4914.0.55.001 - Newsletter: Age Matters, Dec 2004  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/12/2004   
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The ABS has a continuing commitment to develop the quality of official statistical information and work collaboratively with a range of government agencies to deliver the statistics required by Australians, no matter what their source. Key components of this work include the creation of information development plans. Information development plans are living documents which map the broad issues and information needs for a given field to the available information sources, in order to determine information gaps, overlaps and deficiencies. These plans present priorities and a plan for action to improve information agreed by stakeholders. They provide a framework for the systematic improvement, integration and use of data sources.

The ABS, in collaboration with key stakeholders, is currently undertaking a project to improve the quality and range of information available on the ageing of the population. The process used to achieve this is described as 'information development'. As a general rule, this process identifies the supply and demand for information in a given field, in order to ascertain the information gaps, overlaps and deficiencies that exist in that field. Importantly, information development must also guide activities which will improve information shortcomings, by assigning roles and responsibilities in areas where improvement or development is required.

It is clear, even at this preliminary stage in the Information Development Plan (IDP), that new data and studies may need to be developed in order to improve the information set available in various priority areas of ageing statistics. Opportunities also exist to improve the breadth and value of currently available data in a range of ways including better use of administrative by-product data along with surveys and censuses. These avenues will be explored in detail during the course of the project.

Providing solutions via the design of new surveys or enhancing existing data sources will be the responsibility of a range of organisations and not just the ABS. As the national statistical agency, the ABS is well placed to facilitate the identification of priorities with key stakeholders and work with other agencies to develop a plan to improve the range of information required.