Statistical Data Integration
The Statistical Data Integration Program provides a focal point for strong and consistent governance, methods, policies and protocols around statistical data integration.
Statistical data integration involves integrating data from different sources to provide new datasets for statistical and research purposes. The potential value from bringing together data in a controlled, secure and transparent manner is immense. However, poorly managed data linkage activities could significantly impact on community trust and the National Statistical System (for example, by reducing the response rate to the Census of Population and Housing, other ABS collection activities, and administrative data collection activities undertaken by governments). The focus of the Statistical Data Integration program is therefore on balancing the gains and the risks in a cooperative, productive and transparent manner consistent with all relevant legislation.
In recognition of the strong, but not exclusive, focus to date on combining data from portfolios such as health, education, migration and family support, the program is managed within the ABS Population, Labour and Social Statistics Group.
The principal clients of the Statistical Data Integration Program are data custodians and data users both within the ABS and in other Australian, state, territory and local government organisations, researchers and the community. The key outcome of this program is a safe and effective environment for statistical data integration activities within Australia.
The program has the following outputs:
- policies and strategies for data integration activities involving Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes
- best practice materials and tools for data integration activities involving Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes
- communication, which includes seminars and presentations, participation in relevant conferences (particularly those that relate to information sharing across governments, the research sector and the community), and participation in meetings (particularly those across portfolios within governments) and
- secretariat services to a Data Integration Oversight Board chaired by the Australian Statistician, and with membership comprising Portfolio Secretaries from Health and Ageing, Human Services, and Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
- work with agencies to implement a safe and effective environment for data integration involving Commonwealth data, including developing best practice guidelines – timing dependent on consultation with stakeholders
- create a register of all statistical data integration projects involving Commonwealth data, to ensure transparency – due February 2013
- engage with the states and territories to encourage a safe and effective environment for data integration for statistical purposes across all jurisdictions – ongoing
- stay abreast of international best practice for statistical integration activities in order to influence Australian deliberations – ongoing
- engage with the custodians of key datasets, to identify opportunities for their use in statistical data integration projects – ongoing
- support confidentialising data and providing safe access to microdata to support research and statistical outputs – ongoing, and
- improve the understanding of issues around different levels of data linking accuracy – ongoing.
More information can be found in:
'Data integration involving Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes: governance and institutional arrangements'
Education & Data