1304.5 - Stats Talk WA, Dec 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/12/2007   
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Western Australian Indicator Framework System

What is WAIFS?
The Western Australian Indicator Framework System (WAIFS) is an exciting joint venture between the WA State Government and the ABS.

Initially conceived by Katrina Hopkins, Principal Planning Officer from the Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA), the WAIFS was developed in a bid to reduce duplication of effort and cost incurred by agencies trying to access similar statistics for their indicator frameworks.

For example, the DIA indicator framework, entitled Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage (OID), contains around 100 indicators such as life expectancy, labour force participation and health. It also measures anticipated levels of disadvantage through indicators such as birth weight, hearing impediments and early school engagement for indigenous children.

Many of these indicators are duplicated in other state government frameworks, such as the Well-being Indicators for Children and Youth (WICY), developed by the Office for Children and Youth (OCY) and the Indigenous Women’s Report Card (IWRC), developed by the Office for Women’s Policy (OWP).

“The duplication of effort really hit me when I kept bumping into ABS outposted officers who were trying to access similar administrative information for indicator frameworks they were developing”, says Katrina. “At the same time, the Statistical Policy Committee was trying to compile an inventory of administrative data-holdings, and it appeared that there were obvious compatible objectives”.

Stephen Jones, a DIA Information Analyst, found that approximately 80% of indicators used similar variables and that there was potential for substantial data collection savings.

What Are The Benefits?
The WAIFS concept can deliver significant benefits, particularly by reducing unplanned demand on data custodian agencies. Currently, these agencies receive multiple random requests for similar data throughout the year.

The WAIFS will consolidate the requests into one annual request for data, which can be built into future work programs.

The WAIFS aims to identify gaps and duplication within indicator frameworks, improve the quality and consistency of indicator statistics and improve access for WA State Government agencies to a “warehouse” of summary statistical information.

A prototype WAIFS search engine was developed in early 2006, and three indicator frameworks (WICY, IWRC and OID) were loaded to the system to demonstrate the value of the WAIFS.

Once the search engine is fully functional it will display indicators relating to key outcomes of State Government. All State Government staff will have online access to the most up-to-date and definitive data from one central location. This will assist in the development of policies, planning service delivery programs, responding to Ministerials or reporting against frameworks.

Future Directions
Over the next six months, development of the WAIFS will focus on expanding the number of frameworks and improving the system’s search functionality. The ABS will also increase the range of indicators, develop procedures to update indicators and enhance the user interface.

To access the test version of the WAIFS, go to http://www.dia.wa.gov.au (note, only staff from WA State Government agencies can download the data).

If your agency has a framework that could be incorporated into the WAIFS, or you would like more general information, please contact Lesley Martin on 9360 5320.