Integrating authorities need to have the technical infrastructure and relevant expertise to undertake data integration, as well as maintaining the physical and technical data security appropriate for the risk level of the project.
In order to fulfil these responsibilities, an integrating authority is required to:
- have a high level of relevant expertise, including a strong understanding of, and ability to, maintain security. For example, the integrating authority should have an appropriate level of building security, security clearances for staff and mechanisms to monitor the compliance of data users;
- have the technical infrastructure necessary to undertake data integration projects in terms of data security and processing and storage capacity of information technology systems;
- demonstrate a consistently high standard of behaviour by all employees based on a strong culture and set of values. This includes promoting a culture and values that support the use of data as a strategic resource; and
- negotiate and implement formal agreement(s) with data custodians and data users to control and manage risk appropriate to the level of risk associated with the project.
The Governance and Institutional Arrangements for Data Integration Involving Commonwealth Data for Statistical and Research Purposes, require that high risk data integration projects be undertaken by an accredited Integrating Authority which must demonstrate that it has the technical infrastructure and expertise to manage high risk projects as one of the accreditation criteria.
The data linking information series, produced to accompany this guide, gives an overview of some of the technical issues involved in linking. Examples of these issues include: data cleaning and standardising; editing; use of statistical linkage keys; and assessing the quality of the linkage. The confidentiality information series, also produced to accompany this guide, gives an overview of some of the technical issues involved in confidentialising an integrated dataset, once the data sources have been merged.
For some helpful background resources see: Technical resources for integrating authorities
For more information on the role of integrating authorities see:
- Drafting project agreements
- Manage datasets for the duration of data integration projects
- A protective policy environment
- Technical infrastructure and expertise
- Technical resources for integrating authorities
- The separation principle
- Transparency in operations