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About the Investment Approach

  • Q: What is the Investment Approach?

    Their Futures Matter has developed an investment approach which employs a cross-government data set, modelling and analytics to determine priority populations who have high levels of need, allocate investment and evaluate outcomes.

    The foundation for the investment approach is the TFM Human Services Data Set, which enables detailed planning into what investment and resources are needed in the future, and where effort should be prioritised.

    By making early investment in areas with the greatest need, the investment approach will reduce future government expenditure and improve long-term outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families.

  • Q: Why is Their Futures Matter implementing an Investment Approach?

    The 2015 Independent Review of Out of Home Care, led by David Tune AO PSM, recommended a vision for a whole-of-system reform driven by an investment approach.

    In response, Their Futures Matter was established as the landmark reform of the NSW Government to deliver improved outcomes for vulnerable children and families, underpinned by an investment approach.

  • Q: How does the Investment Approach link with other work underway in Their Futures Matter and across government?

    Our three reform priorities which guide our work are the Investment Approach, Strategic Commissioning, and System Transformation.

    As part of the Investment Approach, insights presented by the TFM Investment Model will guide investment and social policy decision making.

    Drawing on these insights and evidence, our Strategic Commissioning role involves partnering with agencies to design and evaluate solutions that support children, young people, and families to reach their goals and improve their outcomes.

    We are also undertaking System Transformation, which involves taking a whole-of-government approach to redesign and transform child and family systems. This work will strengthen the investment approach and strategic commissioning by ensuring that children, young people, and families can connect with the right supports at the earliest opportunity.

TFM Human Services Data Set

  • Q: What is the TFM Human Services Data Set?

    In 2018, Their Futures Matter delivered the first comprehensive human services cross-agency data set in NSW, a major milestone in NSW data integration work. The data set is being used to guide and direct funding and resources towards areas of greatest vulnerability and system gaps, and help government to plan for the future.

    This data set is unprecedented in scale, linking and de-identifying data from across six NSW clusters – Education; FACS; Finance, Services and Innovation; Health; Justice; and Industry. It will enable detailed planning into what investment and resources are needed in the future, and where effort should be prioritised.

    Information from the data set will help Government understand and predict demand for services, make evidence-based investment decisions, reduce long-term costs, and improve outcomes for vulnerable children, young people, and families.

    It is an extremely rich data set and promises to be a valuable research asset for understanding more about the most vulnerable in our society and for developing interventions to improve their life outcomes.

  • Q: What’s included in the Data Set?

    When an individual engages with a government service, data are collected and stored by the government agency. The data record service usage, major life events, outcomes relating to child protection, housing, justice, health, education, mental health, misuse of alcohol and other drugs, parental risk indicators, and Commonwealth supports including welfare and medical benefits.

    These data have been linked and de-identified to form the TFM Human Services Data Set, which currently contains over seven million individual data records from 10 NSW Government departments and agencies.

    The data set contains de-identified information from all NSW residents born after 1 January 1990, and their relatives (including family members, relatives, guardians or carers).

  • Q: Will the Data Set continue to be added to over time, with data from other sources?

    Yes, our aim is to regularly update the existing data set with new data, so we can understand different life journeys, service usage patterns, vulnerabilities and outcomes, from early childhood through to age 40.

  • Q: Who has access to the Data Set?

    Access to the Data Set is tightly controlled by two Public Interest Directions granted by the NSW Privacy Commissioner. The data are protected by laws and other measures that guard privacy, including a comprehensive framework of security controls and standards.

    These laws, controls and standards ensure that data is held securely, that only approved people can access it, and that it is used specifically for our work. Data will be securely stored with NSW in the Data Linkage Centre and will be inaccessible to other teams and people.

    The integrated data can only be accessed by analysts once personal information is removed.

  • Q: What will the Data Set tell us that we don’t already know? What’s new?

    For the first time, we have comprehensive human services data all in the one place. Whilst we recognise that there is a lot of existing knowledge that is well informed, the convergence of that into one place from all human services agencies has never been done before.

