Frameworks are broad groupings of indicators associated with general topics. While an indicator might measure the proportion of Australians accessing mental health care each year, and an indicator set may be collecting information about the key performance indicators for Australian mental health services, a framework will be considering all mental health issues across Australia. So a framework is a conceptual and general indicator grouping.

The goal of a framework is to look at all aspects of a broad issue, such as Indigenous health, life satisfaction, or environmental factors in the health of Australians, and to provide information which enables improvement in these systems. If we don't know what is happening in various health and welfare settings, and not recording it and analysing it, any issues will remain invisible. Frameworks help these systems to be able to improve.