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ABS Statistical Capability Framework



The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has developed a framework that describes what is required for someone to be statistically capable. The Statistical Capability Framework provides a common language and supports statistical capability needs analysis discussion and development efforts.

The Framework is comprised of three tiers.

The top level tier consists of three capability dimensions:
    • Statistical Use;
    • Statistical Production; and
    • Statistical Leadership.

Against each of the dimensions are a set of statistical activities that are associated with being able to use data effectively, produce statistical outputs that are fit for purpose, and lead a statistical system.

Against each of the activities are a set of abilities that are required to be able to undertake the activity. The framework does not attempt to describe the skills and knowledge needed. These can vary from person to person and are affected by factors such as the nature of the statistical collection process, type of data being analysed, and requirements of the user of that data.


The Framework defines the statistical capabilities that are required by people, rather than the capabilities associated with statistical infrastructure or systems.


Tier 1: Statistical Capability Framework - Statistical Capability Dimensions

Image: Statistical Capability Framework logo. Subtitle: Understand Statistics, Understand our World. Dimensions: Statistical Use, Statistical Production, Statistical Leadership.

Tiers 2 and 3: Statistical Capability Framework – Statistical Activities and Abilities

Statistical Capability
Statistical Use Activities and Abilities
To identify and access statistical information that could inform an issue under consideration, you need to be able to:
  • understand the issue
  • determine what statistical information could inform the issue
  • identify and access sources that contain the required statistical information
To assess whether the statistical information is fit for purpose, you need to be able to:
  • understand the specific purpose for which statistical information is required
  • understand the factors that impact on the suitability of statistical information (e.g. relevance, accuracy, timeliness)
  • evaluate the overall suitability of the statistical information
Analysing and Interpreting
To apply appropriate statistical techniques and thinking to identify and interpret the key messages in the data, you need to be able to:
  • understand statistical terms and concepts
  • identify and use appropriate statistical techniques to extract relevant information from the data
  • understand how the quality of the data can affect interpretation
  • identify the key points of relevance from the analysis
To accurately and effectively present the key messages in the data, you need to be able to:
understand the statistical information requirements of the intended audience and their level of statistical literacy
  • relate the key messages to the issue under consideration
  • convey the key messages in a way that is both comprehensible and engaging to the audience
  • convey the limits of the data (i.e. which questions the data can inform, and which it cannot)
To make use of statistical information effectively, you need to be able to:
  • think critically about statistical information (e.g. recognise misleading interpretations of data)
  • understand the context to which the statistical information relates

Tiers 2 and 3: Statistical Capability Framework – Statistical Activities and Abilities

Statistical Capability
Statistical Production Activities and Abilities
To scope what statistical information is required to address an identified need, you need to be able to:
  • understand and confirm the statistical need
  • develop options to acquire the statistical information that would address the need
  • confirm the most feasible solution
Designing and Building
To scope, design and create the statistical systems and processes that will produce the required statistical information, you need to be able to:
  • identify the considerations that need to be factored into the design and build process (e.g. available budget, time frame, legal requirements)
  • define the data items that need to be acquired (i.e. what do we need to know?)
  • define the scope and parameters of the data collection
  • determine the methods and systems to be used to capture the required data
  • develop and test the data capture systems and processes
  • develop a strategy for managing data quality
Collecting and Processing
To collect, process and transform data, you need to be able to:
  • implement data capture systems and processes
  • investigate and address any quality issues with the captured data (e.g. missing data, anomalous data)
  • apply data transformation processes to create data outputs, store the data outputs and compile accompanying metadata
Validating and Disseminating
To make the data outputs ready for access, you need to be able to:
  • validate the accuracy of the data outputs (i.e. make comparisons with relevant data sources and ensure data meets expectations)
  • ensure adherence to relevant requirements before release of statistical information (e.g. meeting privacy requirements)
  • compile statistical outputs for users
  • enable access to the statistical outputs and associated metadata
To consider whether a statistical process should be undertaken again, you need to be able to:
  • specify and gather relevant evaluation inputs (i.e. experiences from the completed data acquisition process and future statistical information needs)
  • analyse evaluation material to assess the requirement for any changes to the production process

Tiers 2 and 3: Statistical Capability Framework – Statistical Activities and Abilities

Statistical Capability
Statistical Leadership Activities and Abilities
To ensure the ongoing relevance of statistical information, you need to be able to:
  • understand the broader policy or operating environment and identify emerging statistical needs to support it
  • identify feasible high level options, approaches and opportunities to address the statistical priorities
  • implement an ongoing process to review statistical information priorities
To shape an environment in which statistical information and statistical assets are valued, you need to be able to:
  • engender a culture where decisions are underpinned by the use of high quality statistical information
  • champion the importance of acquiring and applying statistical capabilities
  • champion the availability of statistical assets
To ensure foundations and infrastructure are in place that will support the generation, management, availability and use of high quality statistical information, you need to be able to:
  • establish, maintain and leverage stakeholder relationships
  • support an integrated statistical system through governance structures and statistical protocols
  • develop and promote the adoption of standards, classifications and methods to maximise data comparability, coherence and usability
  • establish the relevant program to provide the required statistical service and/or product
  • ensure the availability of required statistical expertise

PDF attachment:
ABS Statistical Capability Framework Version1.0.pdf

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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