1304.5 - Stats Talk WA, Sep 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/09/2008   
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All Aboard
ABS and IPAA Jump On The Same Train

One of the functions of the Client Liaison area of the WA Office is statistical training. A number of courses are presented each year, looking at statistics from different angles.

The most popular course, and not just because it’s free, looks at accessing ABS data from the ABS website. Other courses look at understanding demographic data, making time series simple, making quality informed decisions, turning data into information and using ABS datacubes in SuperTable. Details of these courses are listed on the back page of this publication.

Earlier this year, discussions with the Western Australian branch of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) led to an agreement in-principle to collaborate on presenting statistical training.

IPAA is an independent, national, professional not-for-profit association working with its members to advance excellence in the public sector. In Western Australia, IPAA provides members with opportunities to learn about the major directions in government and public administration.

Members come from all sectors of government, the private sector, educational institutions and the community, all with a common interest in public sector administration, management and reform.

Agreement was reached between IPAA and the ABS that two statistical training courses would be developed, one aimed at graduates and the other at more experienced staff involved in policy. The first course, Statistics and Their Uses was presented in June this year and was quickly subscribed to. The course introduced participants to the basics of identifying, accessing and using statistics to support informed decision-making. It covered: how to identify what data is needed; what types of data are available; how to assess data for quality and relevancy; how to find and access ABS data; and the fundamentals of good data presentation.

Feedback from the course was positive and a follow up course was organised for October.The Statistics for Policy Writers course went ahead in early September, and again feedback was positive.

This course focussed upon two key elements of the policy cycle ‘policy analysis’ and ‘evaluation’. Designed for those with experience in and knowledge of policy formulation this course provided participants with a means of measuring policy success by way of inputs, processes, outputs or outcomes.

This course looked at ways to identify the research question; identify what data is required to meet a defined need; methods to search for the appropriate data; present the results effectively and; put in place mechanisms to monitor proposed policy.

The ABS and IPAA are currently in discussions to formalise a statistical training schedule based on these two courses. Joanne Blayney, the Program Development Consultant for IPAA said “The partnership between IPAA WA and the ABS has been a mutually beneficial one”.

“IPAA WA has been able to support the ABS with promoting Statistics Courses that contain the expertise and comprehensive knowledge that the ABS is renowned for. It has been valuable to us to be associated with a recognised organisation as the Australian Bureau of Statistics.”

The ABS has committed itself to assisting and encouraging informed decision-making, research and discussion within governments and the community. This partnership with IPAA, combined with the suite of training courses already offered in-house, aims to enhance that capability.