4907.0 - Information Paper: Improving Statistics on Children and Youth - An Information Development Plan, 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/12/2006   
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Contents >> The Plan and its development

This document was added or updated on 03/07/2007.



This Plan is aimed at addressing the changing information requirements of users of children and youth statistics, focussing on the agreed areas of priority for statistical data development. The Plan should also serve as a guide to producers of statistical information as to how they may generate improvements to their own data holdings and thereby ensure their outputs have relevance and increased usability to the wider user group in the field of children and youth statistics. Information provided by key stakeholders in the children and youth field has been used to identify the priority areas for data development. This development work is necessary to ensure that statistical information supply is updated and improved and therefore better placed to inform the policy and research issues facing governments and practitioners in the field.

The Plan takes into account the priority data development needs and associated development actions relevant to children and youth that are already included in other IDPs. These include the most recent updates of the National Community Services Information Strategic Plan and the National Public Health Information Development Plan, as well as several ABS IDPs (Education and Training, Crime and Justice, and Rural and Regional Statistics).

The Plan presents: a picture of the field of children and youth statistics, in terms of the stakeholders and relevant government policies and initiatives; a discussion of the agreed priorities and directions for data development; a description of the data development actions either proposed or underway to address the agreed priorities; and an overview of the current data supply available to inform research and policy development.


Development of this Plan has involved a number of steps. The first step was to define the key concepts and identify key policy concerns for the field, along with the existing data sources available to inform these concerns. This was achieved through consultation and discussion with members of the CYSAG. The key policy concerns and related research questions were presented in an information paper titled Key Issues Relating to Children and Youth (cat. no. 4908.0), released by the ABS in April 2005. This paper also includes information about the existing data supply. An additional paper, The Field of Children and Youth Statistics, Australia 2005 (cat. no. 4910.0), was also released at this time. This paper discusses the field of statistics relevant to children and youth and presents the various frameworks, policy contexts and statistical standards relevant to the field. These papers provide background information relevant to this Plan and are available from the ABS' website (www.abs.gov.au).

The second step was to consult with key stakeholders to identify their information needs. Consultation was conducted in two rounds. The first round involved relevant federal government departments and agencies, as well as national research organisations. The second round involved a wider group, including relevant state and territory government departments and agencies, non-government organisations and relevant cross-jurisdictional information management groups. A list of all stakeholders involved in the development of this Plan is provided in Appendix 1.

During the first round of consultation, the ABS held a series of bilateral meetings with senior staff, researchers and policy advisers. These meetings resulted in agreement on the key issues and the identification of the deficiencies and gaps in the existing data supply (referred to as data development needs). In addition, information was also collected on data sources for which each agency was responsible, along with any initiatives planned or underway to improve agency data collections. In this Plan, these latter initiatives are referred to as data development actions. These are actions which will lead to a new source of data or improvements to an existing source (e.g. improved comparability, additional topics, implementation of standards).

The information gathered during the first round of consultation was used to prepare a draft of this Plan. The draft Plan was used as the basis for discussion during the second round of consultation, with the primary aim of confirming and gaining agreement on the key issues and priority areas for data development (including associated data development needs). This consultation round also focussed on ensuring that the Plan reflected the interests and concerns of the states and territories. Comments on the draft Plan were also sought from selected multi-jurisdictional data committees, including the National Public Health Information Working Group and the National Community Services Information Management Group.

Finally, data development needs for each of the agreed priority areas were prioritised, as it is not feasible for this Plan to address the complete range of needs identified for each area. This assessment was undertaken with the assistance of key stakeholders in the field. Chapter 4 outlines the assessment process.


It is envisaged that the Plan will have a life span of around three years. The ABS will take responsibility for convening an annual meeting of the CYSAG for the purpose of monitoring the progress of the data development actions. In addition, this CYSAG meeting will consider the continuing relevance of the priority areas and data development needs.


Chapter 2 discusses the field of children and youth statistics, including the key stakeholders and policies. Chapter 3 presents the agreed priorities areas and directions for data development. Chapter 4 presents the data development needs and their related data development actions, organised by the priority areas. Appendix 1 lists the stakeholders involved in the development of the Plan. Appendix 2 presents the data development needs, as identified during the consultation. Appendix 3 presents the available information for the field.

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