The Commonwealth/State Disability Agreement Minimum Data Set (CSDA MDS) collection was set up in 1994, to monitor and report publicly on the CSDA which in 2000 - 01 was a $2.5 billion program. Its establishment enabled complete, nationally comparable data on disability services funded under the CSDA to be collected in Australia for the first time. The CSDA places responsibility for planning, policy setting and management of employment services with the Commonwealth, whilst the States and Territories are responsible for all other disability services. Advocacy, print disability and information services are considered shared responsibilities under this agreement.

The process of review and redevelopment began in 1999 during the life of the second CSDA, when it was acknowledged that there was a significant change in the nature of service provision, information needs and availability of technology in use across the disability field. As a result of the redevelopment, full-year data about CSDA-funded agencies and service users will be available for 2002 - 03, in turn increasing the power of information collected and providing better outcomes for all major stakeholders. The new data set is known as the CSTDA NMDS in anticipation of a third agreement being finalised.

Process (see Chapters 2 - 4)

The redevelopment project was managed by a process reflecting the existing relationships between the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the National Disability Administrators, and the State, Territory and Commonwealth government departments responsible for disability services and the ongoing management of the existing CSDA MDS snapshot collections. A Facilitation and Implementation Group (comprising representatives from all jurisdictions responsible for CSTDA-funded services, non-government and consumers representatives, and members of the AIHW) was established at the outset of the project to provide advice and assistance to the project management team.

The project focused strongly on consultation with government and non-government stakeholders, including CSTDA-funded agencies, service users, carers and peak organisations. Throughout the project the CSTDA NMDS underwent three rounds of field testing, as well as numerous consumer discussion sessions, which aided significantly in the finalisation of the data items and collection materials.

The redeveloped CSTDA NMDS has moved from a 'snapshot' day collection to a full-year collection, which significantly improves the power of information collected.

Data development (see Chapters 5 and 8)

The CSTDA NMDS redevelopment project plan included a 'short list' of data items that were investigated for the redeveloped CSTDA NMDS. The 'short list' reflected the information needs of the Disability Administrators across the country. Through the various rounds of field testing, the original 'short list' of data items was revised in line with the findings of the field testing, and developed in accordance with national data standards, to produce a final data collection.

Key products (see Chapter 6)

A range of collection materials and products have been developed to support the new CSTDA NMDS:

  • Data Guide
  • Service Type Outlet and Service User paper forms
  • Data Transmission and Technical Guide
  • Data Dictionary
  • Network Guide
  • Training materials

All materials were developed through consultation with various stakeholders and are publicly available from the AIHW web site.

Privacy and data principles (see Chapter 7)

In the planning stages of the CSTDA NMDS redevelopment it was agreed that it would be important to develop and refine privacy and data principles for the CSTDA NMDS collection in the course of the redevelopment.

The Privacy and Data Principles developed are based on the Privacy Act 1988, Privacy (Private Sector) Amendment Act 2000, the Disability Service Standards and AIHW policies concerning data collection, storage and transmission.

The new data (see Chapters 2, 8 and 9)

The redeveloped collection will satisfy a far wider range of information needs relating to this major national program.