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The Statistical Metadata System: its role in a statistical organization. A presentation of Part A, Chapters 4–5 of the Draft Statistical Metadata Framework. Graeme Oakley Joint UNECE / Eurostat / OECD Work S ession on Statistical Metadata Geneva, 3 – 5 April 2006. A.4 Core Principles.

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the statistical metadata system its role in a statistical organization

The Statistical Metadata System: its role in a statistical organization

A presentation of Part A, Chapters 4–5 of the Draft Statistical Metadata Framework

Graeme Oakley

Joint UNECE / Eurostat / OECDWorkSession on Statistical Metadata

Geneva, 3 – 5 April 2006

a 4 core principles
A.4 Core Principles
  • The current draft has 20 core principles and recommendations for effectively managing the design and implementation of an SMS project.
  • Some of them are:
    • make metadata work an integral part of business processes
    • ensure customers are identified for all metadata processes
principles continued
Principles (continued)
  • make metadata 'active' to greatest extent possible
  • capture metadata at their natural sources
  • single, authoritative source - 'registration authority
  • reuse metadata
  • metadata is readily available and useable in context of client's information need
a 5 corporate governance model
A.5 Corporate Governance Model
  • No prescribed model because of NSO's having different environments eg legislation, culture, rules, levels of autonomy
  • 'Good lessons' for governance wrt metadata
    • involve senior mgt group, incl Chief Statistician
    • clearly understood roles and accountability
    • develop an information management culture
    • utilise existing governance arrangements to reinforce metadata messages
    • an endorsed metadata strategy
    • commit to metadata project or don't let it happen
governance models continued
Governance Models (continued)
  • deal with sceptism about corporately strategic project - managers on all levels to be committed
  • metadata projects often abstract, complex & difficult to manage. Recognise this in project planning
  • importance of good communication with rest of organisation
  • learn from failures and successes in other agencies - benchmarking and cooperation
  • systematic use of metadata systems to capture & organise tacit knowledge of experts - make it available to organisation & external users
  • Human factor is fundamental to successful adoption of metadata systems
    • High & medium importance
      • metadata provision takes time from real job
      • resources needed are underestimated
      • providers of metadata do not directly benefit
      • tradition of informal metadata sharing
      • entering metadata perceived as boring
organisational issues
Organisational issues
  • common understanding of what metadata is and its functions
  • organisation of tasks based on strategy for information mgt within organisation
  • present benefits and proposed solutions in understandable way, linked to business benefits and maintaining continuity of production
  • Degree of central coordination - most NSI's have a central unit with limited tasks. Main tasks are:
      • developing common systems and solutions
      • supervision and training
      • common standards and terminology
case study abs corporate governance
Case Study – ABS Corporate Governance
  • ABS headed by Australian Statistician - a statutory office. Appointed for 7 years, can only be dismissed by Parliament
  • Two subject groups - Economic and Population, with a Services Group (HR and IT) and Methodology and Information Management Divisions
  • ABS corporate governance arrangements aim for transparency in decision making and operation, accountability to stakeholders
case study continued
Case Study (continued)
  • Senior Management Committees
    • ABS Division Heads Committee - includes Chief Statistician, meets weekly, review and approve policy related to data and metadata mgt, approves specific projects related to metadata infrastructure, all funding proposal
    • Information Resources Management Committee - as above minus Statistician plus heads of IT branchs; focus on technology directions including data and metadata mgt

Organisational Structure

Dennis Trewin

Australian Statistician

Jonathan Palmer

Deputy Australian Statistician


Peter Harper

Deputy Australian Statistician


Susan Linacre

Deputy Australian Statistician


Denis Farrell

First Assistant Statistician

Economic Accounts Division

First Assistant Statistician

Technology Services Division

First Assistant Statistician

Corporate Services Division

Barbara Dunlop

First Assistant Statistician

Social and Labour Division

Siu-Ming Tam

First Assistant Statistician

Information Management Division

Geoff Lee

First Assistant Statistician

Methodology Division

+ 8 Regional Offices: NSW, VIc, Qld, SA, WA, Tas, NT, ACT

case study continued11
Case Study (continued)
  • Standing Committees - each subject group has strategy committee with focus on their part of the business; includes development of metadata content and standards. Articulate business drivers for data and metadata mgt
  • Other Governance
    • Project Boards - each major project
    • Architecture Panels - best technical solution
    • Line Management - responsibility and accountability clear for each organisational unit