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Friday, September 17, 2010

Data deficits emerge, and a step up for Gov 2.0

Peter Martin in the Sydney Morning Herald reports that the chairman of the Council of Australian Government's Reform Council, appointed to push state governments to improve their hospitals, schools and disability services, says he is in the dark for much of the time and can't get the information he needs.
''Of the nine national health-care benchmarks, data is not available to measure three,'' he said. ''We can't report on indicators related to the quality and safety of hospital care and we can't measure progress against the agreed benchmark of reducing type-2 diabetes. Hospitals data is routinely one year late...''Our data on disability comes from an ABS survey conducted once every six years. Our report released this year relied on data from 2003. We are unable to measure progress.'' While the council is required to monitor the proportion of young people who have obtained a year 12 or equivalent qualification in each state, it is forced to rely on an annual Bureau of Statistics field survey. ''It's a survey of 20- to 24-year-olds, and there's a time lag. For our 2010 report we used data from the 2008 survey based on answers to questions from people who completed year 12 between three and seven years ago,'' he said.
Once decisions are taken about the need for data, collection takes time and money, so there may be an explanation that it's still early days in some jurisdictions, particularly if the goal posts have shifted. But it never ceases to amaze that we haven't been measuring performance in many areas against policy and program goals and objectives.

In Canberra AGIMO announced a Gov 2.0 Steering Group, appointed "to provide leadership and oversight in implementing the Government 2.0 agenda," and posted a status report on the Gov 2.0 work plan that includes an impressive range of activity including raising awareness at COAG, and encouraging publication of data sets already held but not published to date by Commonwealth agencies.

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