    The coming together of the data provides powerful insights and a valuable research asset for understanding more about the most vulnerable groups, and for developing strategies to improve their life outcomes.

  • Q: How can non-government organisations provide feedback or contact Their Futures Matter about the investment approach?

    Non-government organisations including service providers, consultants, and researchers can provide feedback and contact Their Futures Matter by completing an enquiry form or by email to TFM-info@theirfuturesmatter.nsw.gov.au

Governance and privacy protection

  • Q: Can anyone be identified?

    No. All data are de-identified following integration, meaning the integrated data set contains records that do not contain any personal identifiers such as name or address.

  • Q: How are the data de-identified?

    Information like names, dates of birth and addresses are removed to ensure the data does not identify individuals and privacy is protected. Other measures are in place to ensure the analysis does not present any small groups with unique combinations of characteristics or service delivery history.

  • Q: How are data collected and integrated?

    The TFM Human Services Data Set has been created by combining and de-identifying data collected through the administration of different NSW Government services and some Commonwealth Government supports (i.e. welfare and medical benefits)

    Record linkage occurs through the Centre for Health Record Linkage (CHeReL), a dedicated data linkage unit managed by the NSW Ministry of Health. To protect privacy, the data sets which CHeReL releases after linkage do not contain any personal identifier information. The exact data fields which are released for analysis have been approved by each of the data providers.

    The data sets released by CHeReL can only be accessed through a protected and isolated environment owned by Their Futures Matter.

  • Q: How are the data kept safe?

    The data are protected by laws and other measures that guard privacy, including a comprehensive framework of security controls and standards. These laws, controls and standards ensure that data are held securely in NSW, that only approved people can access it, and that it is used specifically for our work.

    Their Futures Matter works closely with the NSW Privacy Commissioner to continually evaluate risks and ensure the strength of standards and controls.

  • Q: How are the data stored and accessed?

    The data is protected by laws and other measures that guard privacy, including a comprehensive framework of security controls and standards.

    These laws, controls and standards ensure that data is held securely, that only approved people can access it, and that it is used specifically for our work. Data will be securely stored with NSW in the Data Linkage Centre and will be inaccessible to other teams and people.

    The integrated data can only be accessed by analysts once personal information is removed

  • Q: What would be the process in the unlikely event of a security breach?

    The TFM Human Services Data Set is currently held in a protected server kept in a highly secure data centre Sydney. CHeReL transmits the linked and de-identified data to the protected server, which are accessed by Approved Analysts for data modelling and analysis.

    A data breach involving the TFM Human Services Data Set refers to an unauthorised access to or disclosure of personal information, or a loss of personal information that is held in the TFM Human Services Data Set.

    CHeReL, Taylor Fry, and the Data Storage Centre are taking all possible measures to protect the privacy and security of the Data Set. If a data breach is suspected or identified by one of these parties, they are required to notify TFM and the Data Custodian (Chair of the Their Futures Matter Implementation Board) immediately and undertake the following key steps in collaboration with TFM:

    • Contain the data breach to prevent any further compromise of personal information
    • Assess the data breach by gathering the facts and evaluating the risks, including potential harm to affected individuals and, where possible, taking action to remediate any risk of harm
    • Notify the NSW Privacy Commissioner by TFM
    • Consult with the NSW Privacy Commissioner about notifying affected individuals, especially if there is likely to be significant harm to the affected individuals. Significant harm may relate to harm to the individual’s physical or mental wellbeing, financial loss, or damage to their reputation.
    • Review the incident and consider what actions can be taken to prevent future breaches.

    TFM has a Data Breach Response Plan that supports this action.

  • Q: What are the legal instruments you have to use population data?

    The NSW Privacy Commissioner issued two Public Interest Directions (PIDs) which allowed for the creation of the TFM Human Services Data Set.

