1504.0 - Methodological News, Mar 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/03/2008   
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Boosting Analytical Capability in MDMD and the ABS

Welcome to the first edition of the Methodological News for the 2008 calendar year. We are looking forward to an interesting and productive year for MDMD, and an opportunity to realise some of the synergies which were created last year by the integration of the Data Management and Classifications branch, and the National Statistical Service Leadership Branch into the division.

The primary role of MDMD is to provide high quality, specialist services to the ABS, with the goal of ensuring that the methods and standards underlying ABS outputs are based on sound, defensible statistical principles and are cost effective. One of the areas of focus for MDMD 2008 is in boosting the analytical capability of MDMD and of the ABS more broadly.

The Analytical Services Branch (ASB) develops and disseminates new analytical methods and products, and produces a series of research papers which present the results of current research or analysis to encourage discussion and comment. Recently, the Time Series Analysis section (TSA) and the Data Access and Confidentiality Management Unit (DACMU) within MDMD were transferred into ASB as a way to bring together those sections undertaking complex or innovative analytical work. TSA, which plays a key role in the ABS around the production of seasonally adjusted series and training of internal clients, also has a research and development program which brings substantial opportunities for linkages within ASB. DACMU, whose roles include developing and advising on confidentialisation methodologies, and promoting quality, undertakes innovative research into the application of sound statistical analysis to support data confidentiality and confidentialised unit record file (CURF) management.

In addition to the internal restructuring of ASB within MDMD, the broader ABS restructure in 2007 created some key opportunities to boost analytical capability in the ABS. In July 2007, two new analysis branches were created: the Economic Analysis and Reporting Branch (in the Macroeconomics and Integration Group) and the Analysis and Special Projects Branch (in the Social Statistics Group). A strong collaboration between ASB and the two new analysis branches has been established, and the three branches are aiming to collectively enhance the analytical work undertaken by the ABS. The three branches are also working to create an Analytical Community within the ABS, comprised of all ABS sections or areas undertaking analysis, as a means to disseminate analytical expertise and skills across the ABS more generally.

The integration of TSA and DACMU into ASB, and the strong linkages between ASB and the two new analysis branches in the ABS, have created significant opportunities for MDMD to focus on further enhancing quality of service provision and methodological rigour to support the work of the ABS.

For more information about the new structure of ASB, please contact Jill Charker on (02) 6252 7290.