8696.0 - Community Services, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/06/2010   
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This publication presents estimates of the economic and financial performance of businesses and other public and private sector organisations involved in the provision of community services, in respect of the 2008–09 financial year. These data are compiled from a directly collected survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This is the third ABS survey of community services businesses and organisations with previous collections being conducted in respect of 1999–2000 and 1995–96.

Please refer to ABS Institutional Environment for more information about the institutional environment of the ABS, including its legislative obligations, financing and governance arrangements and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations.


The main purpose of the estimates is to present detailed information on the financial performance and activity of businesses and organisations primarily engaged in the provision of community services during the 2008-09 reference period.

The information is also used by government departments and economic analysts to assist in policy formulation and evaluation. Financial estimates include income, expenses and industry value added.

Businesses were classified by:

  • institutional sector, in accordance with the Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA), which is detailed in Standard Economic Sector
    Classifications of Australia (SESCA) ( cat. no. 1218.0)
  • industry, in accordance with the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition ( cat. no. 1292.0)
  • state and territory
  • 'for profit' or 'not for profit' status
  • community service activity, in accordance with the National Classification of Community Services (NCCS)
  • business size
The scope of the survey was all employing and significant non-employing businesses and organisations with a non-cancelled ABN and an active ITW or GST role, classified to the following ANZSIC06 classes:
  • 8601 Aged Care Residential Services
  • 8609 Other Residential Care Services
  • 8710 Child Care Services
  • 8790 Other Social Assistance Services
Partial coverage of the following ANZSIC classes:
  • 7211 Employment Placement and Recruitment Services (Part – only organisations providing services to persons with a disability)
  • 9559 Other Interest Group Services n.e.c. (Part – only peak bodies or organisations providing advocacy services)
  • 7510 Central Government Administration (Part – only departments/organisations with a significant role in funding and/or directly providing community services)
  • 7520 State Government Administration (Part – only departments/organisations with a significant role in funding and/or directly providing community services)
  • 7530 Local Government Administration (Part – only organisations with a significant role in funding and/or directly providing community services).

Note that government-owned or controlled public trading enterprises were also included.
The period covered by this collection was, in general, the twelve months ended 30 June 2009. Although financial estimates relate to the full twelve months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June 2009. As a result, estimates of wages and salaries per person employed may be affected by any fluctuations in employment during the reference period.

The collection was designed primarily to deliver national, and where possible, state estimates for all in-scope industry divisions.


This is an irregular collection with estimates generally available within twelve months of the reference period to which they relate. For the 2008–09 reference period, questionnaires were despatched by ABS in August 2009 and estimates scheduled for release in June 2010.


The ABS aims to produce high quality data from its industry collections while minimising the reporting burden on businesses. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into survey and questionnaire design, collection procedures and processing. The 2008-09 survey used generalised regression estimation. Generalised regression estimation is a form of ratio estimation which makes use of auxiliary data items which are strongly correlated with key data items directly collected by the ABS from businesses. The auxiliary variables used in this survey were turnover and wages from data sourced from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Use of this methodology allowed high quality statistics to be produced from a small sample of 4,124 businesses.

Two types of error can occur in estimates that are based on a sample survey: sampling error and non-sampling error.

Sampling error occurs when a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. It reflects the difference between estimates based on a sample and those that would have been obtained had a census been conducted. One measure of this difference is the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if all businesses had been included in the survey, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

Another measure of sampling error is the relative standard error, which is obtained by expressing the standard error as a percentage of the estimate to which it refers. The relative standard error is a useful measure in that it provides an immediate indication of the sampling error in percentage terms, and this avoids the need to refer also to the size of the estimate. Relative standard errors of key estimates are available in the Technical Note on Data Quality of Community Services, 2008-09 (cat. no. 8696.0).
Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort was made to minimise reporting error, by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training of survey analysts, and efficient data processing procedures.

Non-sampling error also occurs when information cannot be obtained from all businesses selected in the survey. For the 2008-09 survey of Australian industry, there was a 91.0% response rate from all businesses that were surveyed and found to be operating during the reference period. Data were imputed for the remaining 9.0% of operating businesses. Imputed responses contributed 4.5% to the estimate of total income for all selected industries.


Previous community services surveys were conducted by the ABS for the 1995–96 and 1999-2000 reference periods. While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data, their relevance to the changing needs of users and the efficiency of the survey. There have been substantial changes in scope and methodology between the surveys, so users should exercise caution when making historical comparisons.

These changes include:
major changes between the 1993 and 2006 editions of ANZSIC which affected all community services sectors except child care services.
the introduction of generalised regression estimation methodology
changes to the statistical unit as a result of the introduction of the New Tax System on 1 July 2000
the inclusion of significant non-employing units in the survey.

Key annual industry data for ANZSIC06 subdivisions 86 Residential Care Services and 87 Social Assistance Services are published in Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0). There are important differences between statistics published in Australian Industry and Community Services publications and users should exercise caution when making comparisons between the two sets of estimates.


The estimates from the Community Services Survey are available only as original series and are not seasonally or trend adjusted.

Although financial and volunteer estimates in this publication relate to the full twelve months of 2008-09 financial year, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June 2009. Organisation counts reflect only those organisations operating at 30 June 2009.

Further information about terminology and other technical aspects associated with these statistics can be found in the publication Community Services, 2008-09 (cat. no. 8696.0), which contains detailed Explanatory Notes, a Technical Note on methodology, a Technical Note on data quality and a Glossary.


Data from the 2008-09 Community Services Survey are available in a variety of formats. The formats available free of charge on the ABS website are:
  • main features, which include key findings commentaries
  • a pdf version of the publication
  • spreadsheets which contain all the tables presented in the .pdf version of the publication together with additional tables.

If the information you require is not available as a standard product, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request and for a charge. Please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.