ABS INTEGRATING AUTHORITY ACCREDITATION
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) became the first agency to be accredited as an Accredited Integrating Authority under the Commonwealth data integration interim arrangements in April 2012. A copy of the application made by ABS, verified by an independent auditor, is available through the National Statistical Service (NSS) website.
The ABS only undertakes data integration for statistical and research purposes and where there is a strong public benefit in doing so. It has internal governance procedures to thoroughly vet applications for proposed data integration projects.
In its role as an accredited Integrating Authority, the ABS operational procedures protecting Australians’ personal information are:
- All ABS staff sign undertakings of secrecy and fidelity which are legally binding agreements.
- To protect the identities of individuals and organisations, the ABS separates identifying variables from content variables and information is stored on separate servers.
- ABS staff can see only the information required for specific linking or analysis. No-one can see identifying information in conjunction with content data.
APPROVAL PROCESS FOR DATA INTEGRATION PROJECTS
PARTNERSHIP ARRANGED WITH DATA CUSTODIANS
- An agreement for use of the data is reached between the ABS and the data custodian.
- Use of the data must be in line with legislated purposes and assessed as being in the public interest.
- The public benefit and risk of each project is assessed against the Commonwealth Statistical Data Integration Risk Assessment Guidelines. This assessment forms a formal data integration project proposal.
ABS INTERNAL GOVERNANCE PROCESS
- Data integration project proposals, including the risk assessment, are submitted through a dedicated governance process for review and approval.
- When reviewing these proposals, primary consideration is given to the public benefit and to the strategies for safely managing personal and sensitive information involved in the project.
For more information on Integrating Authority accreditation, visit the NSS website.