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Strategic Priority 3: Develop and implement new statistical solutions to maximise the value of public data.*

Our Planned Performance: The ABS creates new statistical solutions, in collaboration with stakeholders, to deliver information needed for research, policy, planning and targeting of government services and evaluation

Target 3.1: Stakeholders seek out the ABS to undertake statistical activity and collaborate1

Overall: It is important that the ABS maintains relevance in the national and international statistical scene through continued increases in collaboration and statistical activity with its stakeholders. By meeting this target, the ABS is demonstrating its continued commitment to improving statistical products to meet the demands of the Australian population, as well as effective stakeholder engagement.

The following are a suite of measures which together indicate how the ABS is working with others to create new statistical solutions, in collaboration with stakeholders, to deliver information needed for research, policy, planning and targeting of government services and evaluation:

3.1.1: Are more organisations collaborating with the ABS? An indicator of the value others see in partnering with the ABS
3.1.2: Are more organisations using ABS DataLab to access ABS data? An indicator of the value others see in working with the ABS and gaining greater access to ABS data
3.1.3: Are the number of secondments increasing? An indicator of the value others see in partnering with the ABS and gaining greater access to ABS data and expertise
3.1.4: Is revenue from ABS data consultancies increasing? A monetary indicator of value i.e. how much organisations are prepared to pay for ABS data to contribute to their work
3.1.5: Are there case studies to demonstrate stakeholders’ increased usage of ABS statistics, data and insights?

How we will measure


Result: Achieved

3.1.1 Number of new

agreements with other


3.1.1 In demonstration of stakeholders initiating new or extending existing agreements with the ABS in order to utilise ABS statistics, 79 new agreements were made in the 2017–18 financial year.

3.1.2 Use of Datalab

3.1.2 Number of active organisations using DataLab for the 2017–18 financial year was 69. This compares to the 32 organisations from the previous financial year (Note: figures for previous financial year are from Nov 2016 as that is when the DataLab commenced.)

3.1.3 Number of


3.1.3 There were 86 secondments into or out of the ABS during 2017–18.Secondments benefit both the ABS and its stakeholders by strengthening relationships and facilitating mutual learning with our partners.

3.1.4 Consultancy


3.1.4 The value of Information Consultancies is a direct measure and indicator of stakeholders seeking out the ABS to meet their information needs. The value for the 2017–18 financial year was $962K. This was achieved with an increase of $332K on the previous financial year. The increase is primarily driven by the release of the 2016 Census. In addition to consultancy revenue, the ABS has received $34M in user funded revenue.

3.1.5 Stakeholder case studies

3.1.5 Case Study 3: Outgoing Passenger Cards (see page 42)

Target 3.2: The use of ABS microdata increases2

Context: The ABS is committed to developing new statistical solutions, such as DataLab, which provide secure access to highly detailed data for statistical research purposes. The implementation of this project showcased the ABS’s ability to meet user demands, and collaborate both internally and externally to meet a common goal. By allowing external users such as commonwealth government officials and academic researchers the ability to access this data, the ABS has improved the overall efficiency of data access to further ensure that the Australian public can make informed decisions based on the data we provide.

Results will be measured through assessing Datalab access, in particular, the increase in numbers of people who have been trained to use Datalab and are accessing the data. In addition to this, we will measure any performance issues and report on functional enhancements that are applied to the project.

How we will measure


Result: Achieved

3.2.1 Datalab access

3.2.1 The number of users trained in the DataLab for the 2017–18 financial year was 301. This now brings the total of trained DataLab users to 762. The on-boarding and training process has not changed from previous years.

The growth in DataLab users is attributed to: greater access being provided to a virtual DataLab environment, rather than requiring users to be onsite in an ABS office to access the DataLab; the progressive decommissioning of the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) tool and migration of users over to the new DataLab; as well as the greater value that DataLab provides to users in the level of detail that they are able to see in DataLab, hence creating a demand for training and access on the new tool that adds great value to the research being undertaken.

Target 3.3: Stakeholders agree ABS adds value to their business3
Overall: Providing quality products to stakeholders is a key ABS priority. Effective engagement by the ABS with stakeholders and customers enables it to monitor and assess how value is added and continued improvement can be delivered. If the ABS is unable to provide innovative solutions and add further value, it will be unable to meet customer demands and transformation goals.

3.3.1: Feedback from key stakeholders on whether ABS adds value to their business

3.3.2: Demonstrates where key stakeholders consider the ABS has added value to their business

How we will measurethis

Result: Achieved

3.3.1 The two yearly Stakeholder Relationship Health Assessment

3.3.1 Results from the Stakeholder Relationship Health Assessment survey show that 94% of stakeholders strongly agreed or agreed with the statement: “ABS statistics, information or services are valuable to my business or organisation”.

Additionally over 90% of stakeholders strongly agreed or agreed that the ABS is a credible source of data and information, and a national asset that provides value to Australia. Respondents noted reduced funding and resources have impacted the range of information available.

68% strongly agreed or agreed that ABS is a driver of data improvements, and 76% that the ABS collaborates effectively with its stakeholders.

The majority of stakeholders strongly agreed or agreed their ABS contact(s) were open to their needs (83%), approachable (92%), customer focused (73%) and collaborative in their attitude to work (80%). Stakeholders also noted that existing processes added a barrier to reaching subject matter experts, but provided positive feedback about outposted officers and key relationship managers.

ABS Senior Executives reported that the implementation of Strategic Partnership Managers (SPMs) into Central Agencies within State Government has been positively received. The Managers are successfully facilitating collaboration between the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments on innovative statistical solutions to maximise the opportunities from data analytics and data integration and are undertaking peer reviews. The SPMs form a conduit between ABS subject matter areas and their jurisdictional counterparts, helping to grow the business of the ABS and raising the visibility of both ABS products and jurisdictional projects.

The ABS and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade held a senior round table to develop shared understanding of the implications from the 2017 Foreign Policy White paper. Following there was commitment to pursue further ABS-DFAT collaboration on a range of cross-government priorities including the Sustainable Development Goals and trade statistics.

The ABS is partnering with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) to modernise the agricultural statistics system to reduce the burden on farmers, minimise data collection costs and improve the accuracy and quality of statistics.

The ABS is supporting the Department of Environment and Energy (DOEE)-led national approach to environmental-economic accounting. This approach was endorsed by all Ministers as a means to improve decision making that involves environmental, economic and social dimensions.

ABS Senior Executives reported that a number of secondments both inward and outward to the RBA, Federal Treasury, State Government Departments and the Productivity Commission has resulted in a deepening of bilateral relations, shared understanding of data sources and methods and new insights into ABS microdata, an example being the Wage Price Index microdata analysis undertaken by the RBA.

ABS Population and Social Statistics Division (PaSSD) has negotiated user funding for a number of projects, including innovative projects with State Government and the Federal Department of Education. Significant funding was also successfully tendered for the National Health Survey, Survey of Disability and Carers, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey and the Personal Safety Survey. This level of investment reflects the confidence in ABS partnerships with stakeholders to deliver quality statistics. PaSSD also works to produce publications on smaller investments in the areas of crime and justice and migrants, highlighting the breadth of work and stakeholders we are engaged with.

3.3.2 Stakeholder case


3.3.2 Case Study 4: Personal Safety Survey (see page 43)

Case Study 5: Data Acquisition (see page 44)


  1. *Source: ABS Corporate Plan 2017-18, pg. 14–15
  2. *Source: ABS Corporate Plan 2017-18, pg. 14–15
  3. *Source: ABS Corporate Plan 2017-18, pg. 14–15