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The 1996-1999 Corporate Plan is a clear and concise statement of the mission, values, objectives and strategies of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The Institute's functions and powers are set out in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987. These powers are enabling rather than giving clear operating guidance to the Institute. The Corporate Plan is designed to put the powers and functions in the context of current needs for health and welfare information and reflect current human and financial resources available to the Institute.

Increasing clarity in mission and values is essential as the Institute grows and matures, and notably because it now attracts significant amounts of contract funding. Potential tensions between the needs of funders and the Institute's essential objectivity and independence, between the needs of information users, data subjects and data providers and between competing priorities within the Institute can be addressed against the backdrop of the plan.

The plan has been endorsed by the Institute's Board, following detailed input from Board members on an earlier draft. That draft in turn developed from a conference of all senior staff of the Institute and its collaborating units early in 1996 which focused on how the Institute could best respond to the Australian health and welfare priorities in the later 1990s. I want to thank all Board members and staff who took part in this process, as well as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Family Services, Andrew Podger, who joined the senior staff conference early in his role as Secretary to present his views on the role of the Institute.

The Corporate Plan will not sit idly on a shelf until 1999. The Institute's Work Program will be systematically reviewed against the plan within the first year of its life, first to remove any items that are not relevant to, or have lesser priority in the context of, the plan, and second to ensure all strategies in the plan are receiving attention in the Work Program. The results of this review will be considered by the Board as soon as feasible.

I am confident that the Institute's structures and processes are appropriate to the Corporate Plan, so all efforts can be immediately applied to its implementation. I commend the plan to all clients, funders and staff of the Institute and its collaborating units. Any feedback will be welcomed, and I envisage the plan will be fully reviewed in early 1999.

Richard Madden


We inform community discussion and decision making through national leadership in the development and provision of authoritative and timely information and analysis on the health and welfare of Australians.


The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987 specifies that the scope of the Institute's work covers data on the health of Australians and on their health and welfare services, including housing assistance.

Information on the broader concept of wellbeing comes from many sources, including the Institute and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


We contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of Australians by observing these values in all our work:


  • We maintain impartiality and objectivity in the analysis, preparation and presentation of information.
  • We make our findings and methods accessible to all.


  • We gather, analyse and disseminate information according to statistical and ethical standards.


  • We ensure the confidentiality of information provided to us.
  • We respect the privacy and sensitivity of individuals and groups.


  • We provide accessible health and welfare information for all Australians.
  • We make information available in a timely manner, in forms and styles relevant to our clients' needs.


  • We ensure that our work is in accordance with our mission and values regardless of the funding source.

Client focus

  • To ensure the relevance of our work, we actively seek and are guided by the needs and views of our clients.


  • We respect each other and promote each other's creativity, expertise and wellbeing.


To be the leading agency in Australia in coordinating, developing, collecting where appropriate, and analysing data, and disseminating accurate, consistent and timely information and statistics, on the health of Australians and their health and welfare services.


Client focus

  • We will report to the Minister and Parliament biennially on Australia's health and Australia's welfare, both to inform community discussion and policy debate and to focus on emerging issues.
  • We recognise the importance of the Institute as an 'honest broker' for information among all the parties in the health and community services sector, and will work to preserve and strengthen this role.
  • As an active participant in the reform agenda of the Council of Australian Governments, we will work with Commonwealth and State and Territory agencies to develop and collect consistent national data on Australia's health and welfare services.
  • We will work to develop a comprehensive relationship with the Department of Health and Family Services to avoid duplication, to identify the Department's priority information needs, and to agree on the resources required to meet these needs cost-effectively; where the Department administers services, we will assist in developing and collecting national data.
  • We will cooperate with relevant non-government organisations and private service providers.
  • In conjunction with relevant stakeholders, we will clarify our role in the collection and analysis of data on long term housing assistance in light of current and future administrative arrangements at Commonwealth and State and Territory levels.
  • We will identify and measure the extent of inequalities in the health of Australians and in their access to and use of health and welfare services.

Other links

  • We will focus on specific topics through support for collaborating units in other organisations where such collaboration is relevant, efficient and builds on a basis of expertise in the relevant field.
  • We will establish and maintain relationships with key stakeholders and seek close relationships with appropriate peak bodies.
  • We will actively support the National Health Information Management Group to establish national health information priorities and to achieve consistent national health information.
  • We will actively seek to implement a National Community Services Information Agreement as a basis for development of consistent national information on welfare services.
  • We recognise the central role of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in collecting population census and survey data on health and welfare, in vital statistics and in demography, and will cooperate closely with the ABS to ensure comprehensive health and welfare information is available through our joint efforts.
  • We will develop links with bodies that have charters similar to the Institute's in countries in the Asia Pacific region and in relevant OECD countries, to gather comparative data, to improve international data comparability and to seek international best practice.


To ensure access to the Institute's information through provision of comprehensive, timely and authoritative output.


Product focus

  • We will critically review and seek user feedback on the content, timeliness and usefulness of our products.
  • We will debate and critically review the 'value-added' role of the Institute by examining the content of its products in relation to:
    • descriptive versus analytical content; and
    • the inclusion of time series and projections.
  • We will ensure that the content of the Institute's products leads and informs key debates.
  • We will support, develop, use and publish national and international health and welfare information models, classifications and definitions.

