To successfully perform our functions, we rely on forging and maintaining positive, productive relationships with many agencies and organisations across the Australian, state and territory governments, and non-government sectors. The multisectoral nature of our work is reflected in the statutory composition of the AIHW Board and Ethics Committee and the diverse range of entities with which we have entered into an agreement or a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
Department of Health
As an independent corporate Commonwealth entity in the Health portfolio, we have a strong relationship with the Department of Health.
Our work for the department is guided by a formal deed between the 2 organisations, except where that work is required to be put out to competitive tender. The department provides funding for significant additional projects beyond work funded through appropriation.
We provide the department with copies of all our publications in advance of public release.
Department of Social Services
Our relationship with the DSS focuses in areas such as housing and homelessness, disability services, child protection and income support.
We are the data custodian of the department’s Australian Government Housing Data Set and a member of a panel of experts established to support organisations funded under the DSS's Families and Children Activity. We act as a release point for the DSS’s researchable Centrelink data asset (DOMINO—Data Over Multiple INdividual Occurrences).
The 2 organisations have established a collaborative work arrangement to support enhanced use of income-support data for understanding population health and welfare outcomes.
We provide the DSS with copies of our publications that are relevant to DSS functions in advance of public release.
Australian Digital Health Agency
We are working with the ADHA and the Department of Health to prepare for the AIHW to become the data custodian for the MHR system data for research and public health purposes. This has involved the establishment of an Implementation Working Group comprising the 3 agencies where we are collaborating to establish the necessary data governance arrangements and implement the technical and physical structure required.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
The AIHW and the department are parties to an MoU that reflects their commitment to the development of information sources for the delivery of world-class health-care policies and services to veterans. The overarching aim of this partnership is to develop a comprehensive profile of the health and welfare of Australia’s veteran population. It also aims to facilitate a coordinated, whole-of-population approach to monitoring and reporting on the current status and future needs of veterans and their families.
We continued to work with many agencies in developing, collecting, compiling, analysing, managing and disseminating health and welfare data and information, including:
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
Australian Taxation Office
Department of Education
Department of Human Services
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Independent Hospital Pricing Authority
National Health Funding Body
National Mental Health Commission
Safe Work Australia.
State and territory governments
Much of the government services data that we report at a national level are provided by state and territory government departments that fund and deliver those services. Close working relationships with state and territory governments are critical to developing and reporting nationally consistent and comparable health and welfare data.
Along with numerous government entities from all jurisdictions, we are a party to national information agreements that underpin the activities of national information committees. Separate agreements cover health, community services, early childhood education and care, and housing and homelessness. The agreements ensure that effective infrastructure and governance arrangements are in place for the development, supply and use of nationally consistent data for each of these areas.
We collaborated with all states and territories, the Department of Health, and other key agencies and stakeholders through our committees, the Strategic Committee for National Health Information and the National Health Data and Information Standards Committee. Through these committees, we maintained relationships with AHMAC, primarily through its Health Services Principal Committee. An MoU has been established to formalise our relationship with AHMAC.
We contributed to the development of a draft National Housing and Homelessness Agreement Data Improvement Plan through our role on the Housing and Homelessness Senior Officials Network and data working group, in particular, strengthening our role as a national leader in data integration.
We also worked with state and territory partners to secure the continued stability of systems underpinning national specialist homelessness services data.
We have expanded our engagement with NGOs by providing more consultations and briefings on forthcoming releases (including providing embargo access to reports). We are collaborating with several NGOs from the community services sector on a data insights workshop that will be held early in 2019–20.
We play an important role in data standards and classifications work through the WHO's Family of International Classifications and report Australian health statistics to the OECD.
Case study 4: Engagement with stakeholders—primary care consultations
We received ongoing funding in the 2018 Federal Budget to develop an enduring National Primary Health Care Data Asset. It is envisaged that the data asset will contain reliable, detailed, high-quality data about primary health care which will assist in the creation of a comprehensive understanding of the system and a patient’s journey and experiences within it. It has the potential to create new avenues of analysis to enable better population health planning, help identify gaps in primary health care services and ultimately improve patient health outcomes.
We created a draft of a data development plan to form the basis for nationwide consultation. The initial consultation phase included a series of facilitated workshops convened in each state and territory capital city and an online public submission process.
We launched the AIHW’s Consultation Hub, Citizen Space, on 13 March 2019, with this new public submission process used for gathering feedback on the draft plan.
A total of 163 participants representing 115 invited organisations attended the 8 workshops. Participants included clinicians, consumers, medical software industry partners, commissioners of health services such as Primary Health Networks (PHNs), representatives from peak bodies, researchers, medical colleges and state and territory health departments. The overwhelming majority of participants supported the need for primary health care data that can inform planning and population health. Specific benefits of the data asset were identified as including:
raising the public awareness of the importance of primary health care to the health of Australians
improving the visibility of primary health service needs in remote communities
providing greater visibility of all professions that operate in the primary health care sector.
The biggest and most consistent challenge for the data asset was the need to develop community trust through building consumer interest in the benefits, and providing reassurance that privacy will be maintained.
We received 40 submissions through the consultations process—33 from organisations and 7 from individuals—through online submissions.
Following the completion of this initial phase of stakeholder engagement we will consolidate, analyse and report on feedback.