

<Signature>



<Name of signatory>
<Position of signatory>
Australian Bureau of Statistics

Day Month Year

NOD (Notice of Direction) letter

The NOD letter advises that the ABS is taking legal action against the respondent because they have failed to submit a completed form (after repeated requests to do so). Legal action can only be avoided if the form is provided "...within 15 days after the service of (the) notice".

Example:

Census and Statistics Act 1905
Direction Under Subsection 10(4)

TO: <Name of respondent>
<First address line>
<Second address line>
<Third address line>
Pursuant to subsection 10(4) of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 and for the purpose of enabling the statistics referred to in Part III of that Act to be collected,

I, <name of ABS contact>, the person holding the office of <position held>, <State or Territory in which position is held>, being a person to whom the powers of the Statistician under that sub-section have been delegated in pursuance of section 17 of the Act, hereby direct you -
to fill up and supply, in accordance with the instructions contained in the form entitled <Name of form> accompanying this notice, the particulars specified in that form and to cause the form, so filled up, to be furnished to an authorised officer, in accordance with those instructions, within 15 days after the service of this notice.

Pursuant to subsection 10(5) of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 I draw to your attention the provisions of section 14 of that Act which states:

"(1) A person who, without reasonable excuse, refuses or fails to comply with a direction served on the person under subsection 10(4) or 11(2) is, in respect of each day during which the person so refuses or fails to comply with the direction (including the day of a conviction under this section or any subsequent day), guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding $110.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in relation to a refusal or failure by a person to answer a question, or to supply particulars, relating to the person's religious beliefs."



Dated this............day of..........................20.....


...........................................................................


NOTE:

(1) Subsection 10(4) of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 provides that:
"For the purposes of section 8 or 9, the Statistician may, by notice in writing served either personally or by post on a person, direct the person -
(a) to fill up and supply, in accordance with instructions contained in or accompanying a form accompanying the notice, within such period after the service of the notice, being not less than 14 days, as is specified in the notice, the particulars specified in that form; and
(b) to cause the form so filled up to be furnished to the Statistician, or to an authorized officer, in accordance with those instructions."

(2) Subsection 10(5) of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 provides that:
"A notice referred to in subsection (4) shall set out the effect of the provisions of section 14".

Response to special requests letter

Respondents contact the ABS for extensions, for help understanding and filling out their form or to make other special requests. In cases where the request is unreasonable and cannot be met, a "response to special request" letter is mailed.

For example, a response to a request for payment:

<Name of respondent>
<Name of business>
<First address line>
<Second address line>
<Third address line>



Dear <Respondent's Name>,

I am writing to you regarding your quote for completion of The Survey of Research and Experimental Development 2005 - 2006 for $480.00 which you sent to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Your survey form is collected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act, 1905. The Act does not provide for payment to be made for supplying information, and consequently the ABS is not authorised to use public funds for that purpose. Apart from significantly increasing the ABS's costs, which in turn are borne by the Australian tax-payer, there is no fair and equitable means of administering such a scheme.

The Federal and State Governments make extensive use of statistics for planning, budgets, advisory services and for policies, which may directly or indirectly affect your business. Results of this survey are also used by a range of organisations and industries for planning and decision making.

I would like to assure you that the ABS is very much aware of the workload imposed on the business community by the need to complete our statistical returns on a continuing basis, and that a determined effort is made to limit ABS requests for data to a minimum.

Finally, I would like to thank you for your cooperation in providing the data. I would like to assure you that the ABS appreciates the efforts of businesses, such as yours, that willingly provide the required data. If you have any additional questions or queries, please contact the ABS on 1800 XXX XXX (freecall excluding mobile phones) and quote reference number ATOXXXXXXX.

Yours sincerely,

<Signature>

<Name of signatory>
<Position of signatory>
Australian Bureau of Statistics

<Day Month Year>

Exemption letter

In some situations, a respondent may have a genuine reason for not participating in the survey. In these cases an exemption may be granted and an exemption letter sent.

For example:

<Name of respondent>
<Name of business>
<First address line>
<Second address line>
<Third address line>

Dear <Respondent's name>,
Thank you for your correspondence of <Day Month Year> to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) regarding <business's name> participation in ABS Surveys. I am pleased to inform you that we will grant you a temporary exemption from <number> ABS surveys.

A review of <business's name> participation in the <survey name/s> indicates that the business meets the conditions for granting a temporary exemption. Accordingly, I have granted you an exemption from these surveys for three years.However, I should point out that as long as your business has an active Australian Business Number (ABN), it may be selected in other surveys undertaken by the ABS.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your efforts in past years in completing these Survey forms. If you have any additional questions or queries, please contact the Provider Liaison Team on 1800 XXX XXX (freecall excluding mobile phones), and quote reference number ATOXXXXXXX.

Yours sincerely,
<Signature>



<Name of signatory>
<Position of signatory>
Australian Bureau of Statistics

<Day Month Year >

Acknowledgement letter

A respondent may send all sorts of correspondence to the ABS, separately or attached to survey forms. In some cases these may not be able to be dealt with immediately. The ABS has an obligation to respond to correspondence within a certain timeframe so a letter which simply acknowledges the correspondence may be sent first.

For example:

<Name of respondent>
<Name of business>
<First address line>
<Second address line>
<Third address line>


Attention: Mr/Ms/Mrs First Name Surname


Dear Mr/Ms/Mrs Surname,

Thank you for your correspondence of Day Month Year to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Your correspondence has been marked for action. Investigation into your situation will be conducted and you will be advised of the outcome in the near future.

If you wish to discuss this further please contact the ABS on 1 800 XXX XXX (freecall excluding mobile phones) and quote reference number ATOXXXXXXX.

Yours sincerely,

<Signature>

<Name of signatory>
<Position of signatory>
Australian Bureau of Statistics

<Day Month Year>



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