Specialist Homelessness Services Collection Data Quality Statement 2014-15
Identifying and definitional attributes
|Metadata item type:||Quality Statement|
|Quality statement summary:|
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government under the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987 to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare. It is an independent corporate Commonwealth entity established in 1987, governed by a management Board, and accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Health portfolio.
The AIHW aims to provide authoritative information and statistics to promote better health and wellbeing. The Institute collects and reports information on a wide range of topics and issues, ranging from health and welfare expenditure, hospitals, disease and injury, and mental health, to ageing, homelessness, disability and child protection.
The Institute also plays a role in developing and maintaining national metadata standards. This work contributes to improving the quality and consistency of national health and welfare statistics. The Institute works closely with governments and non-government organisations to achieve greater adherence to these standards in administrative data collections to promote national consistency and comparability of data and reporting.
One of the main functions of the AIHW is to work with the states and territories to improve the quality of administrative data and, where possible, to compile national datasets based on data from each jurisdiction, to analyse these datasets and disseminate information and statistics.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987, in conjunction with compliance to the Privacy Act 1988, ensures that the data collections managed by the AIHW are kept securely and under the strictest conditions with respect to privacy and confidentiality.
For further information see the AIHW website www.aihw.gov.au.
The SHSC was developed by AIHW in conjunction with the states and territories and is administered by the AIHW. All agencies that receive funding under the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) or the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) to provide specialist homelessness services are in scope for the SHSC, but only those expected to provide data are covered. Data are collected monthly from agencies participating in the collection.
The SHSC began collecting data from 1 July 2011. The SHSC collects information from all participating agencies every month. Data collected is regularly loaded to a Master Database. Once sufficient data is received, validated ‘snapshots’ are created at particular points in time from this Master Database for reporting purposes. The 2014–15 snapshot contains data submitted to the AIHW for the July 2014 to June 2015 collection months, using responses received and validated as at 13 August 2015. Data for 2014-15 will be first published in the Specialist Homelessness Services Annual Web Report in December 2015.
Results are published on the AIHW website. Data not available online or in reports can be requested via the online customised data request system: https://datarequest.aihw.gov.au; or obtained from the Digital and Media Communications Unit on (02) 6244 1026 or via email to [email protected]. Data requests are charged on a cost-recovery basis.
Information on the development of the SHSC, definitions and concepts, and collection materials and processes can be found on the AIHW website: www.aihw.gov.au. Information on definitions, concepts and classifications can also be found in the SHSC’s collection manual (AIHW 2013).
Scope and coverage―clients
Nationally, a small number of service providers are excluded from the collection's coverage for a number of reasons including that agencies do not see clients directly but support other SHS agencies (for example, property maintenance), levels of funding are such that reporting is impracticable, or agencies whose method of service delivery does not allow for case management (such as soup kitchens).
Potential sources of error
As with all data collections, the SHSC estimates are subject to errors. These can arise from data coding and processing errors, inaccurate data, or missing data. Reported findings are based on data reported by agency workers.
The AIHW receives data from specialist homelessness agencies every month. These data go through two processes of data validation (error checking). Firstly, data validation is incorporated into the client management systems (CMSs) most agencies use to record their data. Secondly, data are submitted through the AIHW online reporting web-portal, Specialist Homelessness Online Reporting (SHOR). SHOR completes a more thorough data validation and reports (to staff of the homelessness agency) any errors that need correcting before data can be accepted.
Of all the agencies expected to participate for at least one month in the collection, 97.9 per cent submitted information for each collection month where they were expected to participate, 1.8 per cent provided data for some but not all months where data was expected, and 0.3 per cent failed to provide data for any month.
Statistical Linkage Key (SLK) validity
An individual client may seek or receive support on more than one occasion—either from the same agency or from a different agency. Data from individual clients who presented at different agencies and/or at different times is matched based on a SLK which allows client level data to be created. The SLK is constructed from information about the client’s date of birth, sex and an alphacode based on selected letters of their name.
In many support periods, in 2014–15, valid responses were not recorded for all questions—invalid responses were recorded, ‘don’t know’ was selected, or no response was recorded. Support periods with invalid/’don’t know’/missing responses were retained in the collection and, no attempt was made to deduce or impute the true value of invalid/’don’t know’/missing responses.
During the 2014-15 reporting period, changes were made to the CMS to prompt data providers to report mandatory data items. This led to a substantial improvement to data quality, in particular a decline in the number of non-response or 'missing' values for those items.
An imputation strategy is used to correct for two types of non-sampling error: agency non-response and data error in the SLK data item, which is used to link information about individual clients together to provide a complete picture for that client.
The SHSC replaces the SAAP NDC, which began in 1996. The SHSC differs from the SAAP NDC in many respects. The major definitional differences between SAAP and SHSC relate to the capture of information about children and support. In the SAAP NDC, children who accompanied a parent or guardian were counted as accompanying children (with only limited information collected); in the SHSC, children are included as clients (in their own right) if they directly receive a service. In SAAP, support was considered to entail generally 1 hour or more of a worker’s time; in the SHSC no time-related condition exists.
Changes in SHSC data over time may be influenced by changes in underlying jurisdiction policies, programs or systems. These changes might affect the service footprint, the characteristics of priority clients, or how services work together to respond to client needs.
In 2014-15, changes occurred in the way agencies are required to report 'main reason' and 'reasons for seeking assistance'. In addition to improvements in the CMS for these data items, wording providing a specific example of housing crisis was removed from the section relating to reason for seeking assistance in the CMS. Comparisons over time should be made with caution as the reporting of housing crisis, financial difficulties and housing affordability stress may be inconsistent between agencies. These changes in agency reporting were evident in the data from all states and territories.
Data submitted by NSW agencies to the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection were impacted by a major transition period for NSW Specialist Homelessness Services in 2014-15. For example, reporting of the number of days of support and accommodation nights have been largely affected by this transition. The implementation of new contractual arrangements affected the continuity of agency submissions and the completeness of the NSW Specialist Homelessness Establishment Database used to impute missing agency data. Accordingly NSW data for 2014-15 should be used with caution when making comparisons with past years' figures for NSW or with data for other states and territories.
Also in 2014-15, QLD introduced a new Homelessness Information Platform (QHIP), a government-funded assessment and referral tool. The introduction of this tool has affected a number of SHSC concepts and in particular may have led to a decline in the reported number of individuals leaving a service unassisted.
Source and reference attributes
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
|Steward:||Australian Institute of Health and Welfare|
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2015). Specialist Homelessness Services 2014-15. Cat. no. HOU XXX. Canberra: AIHW.
|Related metadata references:|
Supersedes Specialist Homelessness Services Collection Data Quality Statement 2013-14
Has been superseded by Specialist Homelessness Services Collection, 2015–16; Quality Statement
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