1504.0 - Methodological News, Jun 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/06/2010   
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Review of Unit Status Indicator and Processing Status Codes in the E2E Environment

In April 2009, a review was initiated by the Victorian Methodology Unit (VIC MU) regarding the use of Unit Status Indicators (USI) and Processing Status Codes (PSC) by business collections in the End-to-End (E2E) environment. A key objective of this project was to identify any inefficiencies in the E2E process due to an insufficient set of USI and/or PSC codes, given that a comprehensive review of these codes has not been conducted for some time.

USI codes are used to summarise the status of a unit which has been selected in a business collection and to outline its treatment in regards to estimation, future despatch and feedback to the ABS's Business Register. PSC codes were introduced to indicate the status of the unit in relation to the various stages of the survey processing cycle from initialisation and despatch through to editing and estimation. Over time, the usage of PSC codes has evolved to cover other aspects such as the area responsible for the selected unit at a certain stage in the survey processing cycle, the "cleanliness" of the selected unit and the production of management information. Having a strong link between USI and PSC codes is a critical factor in minimising statistical risk for business collections.

Conducting assessments of the standard practices of using USI and PSC codes for a particular E2E phase has assisted in identifying any apparent deficiencies up front. It has also highlighted gaps in some standard practices as well as the absence of clear procedural documentation in other cases. This has lead to additional side projects such as creating business process maps for provider contact processes where VIC MU are taking a leading role.

Consulting with business statistic centres (BSCs) regarding their current practices and any digressions from the standard practices has been a critical stage in the project. The project has been well received by survey areas who see the project as a valuable opportunity to address any perceived inefficiencies in their current practices that can potentially affect the data quality of their estimates.

At the conclusion of the project, one of the key outputs will be a revised set of USI and PSC codes which could be utilised by the various corporate tools in the E2E environment and would move towards the standardisation of USI and PSC coding practices across BSCs. A standardised framework for USI and PSC codes will lead to improvements in the data confrontation of estimates across the various business collections. This in turn will provide users with high quality and comparable ABS statistical products for decision making purposes.

From a systems perspective, improved linkages need to be established between the various E2E system components as there have been situations where PSC and/or USI codes can differ across these components. Consistency in the USI and PSC code values between each system component will be taken into account when implementing a revised set of USI and PSC codes.

Currently, the project is at the stage of finalising the analysis undertaken for the processes up to the editing phase. Recommendations are currently being considered as well as any proposed changes, together with plans for implementation. Initial analysis for phases covering editing (i.e. process inputs), winsorisation, imputation and estimation (i.e. transform inputs into statistics) has commenced with recommendations and any proposed changes to be finalised over the coming months.

If you require any further information about this project, please contact Irina Pribil on (03) 9615 7566 or irina.pribil@abs.gov.au, or Elise Pierson on (03) 9615 7643 or elise.pierson@abs.gov.au.