NATIONAL INFORMATION AGREEMENT ON EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE
There are a number of challenges in measuring progress against the performance indicators, foremost being the current lack of nationally comparable data. The National Information Agreement on Early Childhood Education and Care (NIA ECEC) was formed to facilitate and improve the collection, sharing and reporting of early childhood education and care information. The agreement has facilitated an important step in improving the quality and reliability of ECEC data (MCEECDYA 2010). The agreement was developed in consultation with the Australian Government, state and territory governments, and key data agencies such as the ABS and AIHW.
The NIA ECEC provides a framework for cooperation between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and information agencies to develop the ECEC information base required to support the COAG early childhood education reform agenda. To ensure the effective collection and reporting of ECEC information, jurisdictions have agreed to adopt a cooperative approach, so that accurate, reliable, timely and nationally consistent ECEC data is available nationwide. The ability to provide quality ECEC data will also enable development of an evidence base for assessing outcomes and informing future policy developments in this area (MCEEDYA, 2010). The activities covered by the NIA ECEC are intended to build a common, shared infrastructure to ensure nationally consistent ECEC data across jurisdictions within the ECEC sector.