2.2 STRATEGIC PRIORITY TWO: TRANSFORMING THE ABS FOR THE FUTURE
2.2.1 Statistical Business Transformation Program (SBTP)
The Government invested $257.7 million over five years in the ABS statistical, IT and business process infrastructure with the expectation of reducing statistical risks, delivering efficiencies of 10 per cent of the ABS appropriation and improving the data services to our customers.
The first three years of the Program have successfully delivered a range of new capabilities. These include a full suite of modern data acquisition capabilities to support more efficient data collection methods for business and household providers. Data acquisition capabilities have already been successfully employed in the 2018 Health Literacy Survey and will soon be used for large scale household surveys such as the 2019 General Social Survey. Similarly, the program has delivered new dissemination capabilities, such as the DataLab to support complex analysis of microdata, and the ABS Indicator Application Programming Interface (API) service which will soon allow approved users to electronically access key economic releases immediately on release.
The focus has now shifted to the integration of these capabilities and the transition of ABS collections. Work has commenced on the transition of a small number of pioneer collections. Based on the learnings of this early work the Program is making adjustments aimed at delivering expected benefits while carefully managing any potential statistical impact.
Over the life of the Program, ABS was expected and required to co-invest. This has been at a higher level than originally expected in response to the complexity of Program delivery and to better manage statistical risks during the transition to new statistical capabilities.
2.2.2 Risk management
Maturing our Risk Management Framework is critical for the period ahead. Absolute rigour is needed around our critical and strategically important projects and programs, whereas for business as usual activities where resources are constrained, discipline in the application of risk management principles will be required. The transformation program is central to this work. It will reduce statistical risk by providing reliable business processes used consistently across the range of ABS statistical activities.
2.2.3 Future functional model
The organisational structure of the ABS will evolve as we progress through transformation, with new infrastructure and business processes changing how we operate. Improved technology and greater automation will enable greater efficiencies, allowing for consolidation of some of the previously more resource intensive parts of the statistical program. This in turn creates greater capacity for analysis and innovation, allowing the ABS to be more responsive to customer needs.
Work occurred in 2017–18 to consider how to organise core ABS functions and capabilities more effectively and efficiently through to an optimised functional model. Gradual changes to the organisation of our program are being made. In 2018–19, structural changes are being made to the economic measurement areas, with reorganisation of program areas towards a thematic, topic-based structure that will enhance efficiencies and maintain data quality and coherence.
We have also conducted job design work to help staff prepare for change and understand their position in and contribution to the organisation. This work has also clearly demonstrated how we design roles and tasks to logically flow from the new functional model.
2.2.4 Workforce strategy and capability
The ABS Workforce Strategy 2015–19 provides an outlook to help us undertake our workforce planning, transformation, and deliver our People and Culture Transformation Goals. It identifies four key people strategies to drive high organisational performance:
- reshaping workforce capability;
- aligning staffing profile and structure to the ABS Forward Work Program;
- building a high performing culture and improving workforce diversity; and
- improving ABS leadership to drive a high performing culture.
The ABS is currently developing a five year workforce plan to support the workforce strategy by aligning the ABS staff profile, operational arrangements, capabilities and culture to support a responsive work program and transformed ABS. The aim is to ensure that we have the right people, in the right place, at the right time and in the right numbers to effectively deliver the required work program in 2018–19 and in future years.