BUILDING OUR CAPABILITY
The ABS will continue to drive a range of initiatives aimed at building organisational capability across all areas of our business - investing in our infrastructure, our statistics, our partnerships and our people. Building our capability in these areas will better position the ABS and the national statistical system more broadly to effectively harness the power of statistics to underpin evidence-based decisions in critical public policy and service delivery areas, and enable us to achieve our objectives.
On 1 July 2015, the ABS implemented a new organisational structure to prioritise the transformation work and to assist in managing risk. The ABS Capability Action Plan 2015, our response to the APSC Capability Review of the ABS, highlights key areas of focus that will assist us to achieve the transformation goals.
INVESTING IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE
In the 2015-16 Budget, the Government announced a $257 million investment in the ABS over five years to modernise ageing systems and processes and develop statistical capabilities required for a 21st Century national statistical office.
Through the Statistical Business Transformation Program, the ABS has already begun to design and to develop the next generation of statistical business processes and supporting information infrastructure. The transformed infrastructure and business processes will improve our responsiveness, reduce regulatory burden, reduce the risk of statistical failure, and deliver substantial savings through a reduction in future operational costs. The ABS will work collaboratively with industry partners, other government providers of statistics, and other national statistical offices in the development of this contemporary statistical infrastructure.
The ABS Information and Communications Technology Strategy 2014-15 to 2018-19 supports our infrastructure transformation, and aligns with government directions in relation to whole-of-government shared services and enhanced use of digital technologies to deliver services to the community.
INVESTING IN OUR STATISTICS
Our transformation program has a strong focus on delivering capabilities required to effectively provide value-added statistical solutions - both regular and one-off products and services - able to meet current and emerging information requirements.
Investment in infrastructure is the enabler for Transforming People and Economic Statistics, which will significantly enhance our ability to deliver statistical solutions which effectively inform matters of importance to Australia. This initiative will transform the ABS statistical program, enabling us to exploit new opportunities and better meet the evolving needs of users. Enhancing our statistical capability involves major redesign of our statistical collections, methods, products and services in order to deliver a more sustainable statistical program that extracts greater value from all available data, to produce modern statistical solutions.
Increased data integration, bringing together existing data sources or collections efficiently and safely, creates new datasets for statistical, policy and research purposes. As Australia’s national statistical agency, the ABS is positioned as the ‘go to’ organisation for public sector data integration activities and access. We will work in partnership with data custodians and users to build on the range of data integration projects currently undertaken. Through investment in infrastructure and expertise, the ABS is well placed to undertake high risk integration projects, including those involving the linkage of sensitive data.
Unleashing the power of statistics through enhanced microdata access, while maintaining appropriate security of information, is central to transformation. We have prioritised improved microdata access services as an important early deliverable from our infrastructure investment.
During transformation, we will carefully manage impacts on statistical outputs and engage with a wide range of stakeholders on the changes. We will collaborate with experts on key methodological and technical elements.
INVESTING IN OUR PARTNERSHIPS
Recent reviews have highlighted the need for the ABS to partner and collaborate across government more effectively. Investing in building organisational engagement capability will ensure the ABS remains responsive to the changing needs of our partners, and supports the ABS transformation into a more integral partner in government. Strategic priorities include:
- revitalising stakeholder engagement as a central pillar of the ABS organisational culture;
- supporting open and engaged partnerships across governments and the statistical community to strengthen the national statistical system;
- strategically positioning external statistical governance fora to focus on priority areas and provide opportunity for engagement on key policy issues; and
- improving coordination and reducing duplication through reform of the statistical system.
The ABS Engagement Strategy
will ensure we are a connected and responsive partner in government, open to meeting the needs and expectations of our stakeholders. The strategy is based on three principles which guide our engagement and facilitate a shared vision, shared benefit and shared solutions with our partners. The three principles are to understand
. A relationship management plan provides a clear focus for embedding relationship management as a core part of our business.
INVESTING IN OUR PEOPLE
The ABS recognises that our people are essential to successfully realising our transformation goals and achieving our vision and objectives. To deliver our ambitious transformation agenda, we need to change our culture, drive high performance and build capability.
To deliver on this, a Strategic Workforce Plan
is implemented through annual People and Culture Action Plans. Workforce strategies focus on: reshaping our workforce capability; aligning our staff profile and structure to support a rationalised and responsive work program; building a high performance culture and improving diversity; and improving our leadership and collaboration.
The Strategic Workforce Plan links to a series of well-established people related plans and strategies. These include the Statistical Capability Plan, and a suite of diversity plans (Workplace Diversity Action Plan
, Reconciliation Action Plan
, Gender Diversity Action Plan
and the Agency Multicultural Plan) which aim to attract and retain a diverse workforce.
To equip and enable an agile workforce, we are implementing a flexible working environment. This will offer ABS staff more flexible working conditions and provide cost savings through more efficient use of property. ABS staff can efficiently work from home, or remotely, through smarter use of technology, with all staff working from mobile computing devices on an enhanced computing network.
Our learning management system, CapabilityPlus
, provides a contemporary blended learning environment - providing easy on-line access to capability development options for our field and office staff (as well as for external clients). To support efficient and effective work practices, staff can search a vast store of corporate knowledge on-line, covering corporate services, statistical services, policy and legislation and technological support though our knowledge management system, Services@ABS.
What staff can expect from the ABS:
What the ABS expects from staff:
- A healthy and safe work environment
- To be treated with fairness and respect where diversity is valued
- Access to opportunities to learn and develop
- Recognition and reward for high performance
- Flexible working arrangements to support work-life balance
- Consultation and open communication
- To at all times uphold the APS Values and Code of Conduct
- Commitment to high performance and a strong work ethic
- Ability to be adaptable and flexible when dealing with change
- Collaboration and innovation
- Commitment to self-development
- Safe work practices