1530.0 - ABS Forms Design Standards Manual, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2010  First Issue
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Contents >> Survey Letters >> Survey Letters-Information Sheets


While aspects of these standards will be of interest to those outside the ABS, they were developed for internal use. As such, some information contained in these standards will not be applicable to an external audience. ABS staff should refer to the Corporate Manuals database for the most recent version of these documents, as some details (names, phone numbers etc.) have been removed from the online version.



Several different pieces of information may be part of a single package sent to respondents. This section deals specifically with the information sheet, which can accompany letters to give more detail. The information already covered in that letter (the "common content") need not be repeated in the information sheet but the typography and formatting standards still generally apply.

The information sheet is a short document which contains detailed information about some or all of the following:
  • who the ABS is
  • frequently asked questions on the survey
  • what the information is used for
  • examples of output tables with previous survey data
  • why the respondent was selected
  • how long the respondent will be part of the survey
  • the compulsory nature of the survey and the power of the Census and Statistics Act 1905
  • the confidentiality of the responses
  • the due date for the survey
  • any assistance the respondent might require

Example of an information sheet:

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is Australia's official statistical agency. Our mission is to 'assist and encourage informed decision-making, research and discussion within governments and the community, by providing high quality, objective and responsive national statistical service '.

Questions on the survey form
A schedule of questions is enclosed. From testing undertaken by the ABS, it is anticipated that most businesses will have the information requested available from standard accounts. Should full accounting information not be available at the due date, careful estimates will be acceptable.

What is this information used for?
Statistics from this survey provide key measures on the performance of Australian industry and are used in the measurement of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the Australian National Accounts.

Why have you been selected?
This survey is collected from a random sample of businesses which represents the wider business community. The ABS cannot replace businesses during the survey period. This would bias the survey results as each selected business represents itself and many others.

How long will you be in this survey?
Once a business has been selected, a form is sent each quarter. The ABS minimises the survey load placed on businesses by using a sample, ensuring the requested data conforms to Australian accounting standards and including small businesses in any survey for no more than three consecutive years wherever possible.

Is the survey compulsory?
Your cooperation is sought in completing the survey form. The Census and Statistics Act 1905 provides the ABS with the power, if needed, to direct you to supply the information.

Your response is confidential
The data will remain confidential to the ABS. The information is released in aggregate form which does not allow the identification of data from individual businesses.

Due date for survey form
A survey form will be sent in late December 2004. Your cooperation is sought in completing and returning this survey form by 7 January 2005.

Information on the survey, including responses to frequently asked questions is available on the Business Indicators Home Page, under "Themes" , at www.abs.gov.au. Alternatively, you can obtain assistance in completing this form by telephoning the Australian Bureau of Statistics on free call 1800 642 14.

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