1006.0 - Forward Work Program, 2013-14 to 2016-17  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/06/2013   
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Contents >> General Information >> How the ABS operates


To meet its responsibilities, the ABS delivers high-quality statistical programs, provides statistical leadership within Australia and internationally, and works with other National Statistical Offices to develop and maintain statistical infrastructure.

The ABS has a central office in Canberra and regional offices located in the eight state and territory capitals. Regional offices are responsible for the delivery of statistical services to their state or territory. All regional offices, apart from the ACT office, also have some responsibilities for national operations for particular statistical activities.


The ABS produces and disseminates statistics under the following broad programs:

  • Economic and Environment Statistics
  • Population, Labour and Social Statistics.

The Economic and Environment Statistics Group and the Population, Labour and Social Statistics Group lead and deliver high-quality statistical programs to inform governments, researchers and the Australian community. Both groups work across the entire statistical process, with the support of other areas within the ABS, and ensure that their statistics fit within internationally accepted conceptual frameworks, accurately reflect the real world, and adapt to changing user needs.

The statistical production process involves nine phases, from developing specifications for statistics based on user information needs, through to the delivery of statistical information in formats that best suit clients. Statistical production is enabled by several overarching processes, including the management of datasets, metadata, and statistical frameworks. The process is presented in Diagram 1.

To undertake their roles effectively, the statistical groups in the ABS draw on the services and expertise of the Methodology and Data Management Division, the Data Acquisition and Collection Branch, and the Customer Services Branch. These expert areas ensure that ABS statistics are produced to world-class standards with optimum efficiency.

The Methodology and Data Management Division reports directly to the Australian Statistician, providing oversight of the statistical program to ensure professionalism, confidentiality, and objectivity in all ABS products and services. ABS methodologists also provide advice to the statistical groups and the ABS 2017 Group on issues relating to metadata management, survey design, data collection methodology, analysis, and data quality management. Methodologists also undertake research on statistical methods to improve the efficiency and accuracy of ABS work, and provide leadership and support in the development, review and application of statistical classifications.

The ABS 2017 Group was established in 2012 to assist the ABS to achieve strategic business transformation over the next four years. The ABS 2017 Group centralises key statistical acquisition and dissemination services, the 2016 Census program, and information infrastructure and design. The Group is focussed on developing the fundamental statistical infrastructure required for increased efficiency and versatility; building enterprise-level eCollection capability for business and household surveys; transforming the 2016 Census business model; and transforming the way the ABS receives and processes data from all sources.

ABS corporate and technology services assist the ABS to achieve its strategic directions. These programs provide enabling technologies and lead the ABS in the areas of culture, legislation, legal compliance, capability development, brand and reputation management, and resource management.

The organisational structure of the ABS ensures it is able to continue to develop and maintain expertise in key statistical topics, and to nurture expertise across the statistical cycle.

Diagram 1 presents a broad overview of the statistical production process, as described in the Generic Statistical Business Process Model.
Image: Shows the nine phases of the Generic Statistical Business Process Model: Specify needs, Design, Build, Collect, Process, Analyse, Disseminate, Archive, Evaluate. Also refers to overarching processes.

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