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Statistical data integration
Using Australian Government statistical data to improve services
Integrating statistical data involves integrating unit record data (the most detailed level of statistical data) from different administrative and/or survey sources to create new datasets for statistical and research purposes. Integrating data provides public benefits in terms of improved research, supporting good government policy making, program management and service delivery.
Government projects should aim to maximise the potential statistical value of existing and new datasets. This is supported by working with governments, the community and researchers to build a safe and effective environment for statistical data integration activities.
Why should I?
Integrating existing Australian Government statistical data can be a cost effective and timely way of gathering more information in order to improve government services. It can also reduce the duplication of information collection from people and businesses.
How do I?
Determine if Commonwealth arrangements apply
One of the governing principles for data integration involving Commonwealth data is to aim to maximise statistical and research use of existing and new Commonwealth datasets. Data integration should increase the value of existing datasets, while protecting and maintaining privacy and confidentiality.
Stakeholders that undertake in-scope data integration projects are expected to adhere to current and future objectives of the arrangements for data integration involving Commonwealth data for statistical and research Purposes (the Commonwealth arrangements). The foundational elements of the Commonwealth arrangements were endorsed by the Commonwealth Secretaries Board in 2010.
The Commonwealth arrangements provide assurances that the privacy of individuals and businesses will be protected by ensuring strong and consistent governance, methods, policies and protocols around integration of Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes. They apply to projects within the current scope, as determined by the Cross Portfolio Data Integration Oversight Board. If projects are not in scope, the Commonwealth arrangements may be used as best practice for undertaking data integration projects more generally.
Seek integration approval
If your project is in scope, you should approach the relevant data custodian(s) with a project proposal. A project proposal template is available to help data users and researchers to seek in-principle approval from data custodian to undertake a data integration project. The data custodian will appoint an integrating authority.
For high risk data integration projects, agencies acting as the integrating authority will need to apply for accreditation to the Cross Portfolio Data Integration Oversight Board. To support your application, you should view the currently accredited agencies and summaries of their accepted applications.
Approved projects should be registered on the Public Register of Data Integration Projects. You can also use the register to locate existing useful projects.
Use best practice resources
The National Statistical Service and the Commonwealth arrangements guide site host comprehensive resources on delivering data integration projects:
- map of project process
- fact sheets on Commonwealth arrangements, information confidentiality and data linking
- quick guides to integration topics including data security, data management and legal and policy considerations
- FAQ about the National Statistical Service.
Last updated: 21 July 2015