View from the Top - Alan Hubbard, Regional Director Western Australia
At this time of the year a report on the operations of the Western Australian Office is prepared for ABS management consideration. A feature of the WA Office performance is the strong demand experienced for outposting and consultancy services provided by the ABS.
Outposted Officers Meeting Need
The number of outposting arrangements provided by the WA Office has risen compared to previous years and looks set to continue at a high level. WA is the most active State Office in these terms. The current outpostings generally involve working with clients to improve their data sources and the range of subject areas is diverse. These services appear to be meeting client needs effectively and providing benefits to both parties.
ABS outposted officers are currently working on court service performance information, indicators of the health and well-being of children, information on seniors and volunteers, the health of Aboriginal children and data on domestic violence. Outposting arrangements which are planned to commence soon further broaden the range of subject areas and will include information on contractor performance.
State Statistical Policy Committee
The State Statistical Policy Committee, comprising representatives of State Government agencies and the ABS, performs an important role as the principal forum for consideration of State statistical priorities. The membership of the Committee has been expanded to enable it to speak with greater authority on State priorities and to assist it to carry out its various roles.
I am looking forward to working with the new Committee members and I am hopeful that the Committee can give some real impetus to the ABS objective of developing a National Statistical Service.
Meetings with State Government Agencies
The round of meetings that I initiated earlier in the year with the executives of State Government agencies has now concluded. I found that there was a strong interest amongst State agencies in the ABS and its services and a history of productive relations with the ABS to build on. A number of new opportunities for the ABS to provide outpostings, consultancies and seminars emerged from the meetings.
I appreciated the commitment of valuable executive time to hear our presentation and was satisfied that the meetings had raised awareness of what we could provide to assist agencies in their reporting, decision making, research and influencing roles.
Review of Corporate Directions
Although the ABS is a very stable organisation it recognises the need to periodically check its directions and priorities. At the national level the organisation has commenced a review of its corporate directions and consultants have been engaged to identify the strategic issues facing the ABS and to suggest future directions for change.
At the same time the ABS Corporate Plan is to be reviewed in terms of its continued relevance to the organisation and its circumstances. As a member of the ABS management team I am looking forward to participating later in the year in the consideration of these important corporate issues which will ultimately affect the services provided from the WA Office.