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From our Head of Profession

Edition: 1

Dear Colleagues,

2020 has been an eventful year, to put it mildly. The arrival of COVID-19 has brought into sharp relief the enormous value of high-quality data. Across the Australian Public Service (APS) we have responded to the need for up-to-date data, enabling faster insights to inform policy and service delivery in response to the crisis.

Many people have worked hard to ensure the continued production of data despite widespread disruption to our ways of working, as well as to implement new and effective ways to respond. As we continue to work in this manner, we must ensure everyone adheres to legislative, privacy and security requirements.

To do this successfully, it is critical everyone involved in data related roles has strong data capabilities and the expertise required for now and into the future.

The Data Professional Stream will help to enable this outcome. The ABS is leading this Stream, in collaboration with other agencies, to source, develop and mobilise data expertise across the APS. It will also guide responsible, informed, safe and ethical use of data.

As Head of the Data Profession, I will champion the growth of data capability development and support collaboration and partnerships to enable the delivery of the Stream’s work program. This includes building on the existing strengths and expertise across the APS, the private sector and academia. Another important connection is with the Heads of the Digital and Human Resources Professions. We will share ideas and best practice across the professions.

Before the end of the year, I will deliver the Data Professional Stream’s 2021-23 draft Forward Work Plan to APSC Commissioner Peter Woolcott. This work program will:

  • establish a data professional network – an initiative to support knowledge sharing and collaboration across the APS, and with the private and academic sectors
  • continue to share resources and establish best practices
  • collaborate with senior leaders in the Senior Representative and Senior Working Groups to make the most of a wide range of perspectives
  • align our initiatives with APS-wide strategies and policies on capability development to ensure our program is consistent and sustainable
  • maintain close connections with the other APS Professional Streams.

Some of the opportunities the Data Professional Stream will offer include:

  • a mobile workforce of data professionals
  • access to initiatives that develop, attract and retain data specialists and sophisticated data users and producers
  • learning from data leaders and innovators to generate value from new technologies and access to new data sources
  • exploring career pathways and development structures across agencies, to help people plan for and manage their career development - strengthening the APS as an employer of choice
  • further streamlining the graduate recruitment process to enable more agencies to source and grow their data capability
  • participating in immersive development opportunities such as two-way secondments and building better links between agencies. This year’s ABS-ATO collaboration over Single Touch Payroll has been a great example of the benefits of cross-agency placements and collaboration.

If you are looking to build your data expertise and further establish your data career with the APS, I encourage you to sign up for our newsletter and join our network, if you have not already done so.

It’s an exciting time to be working with data, and we look forward to sharing more development opportunities and information with you in the coming months.

Dr David Gruen

Head of APS Data Professional Stream

Australian Statistician - Australian Bureau of Statistics