Data custodians of administrative data are responsible for the management of their systems. This can impact on the receiving agency acquiring the data because changes made to the systems that collect and store the administrative data can impact negatively on a receiving agency's ability to extract and use the data for their purposes.
Effort by the receiving agency in acquiring the data in a format that is acceptable to their systems can be greatly reduced by encouraging and helping the data custodians to use standard data items and/or apply standard classifications and coding to the information. This is on the proviso that coded information is acquired and coded to a satisfactory standard.
Understanding the impact on quality and the cost involved when setting up the systems for processing administrative data is a very important step in any acquisition of administrative data. This is because if system issues are not considered in advance the benefit of obtaining administrative data may fail to be realised and in reality become more expensive than directly collecting the information from reporting units.
When initially seeking administrative data consideration should be given to the maturity of the system that is being used to collect the data and any potential issues in terms of the reporting ability of the data. For example whilst Electronic Funds Transfer at the Point Of Sale (EFTPOS) data has reached a stable level of market penetration, this was not the case over the first ten years when progressive uptake would have masked any change in real patterns of retail spending.