26 September 2023

Census planners brought to their senses

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Plans being made for the national Census in 2021 has been declared ‘partly effective’ by the Australian National Audit office following a performance audit.

In his report Planning for the 2021 Census, Auditor-General Grant Hehir comes to the conclusion that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which has the task of conducting the census, “has been partly effective in addressing key Census risks, implementing past Census recommendations and ensuring timely delivery of the 2021 Census.”

In summary, Mr Hehir says ABS’s planning for the 2021 Census is “partly effective.”

Mr Hehir said he measured whether the ABS had established appropriate oversight frameworks for the Census; if it was taking appropriate steps developing IT systems for the Census; and whether it was addressing key Census risks and implementing Census recommendations.

“The ABS has established largely appropriate planning and governance arrangements for the Census,” Mr Hehir said, “(but) the risk framework is compromised by weaknesses in the assurance arrangements.”

“The ABS has not put in place arrangements to ensure that improvements to its architecture framework, change management processes and cyber security measures will be implemented ahead of the 2021 Census.”

Mr Hehir made seven recommendations including the ABS implement risk controls and regularly and consistently monitor their effectiveness.

The Auditor-General’s online report can be accessed at this PS News link and his 78-page printed report at this link.

The audit team was David Monk, Edwin Apoderado, Amanda Reynolds, Sonya Carter, David Willis, William Richards, Zhiying Wen, Danielle Page, Jason Ralstonm, Lesa Craswell and Mark Rodrigues.

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