General information about the SCH
- Why does the SCH exist?
The Statistical Clearing House (SCH) for business surveys was established in 1997 within the ABS, as an Australian Government initiative by the Prime Minister at the time as part of an effort to minimise the red tape placed on businesses.
The SCH provides a central clearance point for business surveys that are run, funded, or conducted on behalf of the Australian Government.
- What are the objectives of the SCH?
The key objectives of the SCH are;
• minimising burden on business
• ensuring surveys are fit for purpose and;
• encouraging survey managers to utilise statistically sound principles around the planning, design and implementation of business surveys.
- An overview of the SCH clearance process
All surveys that are directed to 50 or more businesses and that are conducted by or on behalf of any Australian Government agency, are subject to clearance by the SCH.
When reviewing a survey, the SCH ensures that it is necessary and that the survey design follows best practices. The SCH will identify any improvements that can be made to enhance the value and usability of survey outputs.
Surveys are assessed against specified review criteria. Surveys that satisfy the review criteria will receive a registered approval number that must be printed in accordance with the specifications contained within the approval notification. The SCH approval number must be displayed on all survey related material including questionnaires, introductory and explanatory material sent to businesses.
- How was the SCH established?
In 1996, the Small Business Deregulation Task Force produced a report called 'Time for Small Business'. The report recommended that a central clearance process be established for business surveys conducted by the Australian Government. The purpose of the process is to ensure that surveys are necessary, well designed and place minimum burden on business respondents.
The SCH was established in response to this recommendation. An executive direction from the Prime Minister was sent out to his ministers on 11 October 1997. It outlined the obligations of government agencies in complying with the SCH process.
- Who operates the SCH?
The SCH operates within the Methodology and Data Management Division of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. SCH staff will assist you as you progress through the clearance process. The SCH can also draw upon the expertise of other staff members within the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The SCH reviews all of the Australian Bureau of Statistics' surveys that place a burden on businesses. Each survey which is in scope of the SCH, is subjected to the same review process as any other agency's survey.
- What reporting mechanisms exist within the SCH?
The SCH is responsible for producing a brief annual report of all in scope surveys directed to businesses conducted by Australian Government Agencies during each fiscal year. Agency heads are sent a copy of the SCH Annual Report and a summary of the business survey collections reviewed by the SCH for their department in the fiscal year. Click here to view SCH Annual Reports.