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 organisations 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 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 organisations, 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 organisations must report, and a voluntary extended data set that organisations can choose to share with the Data Exchange known as the partnership approach. In return for their efforts, partnership approach organisations 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.
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The principles of the Data Exchange
1. Organisations will spend less time reporting administrative data and more time helping clients.
The Data Exchange collects fewer data items than previous performance reporting requirements and provides flexible ways to submit this information.
2. Data collection will focus on client outcomes.
Instead of focusing solely on numbers (e.g. how many people used a service), the Data Exchange has been designed to capture outcome information which can tell a story about how people use a service and what changes for them by accessing the service.
3. Client personal information and privacy is protected
The Data Exchange will not release the names of individual clients or match a submitted data record back to an individual client. Instead, the client level unit records submitted by the organisation will be de-identified using a statistical linkage key that allows client outcome data to be matched over time and across programs – without disclosing the identity of the individual client.
The Data Exchange Protocols and the Data Exchange website outline how the department and the funding agencies manage personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.
Government Agencies using the Data Exchange for select programs
- Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS)
- Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department (AGD)
- Commonwealth Department of Health (DoH)
- Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs
- NSW Government Department of Communities and Justice
- Tasmanian Government Communities Tasmania