NSS News - August 2013
Welcome to the August 2013 edition of the NSS News, a newsletter designed to keep you in touch with developments in the field of statistics. This edition contains a review of the GovHack initiative that was held across Australia in May/June 2013, the release of the Measures of Australia's Progress 2013 Information Paper, the Policy Visualisation Network and the ABS Outposted Officers Program.
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For the first time the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) participated in GovHack, providing a high profile opportunity to highlight the role of all government agencies in supporting data sharing of public administrative assets which is a key National Statistical Service (NSS) priority. This event was held across Australia in June 2013, and brought together over 1,000 people to work on the creative application of public government data. ABS participated as a Gold Sponsor.
GovHack was an excellent opportunity for the ABS to be part of an event that draws together people from government, industry, academia and the general public to mashup, reuse, and remix government data. GovHack is about finding new ways to do great things with data, and encourages open government and open data.
The ABS sponsored two award categories: Open Government and Data Journalism, the key focus of the awards was to encourage and promote the use of ABS.Stat web services. Over 40 high quality entries were developed and submitted to the ABS award categories and judging was undertaken by Mr Trevor Sutton (Deputy Australian Statistician, ABS2017 Group at the ABS) and Ms Merry Branson (Assistant Statistician, Customer Services Branch at the ABS).
The first award was for the category of Data Journalism for the Innovative use of ABS.Stat. The winner was awarded $1,000.00, with 18 entries received. The winner, Cröchéâd (by 3M3 in Hobart) used ABS.Stat SDMX web services and created an application that allows users to go into a profile area of their choice using a categorisation produced from ABS National Regional Profile Data.
The second award was for the category of Open Government, Innovative pooling of ABS machine readable datasets with at least one other non-ABS dataset. Twenty-three entries were received, with the winner being awarded $1,000.00. The winner, Australia In Review (AIR) (by Atomic 51 in Perth), provided a comprehensive view of Australia's history by combining a number of data sets and presentation styles of the data. The project contained a 'slider' which allowed users to easily view points in time in Australia's history.
Overall GovHack was a successful event in promoting open and creative use of government data, engaging with a younger and applications focused audience, and promoting the NSS and ABS web services and machine readable products. The ABS will be participating in the GovHack event in 2014.
For more information on other winning award entries please visit the official GovHack website.
On 28 June 2013, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) published the Information Paper: Measures of Australia's Progress Proposed Statistical Indicators (ABS cat. no. 1370.0.00.003). This Information Paper presents our selected indicators that the ABS proposes to publish in the Measures of Australia’s Progress (MAP) product, due for release in November 2013. MAP presents an assessment of national progress, providing measures that go beyond the traditional economic measure of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It also provides a selection of indicators to show whether progress is being made across social, economic and environmental areas of life.
In 2011-12, the ABS undertook a national consultation to review MAP ensuring it remained relevant and continued to measure what matters to Australians. This conversation with the nation sought to find out what mattered most to Australians for national progress. The review culminated in the release of ‘Measures of Australia’s Progress - Aspirations for our Nation: A Conversation with Australians about Progress’ and it presents Australia’s aspirations for national progress.
The consultation formed the foundation for the refreshed indicators released in the MAP Information Paper. The release of this paper is the next part of the journey in refreshing the MAP product. It also signals to the public how the ABS proposes to represent the nation’s aspirations for progress, with statistical information, by unveiling the proposed indicators for MAP 2013.
The ABS would like to thank all the individuals, groups and agencies who provided input and assistance with the process of redeveloping the MAP product. The ABS would also like to particularly acknowledge the contribution of the Expert Reference Group who contributed directly to the development of the Information paper.
The refreshed MAP product will be released in November 2013.
For more information about the MAP product, please see www.abs.gov.au/about/progress.
The purpose of the Policy Visualisation Network is to bring policy makers and designers together to explore how the Australian Public Service (APS) can better use visualisation techniques to provide more informed policy analysis, advice and/or engagement. The Policy Visualisation Network was established in early 2012 to assist the APS to identify and share appropriate skills and techniques across all the policy visualisation domains.
The Network is consistent with the recommendations of the Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration, and work by the HC Coombs Forum, to build APS policy capability. The APS utilises a wide range of technical skills in policy visualisation such as spatial information, data visualisation, info-graphic design, and data journalism. The challenge is to bring these together to meet: the increasing demand by stakeholders for visualisation techniques to assist public policy professionals capture and analyse complex policy issues; demand from Ministers and citizens for new ways to convey information; new techniques to meet the increase in social media ; and strategic investment by governments to facilitate the 'policy message'.
For more information on the Policy Visualisation Network please visit the website.
The ABS provides Outposted Officers to work with key Commonwealth, State and Territory government agencies on strategic initiatives to assist an agency meet their information needs and support an agency make informed policy decisions. Outpostings also advance the National Statistical Service (NSS) objectives which include promoting the value of public information assets as a strategic resource, the use of national standards and classifications and enhancing the statistical capability within a host agency.
What is the role of an Outposted Officer?
Outposted Officers facilitate strategic engagement and ensure a strong an effective working relationship between the host agency and the ABS. The ABS’s outposted officer program facilitates access to statistics, develops statistical capability, and aims to strengthen statistical coordination with host agencies. Outposted officers may undertake a range of activities such as providing advice on data quality issues across administrative data assets, advice on confidentiality and data release policies, or in the provision of statistical support for specific projects or policy initiatives that are a high priority within the host agency.
- Facilitating strategic engagement with the host agency on emerging issues to identify opportunities for the ABS to assist agencies to make informed policy decisions in the future.
- Allowing the ABS to develop a better understanding of emerging policy issues and related statistical requirements of governments to be considered as part of the ABS forward work program.
- Supporting the National Statistical Service priorities by promoting the use of shared standards and classifications, statistical frameworks and data policies to encourage statistical coordination and coherence across complementary data sources.
- Developing statistical capability in government agencies and structures to improve understanding and use of statistics.
- Maintaining professional and effective working relationships between the ABS and host agencies.