SOCIAL AND PROGRESS REPORTING
The Social and Progress Reporting Program informs government and the community about wellbeing and progress in Australia. It draws together data and analysis both from within the ABS and from a range of other sources, and produces reports covering a wide range of social and other issues. The reports include analysis of current circumstances, how circumstances have changed over time, how different groups of people have been affected, and how various factors may have accounted for observed trends. The reports provide information on the well-being of the population, the extent of need and disadvantage in society, contemporary social issues, the interrelationships between economic, social and environmental aspects of life, and whether life in Australia is getting better.
The program is also responsible for providing leadership and coordination relating to the conceptual organisation of social statistics including the overall social statistics framework and related conceptual models. The framework’s two primary dimensions, areas of social concern and population groups, are central to ABS social statistics collection and reporting activity.
The main outputs of the program are reports that take a cross-cutting approach and bring together information on the situation of Australians across a range of areas of concern and for a variety of population groups of interest. The reports describe key aspects of Australian life and how these are changing over time.
The key outputs are:
- Australian Social Trends (ABS cat. no. 4102.0), a flagship publication released three times a year that contains articles on contemporary social issues covering major areas of social concern (such as health, education, work, and family and community)
- Measures of Australia’s Progress (MAP) (ABS cat. no. 1370.0), an annual web-based product that presents a national summary of economic, social and environmental progress through indicators, descriptive text and, from 2010, a dashboard display of key indicators to help readers assess, at a glance, whether life in Australia is getting better.
Other output includes:
- short audio podcasts of Australian Social Trends (AST) articles, extending the reach of AST through a multi-channel or modal approach.
The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
- work with a Governance Working Group, and the oversight of the MAP Expert Reference Group, to develop the new domain of Governance - due 2013
- work with subject matter experts and the MAP Expert Reference Group to determine appropriate indicators to measure the concepts agreed through the consultation process undertaken in 2011-12 - due 2013
- work with the MAP Expert Reference Group to develop the next generation of MAP that incorporates the outcomes of the consultation process and includes the development of a new, user friendly web interface - due November 2013
- continue involvement in national developments of measures of progress, sharing the expertise gained in developing MAP - ongoing
- continue the publication of Australian Social Trends (ABS cat. no. 4102.0), ensuring that the articles reflect current and emerging social concerns and that the delivery of the publication through the web is kept up to date and is engaging for stakeholders - ongoing
- further strengthen the analytical value of rich ABS data holdings, through research and development papers and working collaboratively with a range of internal and external stakeholders - ongoing
- engage and influence international developments associated with the measurement of progress, well-being, sustainable development, and the post-2015 development agenda - ongoing.
Graeme Brown, Assistant Statistician, Demography, Regional and Social Analysis Branch