Key features of the Commonwealth arrangements

The governance and institutional arrangements for data integration involving Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes aim to enable more data integration to take place for research purposes, whilst fulfilling obligations to protect the identity of individuals and organisations. It is expected that there will be a range of benefits for the community, businesses and governments that will flow from the enhanced information available through the use of integrated data. A key principle underpinning the new arrangements is that statistical data integration should only occur where it is expected to provide overall benefit to the public which outweighs the privacy imposition and risks to confidentiality.

Key elements of the governance and institutional arrangements:

  • a Cross Portfolio Data Integration Oversight Board (the Board) - to oversee the development and ongoing administration of the Commonwealth arrangements for data integration. The Board is chaired by the Australian Statistician and membership includes the heads of the Department of Health; the Department of Social Services; and the Department of Human Services.
  • a small Secretariat, to provide support to the Board and its ongoing activities. The Secretariat provides a central contact point in government for issues relating to data integration involving Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes, whether coming from data custodians, integrating authorities, researchers or the public.
  • nomination of an integrating authority for each statistical data integration project involving Commonwealth data. The integrating authority is responsible for managing the data integration project and the ongoing management of the integrated dataset throughout its lifecycle, in line with commitments made to data custodians.
  • an accreditation process to enable the Board to endorse integrating authorities with the demonstrated capacity to deal with high risk data integration projects or families of projects. [1. Data integration projects using the same source datasets, for similar purposes, with the same integrating authority, are referred to as a family of projects. ] Data integration projects judged to pose a high systemic risk need to be undertaken with particular care to help mitigate this risk. Accredited Integrating Authorities require a high level of relevant expertise, a strong understanding of, and capability for maintaining security, as well as a consistently high standard of behaviour by all employees based on a strong culture and set of values.
  • Guidelines (this guide) containing information describing practices and procedures that support the endorsed Governance and Institutional Arrangements for Data Integration involving Commonwealth Data for Statistical and Research Purposes to maximise the value of existing and new datasets whilst safeguarding the privacy of individuals or organisations.
  • public register of data integration projects and a public feedback mechanism to build public trust through transparency and ensure that data integration involving Commonwealth data is conducted in an open and accountable way.
  • The provision of communication and education material to promote the Commonwealth arrangements and support application of this guide. This material will be targeted to key stakeholders including government departments (acting variously as data custodians, integrating authorities and researchers), the private sector (as data custodians or researchers), the academic/research community and the public. Examples of educational material that support the Best Practice Guidelines are the Confidentiality Information Series and the Data Linking Information Series.

For more information about the Commonwealth arrangements for statistical data integration see: