41 The State Services Commission (SSC) will be collecting human resource information from departments on a unit record basis from next year. This means that instead of providing aggregate (or summary) survey returns, departments will extract anonymous data on each employee directly from their payroll systems. This data will be transferred electronically to the SSC. Having a unit record collection will vastly increase the range of analyses as all cross tabulations of the unit level data will be available, rather than just those that are specified in the current summary tables. It will also substantially reduce the compliance costs for departments by removing the need to summarise data before submitting it. This reduction in compliance costs has been demonstrated in a pilot unit record collection in 1998 that involved data from five departments. The Crown Law Office has provided a legal opinion that confirms that the new collection complies with the provisions of the Privacy Act 1993, to the extent that they are applicable.
42 The unit record collection will also enable the inclusion of an occupation variable, which will increase the ability of the SSC to provide a risk-based assessment of HR capability in individual departments and to benchmark HR data. The inclusion of other variables will be considered on a case by case basis that weighs up the relevant costs and benefits.
43 For the June 2000 collection, a final aggregate survey will also be carried out to ensure data integrity and a robust transition to the new method.
Strategic Development Branch State Services Commission