Product range

  • We will seek to promote both printed output and electronic release.
  • We will seek a product mix which enhances the accessibility of Institute information and analysis.
  • We will recognise that people's skills and competencies are a marketable asset and will make them available for consultancy work where this is compatible with the Institute's work program.
  • We will refine and develop the National Health Information Model.
  • With the advice of the AIHW Health Ethics Committee, we will develop clear policies for release of data to third parties.

Enhancing products

  • We will explore opportunities for external collaboration, including using provider expertise to develop Institute products.
  • We will enhance Institute products by recognising the links between health and welfare information.
  • We will explore opportunities to promote data linkage consistent with privacy considerations.


  • We will disseminate our products as widely as possible, especially through the media and library system.
  • We will work with relevant government agencies and the commercial sector to market Institute products.
  • We will determine and charge realistic prices for Institute products.


To develop continuing relationships with data providers that result in efficient provision of timely, high quality data and related material in mutually acceptable forms.


Minimise reporting load

  • We will use advances in technology to ensure all data gathering and transmission is as efficient as possible.
  • We will vigorously pursue the avoidance of duplication of effort between agencies in data collection.
  • We will consult with providers and users to improve legislative arrangements, working arrangements, and methodologies surrounding our data collection activities, and, as far as possible, we will maintain stability in our data requests.

Working relationships

  • We will communicate with data providers at all levels, and we will build strong networks with them.
  • We will negotiate at sufficiently high levels to ensure data supply is given necessary priority by data providers.
  • We will give and receive feedback on data collection and quality issues.
  • We will promote and use national statistical management structures to underpin data collection in all fields.
  • We will initiate early involvement to influence the health and welfare data collection activities of other bodies.

Timeliness and security

  • We will pursue best practice in data collection and management to minimise reporting time.
  • We will collaborate with providers to:
    • identify, solve and market methods of streamlining collection and data transfer activities; and
    • maintain high-level data security practices and procedures.
  • We will incorporate provider requirements in data security procedures for individual data sets.


To have an equitable, flexible and supportive work environment which values, empowers and develops staff.



  • We will attract, develop and challenge excellent staff.
  • We will aim to balance short- and long-term staff appointments to build and retain skills and expertise while maintaining the flexibility to deal with variability in the work program.
  • We will seek an appropriate balance between senior and other positions and will continue our commitment to EEO principles and practices.
  • We will consider the needs of the staff of collaborating units in our personnel strategies and include them in Institute consultative and communications processes.

Working arrangements

  • We will create a flexible, equitable and supportive work environment using innovative and creative personnel policies and practices.
  • We will develop our consultation processes through a Joint Consultative Council.
  • To retain talented and committed staff, and recognise changing work and family structures, we will encourage:
    • job rotation and exchange especially with Commonwealth and State and Territory housing and welfare services agencies;
    • further studies including higher degrees;
    • opportunities for home-based work;
    • working arrangements to meet family needs; and
    • use of part-time work.
  • We will recognise interdependency in the work of units within the Institute by encouraging an internal client focus.

Training and development

  • We will develop training programs which take into account the strategic directions of the workplace as well as individual staff development needs.
  • We will provide development opportunities for junior as well as senior staff, including contact with users of Institute information.
  • We will incorporate realistic estimates and allowances for staff training and development into work programs.


To continue to upgrade the efficiency of our operations through improved arrangements with data providers, staff skills and information technology.


Improved processes

  • We will encourage development of new, improved ways of performing our work.
  • We will encourage the development of workplace teams to improve processes.
  • We will develop agreed protocols for data provision, including clear documentation on coding procedures and counting rules, and for data exchange standards.
  • We will investigate options for using sample-based data collection and analysis and estimation procedures.
  • We will further investigate options for streamlining production and release of our published output.
  • We will implement a structured approach to project planning.
  • We will aim to meet best practice in financial management and audit.

Information Technology

  • We will actively participate in developing new government information technology (IT) policy.
  • We will respond strategically to new government IT policy to optimise our IT capacity and ensure our confidentiality requirements are met.
  • As part of our IT strategy, we will investigate links with other agencies or private firms on a commercial basis.
  • We will identify and exploit useful emerging technology.
  • We will advise collaborating units on effective IT strategies that are consistent with Institute requirements.

Profile and position

To be the national authority on information about health and health and welfare services, and to be recognised as such by all levels of government and the wider community.



  • We will effectively promote the Institute's mission and values.
  • We will actively use the Internet and other electronic means to present the Institute and its products.
  • We will make strategic use of the media.
  • We will establish a common look and feel for Institute products, and ensure proper credit to the Institute inthe use of our products by others.
  • We will establish means of involving a wide group of users in presentations and discussions of Institute work and emerging information priorities.
  • We will make best use of the range of representation on the Board.


  • We will continue to take an active role in the coordination and development of national health and welfare information.
  • We will establish and enhance consultative links with State and Territory health and welfare agencies, the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council and the Standing Committee of Community Services and Income Security Administrators.
  • We will continue to enhance collaborative arrangements with the Department of Health and Family Services, the Department of Social Security and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  • We will consolidate the Institute's role as provider of critical information and advice to the Commonwealth Grants Commission and relevant Council of Australian Governments discussions.