ARE THERE ANY OBLIGATIONS FOR DATA CUSTODIANS IDENTIFIED ON THE LIST?
The ABS is not the only agency identified on the 2013 list of ESA for Australia; there are a number of other agencies identified as data custodians of essential statistical assets, and these are identified in Appendix 1.
Under Section 6(1)(c) of the ABS Act, the ABS is legislated to lead the coordination of statistical activities across official government agencies, but it is not legislated to undertake compliance activities with regard to datasets held by those official agencies. The ABS intends to work collaboratively with custodian agencies in Phase 2 of the initiative, which is focused on assessing the quality of the existing statistics and datasets on the list, in order to minimise the imposition on data custodians (further information is available in the section Next phases of the ESA for Australia initiative).
There is no obligation or cost to data custodians as a result of their statistics/datasets appearing on the 2013 list of ESA for Australia. Appearing on the list highlights the importance of the statistics for decision making and service delivery, and will raise awareness of the availability of the statistics more generally. Any decision to act upon recommendations that are identified during the quality assessment phase will rest with the custodian agency.
Furthermore, inclusion in the list does not impose a commitment on data custodians to continue collecting data, restrict changes being made to the dataset, or alter current practises for making information accessible. However, if agencies ceased the collection of data that was viewed as critical, and/or reduced their content and accessibility, this would result in additional data gaps if alternative sources of information were not available.