This page belongs to: Data strategy 2021–2024

1. Capability and culture – from data literacy to data fluency

People are at the core of our strategy. We can only progress a sustainable data-driven culture by maximising the data capabilities of employees across the department. Through this strategy we will build on our strong foundation of broad data literacy to achieve greater data fluency.

Data fluency is more than knowing how to access and use data. It includes:

  • knowing what data to use to solve problems;
  • applying critical thinking to understand and address data’s strengths and limitations; 
  • using data strategically to shape policy and deliver effective programs, regulations and services; and 
  • using data to tell a compelling story. 

We will achieve data fluency by continuing to equip all employees with data skills. By helping employees at all levels think critically about the data they need to support the department’s activities, we will create a more mature data culture.

Key initiatives and activities

Equip and empower employees with data skills and capabilities 

  • Provide learning and development opportunities for all employees. Opportunities range from broad skills for basic data users to specialised training for advanced data users. This links to the APS Data Professional Stream, particularly the initiatives to develop sophisticated data users and establish a Data Professional Network. 
  • Share examples of best-practice data use across the department.
  • Engage in data workforce planning across government. This will enable recruitment, retention and ongoing development of employees with data capabilities across the department and APS.

Help senior leaders foster a data-driven approach 

  • Extend data training opportunities for Senior Executive Service (SES) employees in line with the APS Data Professional Stream initiative to embed data capability across the SES.
  • Regularly update executives on key data capability measures and opportunities to improve data capability across the department, including through the department’s Data Governance Board.

Raise awareness of the Data Policy Branch’s services and training 

  • Create accessible content that promotes data services and training available for employees.
  • Identify opportunities for peer-to-peer data advocacy and coaching across the department.
  • Clarify the Data Policy Branch’s key activities and services, including guidelines on when and how they can offer support.
  • Update our Data Capability Framework to include more roles and promote new informal learning opportunities.

Influence data policy and the public data agenda across the APS

  • Continue collaborating with other agencies to shape the whole-of-government data agenda. 
  • Promote activities relevant to the whole-of-government data agenda to all employees. We will focus on activities that improve our data capability, including relevant data-sharing opportunities.

Capability and culture in practice

Nicola works in the Climate Change Division. She was interested in learning more about working with data in Power BI.

With her manager’s support, Nicola enrolled in our Power BI Bootcamp. Using the skills and knowledge she gained, she was able to completely reshape the way Australia reports emissions data.

Nicola and the Climate Change Division used Power BI to produce an interactive graph showing emissions by quarter and sector. This graph is now a key part of our National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Quarterly Updates.