ADEPT aims to enable and encourage the pragmatic exchange of data between agencies in the public interest, within existing administrative and legislative frameworks and without the imposition of investment in new systems or technological solutions. ADEPT does not attempt to address issues of technical infrastructure or the highly specialised processes involved in matching, linking and integrating data, but acknowledges these as critically important elements of an effective and secure data exchange process.
Secure Transfer of Files
Safeguarded file transfer is an important element of efficient data exchange. It is also an essential component of contemporary data linkage and integration processes involving the transfer of personally identifiable data about individuals and individual organisations. Secure file transfer provides a transparent audit trail for source agencies, requesting agencies and administrators.
The national Population Health Research Network (PHRN) provides a secure file transfer service, offered free of charge to all PHRN partners (including Tasmania) and their stakeholders. The PHRN’s Secure Unified File Exchange (SUFEX) is hosted by the national node of the network within Curtin University in Western Australia. The only software required to access SUFEX is a standard web browser. Use of the service requires little, if any, local IT support. Features include automatic file encryption and decryption.
Agencies participating in the exchange of data must carefully consider and select file transfer mechanisms appropriate to the level of risk and security demanded by the type and format of data to be exchanged.
High Risk Project Management
All high-risk data matching, linkage and integration projects must be managed by an individual or individuals with ultimate accountability for the sound conduct of the relevant project. All projects that involve personally identifying or sensitive information about individuals are classified as high-risk.
At a national level, there are three Accredited Integrating Authorities for the management of data integration projects involving Commonwealth data: the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). These organisations oversee high-risk data integration projects from start to finish, potentially working with a network of agencies throughout the process. This may include engaging another agency to undertake the actual data linkage or support the dissemination of data.
Agencies must ensure appropriate levels of governance are in place for all Tasmanian Government data exchange projects, including the appointment of an individual or individuals with skills and knowledge proportionate to the assessed level of project risk. More detail is provided in ADEPT Tools.