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Find out about the Human Services Dataset and our Partnerships

  • Background

    Tune Review – Their Futures Matter Reform

    The 2015 Independent Review of Out of Home Care, led by David Tune AO PSM, examined the state of Out of Home Care in NSW.

    The review outlined a vision for a whole-of-system reform to deliver improved outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families. This recommendation was approved by Cabinet in August 2016 and led to the establishment of the Their Futures Matter (TFM) reform.

    The TFM Reform involved using data and evidence to understand, prioritise and evaluate support for children, young people and families in NSW with the highest needs. The Project is about:

    • Bringing together a large volume of data from NSW Government agencies about service use
    • De-identifying and analysing the data to understand which population groups are most at risk of poor outcomes
    • Designing or enhancing support for these priority groups in collaboration with agency partners.

    The work of the TFM reform was based on data and evidence. Pivotal to the reform was the underpinning dataset, known as the Human Services Dataset (HSDS). The HSDS brings together 27 years of data and over seven million records about children, young people and families, from across government. These include child protection, housing, justice, health and mental health, and education.

    Even though the TFM reform has formally ended, there are plans for the HSDS to be increasingly accessed, used and shared in the future.

  • About the Human Services Dataset

    The Human Services Dataset (HSDS) has been created by de-identifying and combining data collected through the administration of different NSW Government services and some Commonwealth Government supports (i.e. welfare and medical benefits). Information like names, dates of birth and addresses are removed to ensure the data do not identify individuals and privacy is protected. Therefore, the integrated dataset contains completely anonymous records.

    The HSDS is unprecedented in scale in NSW, bringing together 27 years of data and over seven million records about children, young people and families, from across government. The records contain de-identified information from all NSW residents born on or after 1 January 1990 (the Primary Cohort) and their relatives (i.e. family members, guardians and carers – the Secondary Cohort).

    The data is protected by laws and measures that guard privacy and keep the data secure, including a comprehensive framework of security controls and standards. The HSDS is stored securely with the NSW Data Analytics Centre and is accessible to approved users only.

    The service streams, outcomes and life events included in the HSDS are as follows:

    Child protection

    • Concern reports
    • Risk of Significant Harm (ROSH) reports
    • Safety Assessment, Risk Assessment and Risk Reassessment (SARA) and primary issue given as reason for concern report
    • Out of Home Care placements and type
    • Restoration


    • Custody
    • Community supervision
    • Court finalisations
    • Cautions
    • Youth conferences
    • Legal Aid.


    • Social housing tenancies and waitlist
    • Private rental assistance
    • Homelessness services


    • Public hospital admissions
    • Private hospital admissions
    • Emergency department presentations
    • Ambulance patient contact events
    • Childbirth
    • Opiate treatment program.


    • National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) year 3 and year 7 results
    • Attendance, enrolment and suspension
    • HSC completion
    • Unexpected government school moves
    • Resource Allocation Model equity loadings.

    Parental risk indicators

    • Parent in custody
    • Parent interaction with justice
    • Proven alcohol and other drugs related offence or hospital admission
    • Proven domestic violence related offence or victim of domestic violence
    • Treatment for mental health in NSW hospital or ambulatory services.

    Mental health

    • Hospital admission for mental health
    • NSW Ambulatory mental health.

    Commonwealth services

    • Welfare payments
    • Medical Benefits Scheme
    • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
    • Income and taxation
    • Census data.

    Alcohol and other drugs

    • Hospital admission for alcohol and other drugs
    • Proven alcohol and other drug offences.
  • Key entities

    The key entities in relation to the Human Services Dataset (HSDS) are:

    • NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) – The Secretary of DCJ serves as the Chair of the Stronger Communities Data Partnership and has overriding custodianship, control and responsibility for data that enters the HSDS. The Data Custodian is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Public Interest Direction and Health Public Interest Direction (PIDs); responding to data breaches and notifying the NSW Privacy Commissioner where appropriate. Presently the Secretary’s role as Data Custodian has been delegated to the Deputy Secretary, Strategy, Policy and Commissioning.
    • Stronger Communities Data Partnership (SCDP) – Provides governance over the HSDS in accordance with legislative and the requirements of the PIDs.
    • Human Services Dataset Governance Advisory Committee (HSDGAC) – Advises Family and Community Services Insights Analysis and Research (FACSIAR) and the Data Custodian on the use, refresh and expansion of data for the HSDS, as well as security issues, privacy requirements, project proposals and ethics processes relating to the data.
    • Project Team (formerly the Stronger Communities Investment Unit, now FACSIAR) – The unit is responsible for defining data collection and use parameters, project management, briefing to the HSDGAC and the SCDP, and supporting the Data Custodian in providing privacy and data governance for the HSDS.
    • Data Partners – Departments and agencies that provide data for the project, identify data limitations, process data, provide resources, and receive aggregated data results for the purposes of program development. The Data Partners include:
      • Department of Communities and Justice, including the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research and Youth Justice NSW
      • NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages
      • Legal Aid NSW
      • NSW Police Force
      • Ministry of Health
      • Department of Education
      • NSW Education Standards Authority
      • Revenue NSW.
    • Centre for Health Record Linkage (CHeReL) – the Data Linkage Centre, responsible for data linkage for the Project.
    • NSW Data Analytics Centres (DAC) – the Data Host

    DCJ and its contracted entities must comply with specific privacy, data sharing and records legislation, and with relevant NSW Government frameworks and policies.

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Last updated: 03 Sep 2021