Information initiative a major step towards better community services

The National Community Services Data Dictionary, Version 1.0, is the first-ever national data dictionary specifically for community services and marks the first step towards better community services. The Data Dictionary is released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on behalf of the Standing Committee of Community Services and Income Security Administrators (SCCSISA). Mr Joe Christensen, Head of the Institute's Information Development unit, said that the Dictionary will enable uniform national data about community services to be collected.

'Until now there has been no common definitional language about community services and comparisons-even within states-have been difficult. By establishing a core set of uniform definitions relating to each community service sector, this first National Community Services Data Dictionary should promote uniformity, availability, reliability, validity, consistency and completeness in the data.'

'The Dictionary is intended to be an essential tool in ensuring the quality of Australian community services data. This, in turn, should lead to people in the community services sector-wherever they live-being able to provide the best and most appropriate services for their communities. '

Mr Christensen said that the AIHW is keen to receive feedback from people who use this first edition of the National Community Services Data Dictionary. 'Later versions will incorporate feedback from extensive consultation with specialised departments, non-government organisations, and people in data specialist and policy positions. '

'The Dictionary will only achieve its potential if it is relevant and easy to use. We look forward to contributing to its enhancement and improvement in later editions,' Mr Christensen said.

The compilation of the Dictionary was funded by the Institute and SCCSISA and is an important initiative within the National Community Services Information Agreement. In it data definitions are presented according to the National Community Services Information Model, and in a format based on the international standard for defining data elements issued by the International Organization for Standardization.

2 July 1998


Further information: Joe Christensen, ph. 02 6244 1148, Cheryl Trussler, ph. 02 6244 1056, and Laura Reece, ph. 02 6244 1042.
For media copies of the report: Lena Searle, ph. 02 6244 1032.