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PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
NATIONAL INFORMATION AND REFERRAL SERVICE
The National Information and Referral Service (NIRS) is the main entry point to the ABS for basic telephone, email and online enquiries from clients. NIRS also provide a referral service to clients, referring inquiries that cannot be met by NIRS or self-help facilities to other parts of the ABS for servicing.
INFORMATION AND STATISTICAL CONSULTANCY SERVICES
More detailed statistics than those initially released on the website or in database products are available on request. Requests for additional statistical data or analysis/enhanced data presentation are met through the Information Consultancy Service which is provided on a cost recovery basis.
The Statistical Consultancy Service provides assistance to government departments and statutory authorities in areas such as survey design, questionnaire design, sampling techniques and data analysis.
DATA INTEGRATION SERVICES
The ABS provides a wide range of data integration and analytical services for statistical and research purposes, including complex services such as probabilistic linkage, longitudinal and small area analysis. The ABS is accredited as an Integrating Authority under the interim arrangements for the integration of Commonwealth Government data. This allows the ABS to undertake high risk data integration projects involving Commonwealth data. The ABS undertakes these projects under the strong privacy provisions of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. The ABS already has a wide variety of existing datasets in population, social, economic and environmental spheres, and has access to a range of others that could be used in data integration. The ABS uses these to examine the characteristics of groups and the relationships that may exist between variables, such as social, economic and environmental conditions, behaviours and outcomes, to enable both within and cross-disciplinary approaches to improve Australia's understanding of its societal progress and economic development. The ABS has invested in developing staff with the skills and capabilities to undertake the different data integration services offered by the ABS and in developing tools to make microdata available to users whilst protecting privacy.
STATISTICAL CAPABILITY SERVICES
Statistical capability services provide activities to improve the statistical skills and knowledge of key target groups within the community, including: school students; tertiary students; teachers/lecturers; opinion leaders (including journalists); decision makers (including members of parliaments and staff from agencies in all levels of government); and the general community (including small business owners and community groups). Key services include the Census@School program, a suite of web based resources on the ABS website, standard and customised statistical training, and international development programs to build the statistical capability of governments in Asia and the Pacific region.
ABS employees are outposted to key Australian Government and state and territory government agencies to support strategic engagement and statistical initiatives between the ABS and those agencies. Statistical initiatives can include: facilitating access to statistics; enhancing statistical capability; providing data quality advice; and strengthening statistical coordination within host agencies. While many outposting arrangements are ongoing and cover a wide range of strategic issues, others are for short periods to assist with specific technical projects.
The ABS produces statistics funded by clients where the work is consistent with its role as a national statistical agency, and aligns to the functions stipulated in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975. All user-funded statistics are publicly disseminated as part of the full range of official statistics. This applies to statistics that are co-funded by the ABS or fully funded by the client. User-funding enables the ABS to expand the information available to Australians by providing a responsive statistical service.