AIHW Board Chair’s report

Photo of Louise Markus, AIHW Board Chair

On behalf of the AIHW Board, I am pleased to introduce the AIHW’s Annual report for 2017–18.

In 2016–17 the AIHW Board approved new Strategic Directions to guide the AIHW in achieving its vision of ‘delivering stronger evidence, better decisions, improved health and welfare’. In 2017–18, the AIHW applied these Strategic Directions across its work program, as we continue to strengthen our data capabilities and turn data and information into knowledge and intelligence. The major achievements made by the AIHW throughout the year are highlighted in this report.

Over the past 31 years, the AIHW has fostered and established many strategic and trusted partnerships across the health and welfare sectors. In collaboration with these partners, the AIHW has continued to develop and capture the data required to inform national policy and health and welfare priorities.

The environment in which the AIHW operates continued to evolve in 2017–18, providing a number of new challenges and opportunities for growth. The Productivity Commission’s report on Data Availability and Use (released in May 2017), highlights the extraordinary growth in data generation and usability. With a key focus on the huge value to be gained from data and the overwhelming need to make it more readily available, the report also highlights the importance of building public trust in the government’s use of data. As a highly respected long-term player in developing and using people-centred data, the AIHW is well-placed to ride this wave of support for better access to and use of data.

In May 2018 the Board focussed on risk management, and through a workshop, deepened its understanding of strategic risk management and its oversight of the Institute’s risk management, governance and assurance frameworks. The Board has identified key strategic risks and is reviewing the Institute’s Risk Management Framework.

Government introduced amendments to the AIHW Act via the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Amendment Bill 2018. If passed, the representative-based structure of the AIHW Board will be replaced with membership comprising a collective mix of skills and experience from a range of different fields.

I would like to thank Lyn Roberts, Mark Cormack, Philip Fagan-Schmidt and Gillian Adamson, each of whom finished their term as Board members during or at the end of the financial year, for their valuable contributions to the Board. I would also like to acknowledge the management team and more than 400 staff for their outstanding contribution, commitment and expertise who, together with the passion, leadership and vision of the AIHW’s Director, Barry Sandison, make the AIHW’s achievements possible. The Board is excited about the AIHW’s future, as the Institute leads the way in a rapidly evolving health-and-welfare data landscape.

Louise Markus

AIHW Board Chair