Recent years have seen a number of changes in the Home and Community Care (HACC) program, including those flowing from both administrative developments and the substantial growth in the number and diversity of clients served by the program. The increasing emphasis on home-based rather than institutional care in the provision of services to both younger people with disabilities and frail or disabled older people led to increased interest in the nature, performance and efficiency of the Home and Community Care Program.

As a result of these developments, Commonwealth and State/Territory government officials responsible for the HACC program (HACC Officials) identified the need for a review of the program’s data requirements. The Review of HACC Data Requirements was undertaken during 1996. This review was designed to ensure that HACC Officials had access to the data necessary to develop and manage HACC policy, undertake strategic planning for the program, and monitor the performance of the program against agreed output/outcome criteria.

The Review of HACC Data Requirements included the development of a draft HACC Minimum Data Set.1 The draft Minimum Data Set was accepted by HACC Officials, in principle (subject to further development work), as the basis of a new national HACC data collection to replace the existing HACC Service Provision collection, the HACC User Characteristics Survey and the Community Options Project collections. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare was contracted to undertake further development work on ;the draft HACC MDS, commencing in February 1997. The HACC Data Dictionary Version 1.0 is the product of that work.