Terms of Reference and High Priority Issues for the Strategic Cross-Sectoral Data Committee for Early Childhood, Education and Training (SCDC)
High priority issues for the SCDC
The Strategic Cross-sectoral Data Committee (SCDC) for early childhood, education and training contributes to the advancement of the evidence base for policy and public accountability by fostering the development of high quality, relevant and coherent statistics across all education sectors in order to facilitate the measurement of learning over the life-course through data sharing and data integration.
The SCDC for early childhood, education and training will be responsible for directing a program of work to ensure that there are robust data sets capable of allowing comprehensive reporting on the delivery of the education and training outcomes, indicators and measures contained in the National Agreements, National Partnerships and Implementation Plans under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations. The SCDC will work closely with the COAG Reform Council and the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision in formulating this program of work.
The SCDC will support a major program of statistical development including the development of common data standards, definitions and metadata across the early childhood, education and training sectors. It will specify enduring cross-sectoral data sets and support a data sharing environment that allows for the creation of such data sets.
The SCDC makes decisions relevant to its responsibilities on matters such as data standards, data collections and data collection procedures across the education and training sector including early childhood, schooling, training and higher education.
All decisions of the SCDC must be ratified by the National Senior Officials Committee (NSOC) and the Australian Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Senior Officials Committee (AEEYSOC) within a work program agreed by the Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (SCOTESE) and the Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC) and require the agreement of the Australian Statistician where such decisions may impact on the work of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Any new subcommittees established to manage elements of the SCDC work program will have well defined outputs and an appropriate limited time horizon.
The SCDC will comprise senior officials, with a suitable balance across levels of government, jurisdictions, education sectors and relevant information agencies. Membership will include:
· a representative from NSOC
· a representative from AEEYSOC
· a representative from the ABS
· a representative of Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR)
· representatives from the major sectoral data agencies Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA), National Centre of Vocational Education Research (NCVER), Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW)
· the chairs of related data committees (such as the Principal Committee on Data and Performance Measurement)
· Chair, Learner Identity Management Subgroup.
The Productivity Commission and COAG Reform Council will be invited as observers to the SCDC.
Chairs of current standing subcommittees of the Productivity Data Development Group (PDDG), which would become subgroups of the SCDC (such as the PDDG-Unique Student Identifier subgroup)
The SCDC will have appropriate powers to initiate projects and establish appropriate Secretariat support.
The SCDC will establish a set of guiding principles for all major national statistical developments across the education and training spectrum which it initiates, including those that arise from national reporting initiatives that are complementary to the work programs in the ABS and sectoral agencies, along with the sector specific governing bodies and their associated work programs. The SCDC must recognise the authority of those sector specific governing bodies. In support of this, the SCDC will undertake a stocktake of existing sectoral data activities to assist the development of a work program that complements the gains in the sectors, and does not impede or override work within sectors.
With the objective of continuing collaboration and coordination across education and training and related statistics, the SCDC will provide advice to Ministers via AEEYSOC and NSOC on cross sectoral education and training data issues such as standards, consistency, collaboration, efficiency and resource use.
The SCDC will develop a work program across the field of education and training information and statistics in particular as they relate to areas such as social inclusion and Indigenous priorities. The SCDC will develop this program of work in consultation with all relevant parties to:
- articulate data development priorities and resource implications;
- set out the extent of data development work required to address data gaps and shortcomings;
- provide options for a staged approach to undertaking data development work based on policy priorities and what is possible technically;
- minimise duplication, manage work requirements efficiently and ensure the most effective use of existing data sources and collection; and
- ensure the work program focuses on cross sectoral outcomes and benefits.
In respect to national reporting on early childhood, education and training under COAG inter-governmental agreements, the SCDC itself will not house data, but will address all relevant data sources, including survey and administrative, and identify:
- cross-sectoral data collection and data quality requirements for the performance indicators in the National Agreements and National Partnership proposals;
- gaps or shortcomings in the availability or usefulness of data for measuring performance indicators; and
- directions in further data development for COAG purposes and options for alternative or additional indicators or measures.
In respect to the Productivity Data Development Group (PDDG) the SCDC will ensure that it gives full weight to the work plan of PDDG in its own work plan, and that it gives full support to the existing PDDG sub groups on early childhood and the unique student identifier.
In the interests of clarity and transparency, the Secretariat will prepare a work plan each year that will include a fully costed proposal in relation to each of the major statistical development projects initiated by the SCDC which are planned to be undertaken during the following twelve months identifying:
- which body is to undertake the work and the roles and responsibilities of all relevant parties (e.g. for funding, data collection, survey management or quality control);
- proposed funding sources; and
- all major categories of cost (both one-off development costs and ongoing operating costs).
The SCDC will advise Ministers on these matters through NSOC and AEEYSOC, taking into account the established work plans and priorities of those Committees. NSOC and AEEYSOC may task the SCDC with any matter within its terms of reference at any time.
The SCDC will be reviewed within three years of establishment, to consider achievement against the stated aim and purpose. The suitability of the constitution of the SCDC in line with the aim and activities would be considered in this review.
High priority issues for the SCDC
Within the first year of operation, the SCDC will develop a work program in support of statistical development, with the overarching aim of ensuring lasting improvements to the quality of the early childhood, education and training national statistics available for policy and public accountability purposes. The work program will be circulated through NSOC and AEEYSOC for endorsement.
The SCDC will assume responsibility for a program of work designed to support integrated, enduring, cross sectoral data enabling a longitudinal and outcomes focussed view of Australian education and training data.
The work program will oversight a set of activities that support greater consistency and coherence across the range of data on the education and training sectors. The SCDC will seek to minimise duplication in data activities, and thereby minimise burden on the jurisdictions and Commonwealth.
Download the PDF of the Terms of Reference