What is the Data Exchange?


The Data Exchange is the program performance reporting solution developed by the Department of Social Services (DSS) in consultation with service providers and clients, in response to the Australian Government’s commitment to empower civil society organisations.  It was developed to improve the way we collect and use administrative data to improve the wellbeing of people and families in our communities. Reporting via the Data Exchange is now offered as part of the Community Grants Hub and hosted by DSS, and is therefore expected to be extended to other government agencies and jurisdictions over time.

The name ‘Data Exchange’ reflects the two-way partnership of information sharing between funding agencies and service providers, enabling both to find smarter and more efficient ways of improving service delivery and the overall outcomes achieved for individuals, families and their communities.

The data requirements are divided into two parts: a small set of priority requirements that all service providers must report, and a voluntary extended data set that providers can choose to share with the Data Exchange known as the partnership approach.  Participation in the partnership approach is entirely voluntary and in return for their efforts, partnership approach contributors will have access to multiple self-service reports that include data sourced from other government data sets.

Inputting data into the Data Exchange can be done in three different ways: system-to-system transfer, bulk uploads (xml) or direct entry into the web-based portal.

The principles of the Data Exchange

  1. Service providers will spend less time reporting administrative data and more time helping clients.
    The Data Exchange collects far fewer data items than previous performance reporting requirements and provides flexible ways to submit this information through new IT system capabilities.
  2. Data collection will focus on client outcomes.
    Instead of focusing on pure numbers, the Data Exchange has been designed to capture outcome information.  We are mindful of the challenges of measuring client outcomes in ways that are relevant, proportionate and rigorous—recognising that service providers are not funded to be specialist researchers or to spend disproportionate amounts of time measuring client outcomes.
  3. Client personal information and privacy will be protected.
    Administrative data provided by funded services is de-identified using a Statistical Linkage Key (SLK) algorithm so that no personal client information will be accessed by DSS.  This means that funding agencies will never be able to match a submitted data record back to an individual client.  The SLK algorithm will enable client outcome data to be matched over time and across programs—without ever disclosing the identity of the individual client.

Agencies and programs currently using the Data Exchange

Government Agencies using the Data Exchange

  • Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS)
  • Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department (AGD)
  • Commonwealth Department of Health (DoH)
  • State and territory governments and agencies, including those who directly deliver the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)

Programs using the Data Exchange (DSS unless indicated otherwise)

Families and Communities

Adult Specialist Support Services

  • Forced Adoption Support Services
  • National Find and Connect
  • Royal Commission Community-based Support Services
  • Royal Commission Support Services – Northern Territory

Families and Children Programs

  • Children and Parenting Support Services
  • Communities for Children Facilitating Partners (CfC FP)
  • Family and Relationship services
  • Family and Relationship Services -Inter-country Adoption
  • Family and Relationship Services -Specialised Family Violence
  • Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY)
  • Intensive Family Support Services

Family Law Services – Attorney General’s Department:

  • Children’s Contact Services
  • Family Dispute Resolution
  • Regional Family Dispute Resolution
  • Family Law Counselling
  • Family Relationship Advice Line
  • Family Relationship Centres
  • Parenting Orders Program
  • Supporting Children After Separation

Financial Wellbeing and Capability

  • Commonwealth Financial Counselling and Capability
  • Financial Counselling and Financial Capability – Cape York
  • Financial Counselling and Financial Capability – IM Hubs
  • Financial Counselling for Problem Gamblers
  • Financial Counselling Helpline
  • Financial Crisis and Material Aid – Emergency Relief (ER)
  • Financial Resilience

National Initiatives

  • Keeping Women Safe in their Homes
  • Local Support Coordinators
  • National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children
  • Safe Technology for Women

Settlement Services

  • Career Pathways Pilot for Humanitarian Entrants
  • National Community Hubs Program
  • Settlement Grants
  • Youth Transition Support

Young People

  • Reconnect

Disability, Mental Health and Carers

Community Mental Health Program

  • A Better Life (ABle)
  • Carers and Work
  • Family Mental Health Support Services
  • Individual Placement and Support Trial

Disability and Carer Support

  • Consumer Directed Respite Care (CDRC)
  • Carer Information and Support Service (CISS)
  • Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres (CRCC)
  • Counselling, Support, Information and Advocacy (CSIA)
  • Dementia Education and Training for Carers (DETC)
  • National Carer Counselling Program (NCCP)
  • NDIS Appeals (formally known as External Merits Review)
  • Young Carer Bursary Program

National Disability Insurance Scheme Transition

  • Mental Health Respite: Carer Support
  • Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs)

Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) – Department of Health

  • Assistance with Care and Housing (Sub-program)
  • Care Relations and Carer Support (Sub-program)
  • Community and Home Support (Sub-program)