8179.0.55.001 - Discussion Paper: Submission Process for the Information and Communications Technology Statistics Review, 2014-15  
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A review of Information and Communications Technology Statistics (the Review) will be jointly conducted by the Department of Communications and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The purpose of the Review is to assess the priority information areas for ICT statistics, as well as ways to improve the quality of digital economy data available for Australia’s decision-makers.

For the purposes of this Review, ‘ICT’ and ‘digital technologies’ generally refer to the technologies and services that enable information to be accessed, stored, processed, transformed, manipulated and disseminated; including the transmission or communication of voice, image and/or data over a variety of transmission media.

The ICT sector is critical to Australia's national and global economic performance and it is important to understand the contribution the sector makes to the overall economy. However, measuring ICT is broader than measuring the ICT sector alone. To accurately measure the total contribution of ICT to the economy consideration needs to be given to the users and uses of ICT goods and services, as well as those who produce ICT statistics. ICT is an important enabler of innovation and contributes to productivity growth. It influences all aspects of the innovation process: aiding research and development; influencing the flow of knowledge; being integral to the running of organisations both large and small; being a vehicle for networking and collaboration; and also in many cases being the actual innovation product itself.

This paper provides information about the Review Terms of Reference, scope, consultation and submission process, and timing.

Overview of the ICT Statistics Review

The Review is a joint project between the Department of Communications and the ABS. The Department of Finance and the Department of Industry will also be closely involved in the Review process. The Review seeks to identify opportunities to improve ICT statistics, to develop an improved framework for ongoing assessment of the digital economy, and to improve the coordination and governance of information needs into the future.

Terms of Reference

Specifically the Review will:

  • consider the definitions used for key terms such as ICT, ICT statistics, the digital economy, digital technologies, digital readiness, diffusion and intensity
  • identify priority information requirements, covering all sectors of the economy, including public, private and non-profit sectors, and measuring the economic, people and societal dimensions, with particular consideration given to:
    • the availability and use of digital products and services
    • productivity in the digital economy
    • digital economy policy, including internet-based interactions for government services
    • improving the quality of ICT data available to decision-makers
  • identify gaps, overlaps, limitations and appropriateness of existing ABS ICT statistics and other authoritative data sources in meeting priority information requirements for measuring the economic, people and societal dimensions, including a quality assessment against the ABS data quality framework
  • examine options for use of administrative by-product and 'big data' as efficient alternatives to direct survey data collection
  • develop a proposal to effectively measure the contribution that ICT makes to the Australian economy and productivity across all industry sectors. The framework will support international comparisons and be consistent with national accounting principles
  • prepare a report on key findings, setting out short, medium and longer term recommendations focused on enhancing the information currently available for policy-makers and specifying potential implementation impacts.

The Review will also encompass discussion on the impact of digital technology on both economic and social dimensions.

The scope of ICT statistics covered in the Review will include identification and evaluation of available statistics:
  • ABS ICT and related collections
  • publicly available ICT and related statistics from other authoritative non-ABS sources, including compendium reports containing information, data or statistics
  • existing and potential administrative data sources
  • discussion of potential uses of key ICT datasets residing in agency/organisational databases, and potential 'big data' sources.

Consultation process for the Review

Consultation on the ICT Statistics Review will occur through a variety of mediums. In addition to the written submission process, the ABS and Department of Communications will conduct targeted meetings with key stakeholders and data custodians in the ICT community.

Further information

To stay in touch with the ICT Statistics Review’s progress please email innovation.technology@abs.gov.au.

Indicative timing

Early January 2015ICT Statistics Review commenced
Mid-January 2015Call for written submissions
End February 2015Written submissions close
Mid-March 2015Consultation process completed
End June 2015Review completed