High Level Principles for Data Integration - Principles One - Strategic Resource

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High Level Principles for Data Integration series

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

This principle aims to maximise statistical and research use of existing and new Commonwealth data sets.

Administrative data represents a public asset that requires protection and management for appropriate purposes. When designing and managing administrative datasets, the responsible agency should consider the potential statistical value of the datasets for public good, both in terms of use by their own agency, and use more broadly. Administrative data cannot be used for statistical purposes if this contravenes legislation, or any commitment made to data providers or the data is commercial in confidence. Nor should it be used for statistical purposes if this use clearly threatens the integrity of the administrative data.

Where administrative data is likely to have high public value for statistical use, those providing data should be informed of the potential for statistical use at the time of data collection. (Where historical data has been collected without providing this information it should still be considered for statistical use, but not if this is prohibited by commitments made to providers at the time of collection.)

Where administrative data is likely to have value for statistical use, efforts should be made to maximise that value through good data management, including the use of standard definitions and classifications and the maintenance of appropriate metadata, including quality attributes of the data.

Where data is sought for statistical purposes, consideration should be given to using existing administrative sources in preference to imposing additional load on providers through the institution of a new statistical collection.

The statistical and research value of administrative data should be maximised, within legal and practical constraints, by granting broad access for research purposes to data that is not likely to enable identification. Commonwealth administrative data should not generally be withheld from research for reasons of Intellectual Property.