Data Integration Involving Commonwealth Data for Statistical and Research Purposes: Governance and Institutional Arrangements - Building a Safe and Effective Environment for Data Integration

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Data Integration involving Commonwealth Data


Statistical data integration involves integrating data from different administrative and/or survey sources to provide new datasets for statistical and research purposes. The approach leverages more information from combining datasets than could be obtained by examining individual datasets separately. Data integration aims to maximise the statistical value of existing and new datasets, to improve community health as well as social, economic and environmental wellbeing, by integrating data across multiple sources, working with governments, the community and researchers to build a safe and effective environment for data integration activities.

Integrated datasets provide public benefits in terms of improved research, supporting good government policy making, program management and service delivery. Integrated datasets also create important opportunities to expand the range of official statistics to better inform Australian society.

High level principles for data integration involving Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes

On 3 February 2010, the Portfolio Secretaries Meeting (now Secretaries Board) endorsed a set of high level principles for the integration of Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes. At the same time, a set of governance and institutional arrangements to support these principles was requested.

A complete description of the high level principles is available at www.nss.gov.au and a summarised version is provided below.

Strategic resource - Principle 1

Responsible agencies should treat data as a strategic resource and design and manage administrative data to support their wider statistical and research use.

Custodian’s accountability - Principle 2

Agencies responsible for source data used in statistical data integration remain individually accountable for their security and confidentiality.

Integrator’s accountability - Principle 3

A responsible ‘integrating authority’ will be nominated for each statistical data integration proposal.

Public benefit - Principle 4

Statistical integration should only occur where it provides significant overall benefit to the public.

Statistical and research purposes - Principle 5

Statistical data integration must be used for statistical and research purposes only.

Preserving privacy and confidentiality - Principle 6

Policies and procedures used in data integration must minimise any potential impact on privacy and confidentiality.

Transparency - Principle 7

Statistical data integration will be conducted in an open and accountable way.