1504.0 - Methodological News, Jun 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/06/2011   
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Quality Management of the Acquisition of Administrative Data

National statistical agencies need to find new ways to reduce respondent burden, maximise available data usage and find efficiencies in the use of taxpayers' money. This has led to the use of data that is collected for purposes other than that of a statistical nature. This type of data is often obtained from records or transactional data from government agencies, businesses or non-profit organisations which use it for administrative purposes. This data is referred to as administrative data.

Administrative data can offer strategic and statistically important advantages when used as part of a statistical process, such as:

    • reducing respondent burden which may improve response rates;
    • decreasing the costs associated with the collection and processing of statistical data; and
    • the ability to impute missing or invalid data based on existing administrative data.

However, there are a number of issues associated with the use of administrative data for statistical purposes. Some of which include:
    • limitations associated with the use or supply of administrative data records due to legislative requirements;
    • limited ability of a receiving agency to influence the collection of the administrative data (e.g. definitional changes, question wording etc.); and
    • incompatibility of technological systems in the sending and receiving of administrative data records.

As part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics commitment to providing leadership in quality management of statistical processes, an information paper, 'Quality Management of Statistical Outputs Produced from Administrative Data (cat. no. 1522.0)', was released on Thursday, 23rd March 2011. The paper provides information on managing the quality of statistics produced from administrative data. It focusses on some principles and best practices to assist in the management of the acquisition of administrative data. The paper is a continuation of the ABS quality management series which provides guidance on the frameworks and best practice in the use of statistics. Other papers in the ABS quality management series can be used to manage the quality of statistics produced from administrative data, including:

Further Information
Further information on the quality management strategies discussed in the paper can be obtained from Narrisa Gilbert on (08) 9360 5283 or by email at narrisa.gilbert@abs.gov.au and Andrew Doherty on (03) 9615 7038 or by email at andrew.doherty@abs.gov.au.