The department collects data to help determine people’s eligibility for social security and welfare services and for health related services and payments.
This information also helps the department and other agencies to understand service delivery and program requirements. The department can only provide data to internal and external stakeholders in a way that complies with legislation and protects consumer privacy. The department’s website provides statistical information and data and an option for stakeholders to request more statistics.
Beyond this direct activity, the department’s datasets support a broader government agenda, framed by the recommendations of the Public Sector Data Management Project and the Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement. Any other use of the datasets is within the strict boundaries of legislation, with a primary focus on privacy.
The department develops its data analytics capability by investing in staff. A workforce that understands the value of data in strengthening the evidence base helps the department to design effective policies and services that improve people’s lives. In 2018, the department again offered a data analytics professional pathway in its Graduate Program. This option, successfully introduced in 2017, is an important investment in new data analytics capability for the department.
Corporate record keeping
The Australian Government’s Digital Continuity 2020 Policy promotes a consistent approach to information governance.
The department prefers to create and maintain administrative records digitally, thereby reducing reliance on paper records. This is in line with the department’s goal of transitioning to a complete digital record‑keeping model, including converting incoming paper to digital records wherever possible. The continued focus on online and self service capabilities for customers has further reduced the volume of paper received and stored in 2017–18.