The Data Exchange commenced on 1 July 2014 as the Department of Social Services’ new approach to program performance reporting. The Data Exchange has since been extended to a number of other Federal and state government agencies and is growing strongly.
As the name suggests, the Data Exchange reflects the two-way partnership of information sharing between funding agencies and service providers, which enables both to find smarter and more efficient ways of improving service delivery and understanding the overall outcomes being achieved for individuals, families and their communities.
The Data Exchange has two standardised six-monthly periods that cover 1 January to 30 June and 1 July to 31 December. Organisations can choose to submit their data on a daily, weekly or monthly basis at any time during the reporting period. However all data must be submitted within 30 days after the close of each period. For details, please refer to the Data Exchange Protocols.
Key benefits of the Data Exchange
The Data Exchange takes a ‘collect once and use often’ approach to data collection. Reporting requirements have been standardised to a core set of priority requirements.
Service providers can choose from three flexible ways to submit their data:
- A web-based portal (that can be used like a free case management system)
- Bulk uploads
- System-to-system transfers
The streamlined and standardised approach to reporting supports organisations to focus on front line service delivery and achieve better outcomes for individuals, families and their communities.
The importance of outcomes
The Data Exchange shifts the focus of performance measurement from outputs to more meaningful information about service delivery outcomes.
Outcomes in this context refer to the results being achieved for clients over time and across programs, recognising that clients often have complex needs requiring the intervention of multiple services and organisations.
The Data Exchange collects outcomes information through the Standard Client/Community Outcomes Reporting, known as SCORE. This data is collected from organisations that opt into the partnership approach. This outcomes-focused information contributes to the evidence-base and provides context around service delivery.
The benefits of joining the partnership approach
When reporting information about clients, service providers may submit an extended data set via the Data Exchange in return for access to a set of additional self-service reports. This is known as the partnership approach. The benefits of participating in the partnership approach include:
- The ability to demonstrate the outcomes that service providers are achieving for their clients
- Access to a rich set of additional reports
- Access to a whole-of-government data sets
Access to valuable data through self-service reports
All organisations using the Data Exchange have access to standard self-service reports, while organisations that participate in the partnership approach have access to a sophisticated suite of infographic partnership reports.
The Standard Reports reflect the information collected as part of the priority requirements displayed in traditional bar, table and pie graph formats.
The Partnership Reports use the priority requirements and partnership data combined with Government and population datasets to provide valuable insights into service delivery using innovative approaches to display this information.
A number of fact sheets are available to provide an overview of the policy approaches to the Data Exchange:
- What is the Data Exchange?
- A partnership approach to reporting outcomes
- Using SCORE to report outcomes
- The Programme Performance Story (Outcomes)
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Training and support
Further information about the policy and approach to outcomes reporting is available on the Data Exchange Policy page.