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30 years of the Institute!

Hi everyone, and welcome to 30 years of the Institute!

Having joined the Institute only a year ago, I have repeatedly found two things to be clearly evident. The first is what a wonderful organisation it is to work in. Staff want to be here and recognise the valuable role they play. The second is how well respected, valued and trusted the Institute is. We also have a family of friends of the Institute who believe in what we do and are willing to support us as we move ahead.

Nowhere was this demonstrated more than in the lead-up to my starting here in June 2016. Besides the great support given to me by Andrew Kettle, the acting Director, I received emails and text messages from the four Directors preceding Andrew.

This warm and generous support, born of some 20 years of experience and passion in driving an agenda of data and analysis, is greatly appreciated, with everyone offering me assistance and ‘a chat’ as I moved into the role.

I note that in Issue no. 22 of Access, in 2012, the then Director, David Kalisch, commented on the honour of being a custodian of the Institute’s history and its destiny. I couldn’t agree more.

Our role has always been to develop authoritative statistics and information to service the community, governments and policy makers. That function is still the same today, the only change being that we have sharpened our view of our role. We now we have a purpose that states:

‘Stronger evidence, better decisions, improved health and welfare’.

We have consistently applied ourselves to providing independent and rigorous data, reports and analyses, which have helped to guide decision makers over 3 decades. Now, we are embarking on a new phase of our journey—taking on the challenge to respond to the digital era and to manage quantities of data that grow exponentially year after year. We need to move beyond the ‘Big Data’ focus and embrace our role as a leader in ‘Smart Data’.

We must continue to develop and enhance our capabilities to align with the new opportunities becoming available to us. We need to think and work as a single entity—as ‘One Institute’—and show our stakeholders and partners that it is our expert capability that will continue to deliver the evidence that enables others to achieve their strategic goals through better decisions. I see this as an exciting time for us as an agency. As well as having a new structure from 1 July, we have our new Strategic Directions and new corporate branding and we are embarking on a 2-year improvement plan to further enhance our capability.

So, as we recognise the milestone of 30 years, I think the most important thing to highlight is our people—highly educated, highly skilled, and highly committed. From our longest serving staff member Joanne Maples (who, while on leave preparing for a well-earned retirement, is still on staff after starting with us in 1987) to our newest staff who will join us in 2017. I am proud and honoured to help lead a team that, while small, is passionate and dedicated about doing work that really makes a difference to the lives of all Australians.

Barry Sandison

AIHW, Director (CEO)

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