    The PIDs relate to Information Protection Principles (IPPs) under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PIPP Act) and Health Privacy Principles (HPPs) under the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (HRIP Act).

    The Their Futures Matter (TFM) Public Interest Directions (PIDs) were signed by the NSW Privacy Commissioner (PC) after approval was given by the NSW Attorney-General and NSW Minister for Health.

    Read the Public Interest Directions made under the PPIP Act and HRIP Act

  • Q: What do the Public Interest Directions do?

    The Public Interest Directions allow TFM to use extensive human services data from across government to design and deliver better government services for vulnerable children or young people and their families.

    Under section 41(1) of the PPIP Act and section 62(1) of the HRIP Act, the Privacy Commissioner may make a public interest direction that exempts a public sector agency from the requirement to comply with one, or more information protection principles (IPPs), or health privacy principles (HPPs), or which modifies the application of an IPP or HPP.

    Section 41(3) of the PPIP Act and section 62(3) of the HRIP Act provide that the Privacy Commissioner can only make a public interest direction where satisfied that the public interest in requiring the agency to comply with the IPPs or HPPs, is outweighed by the public interest in making the direction.

  • Q: What safeguards are in place to protect privacy?

    It is important to note that privacy principles have not changed. Their Futures Matter is collating data already captured by Public Sector Agencies under existing personal and health privacy legislation.

    Key privacy safeguards in the Public Interest Directions for Their Futures Matter, approved by Ministers include:

    • The Data Linkage Centre adheres to principles of separation, access controls and information security controls to ensure privacy is maintained throughout the linkage process.
    • As part of the Information Protection Gates process, the Data Analytics Entity and Approved Analysts adopt best practice privacy, security and de-identification practices, including compliance with the NSW Government Digital Information Security Policy.
    • Only limited and authorised personnel within Participating Agencies and Public Sector Agencies, and with appropriate delegation, have the authority to collect, use and disclose personal or health information in connection with the project.
    • A strong data management and governance framework operates to maintain privacy.
  • Q: Who is responsible for the data?

    The Chair of the Their Futures Matter Implementation Board is assigned as the Data Custodian under the terms of the PIDs. The Data Custodian is responsible for all reporting, monitoring, audit and disclosure of the TFM Human Services Data Set.

    This involves responsibilities in notification and reporting, including an annual reporting regime to the Privacy Commissioner, compliance with the PIDs, and; overall responsibility for data security and governance.

  • Q: Can an individual opt-out?

    Due to the de-identified nature of the data set, individuals are not able to opt out as there is no facility to highlight their information within the TFM Human Services Data Set.

  • Q: Who do I contact if I have an enquiry?

    Enquiries can be made via email to TFM-info@theirfuturesmatter.nsw.gov.au

Modelling and analysis

  • Q: What is the TFM Investment Model?

    Modelling of future outcomes and service usage is a core building block of the Their Futures Matter investment approach. The TFM Investment Model is a mechanism to ensure that the efforts of Government are directed to areas of greatest need, with the services and resources required for the best social and wellbeing outcomes for vulnerable people.

  • Q: What does the model do?

    The TFM Investment Model will help to define priority vulnerable groups, support business cases for new policies and interventions, and monitor the effectiveness of service delivery.

    It analyses the TFM Human Services Data Set to predict likely social outcomes and future service usage pathways, and to estimate the future cost of government service usage.

  • Q: What is meant by ‘future costs’?

    Future costs are estimated future fiscal costs to the NSW and Commonwealth Governments associated with the provision of key government services. It does not include universal service costs, personal financial costs or intangible costs.

TFM Investment Model – 2018 Insights Report

  • Q: What does the 2018 Insights Report tell us?

    The TFM Investment Model – 2018 Insights Report provides powerful insights into projected service usage and future outcomes for population groups of children and families in NSW.

    The Report illustrates which population groups are most at risk of poor social outcomes, and how particular characteristics or risk indicators can significantly impact expected outcomes.

  • Q: What does vulnerable mean?

    The Insights Report determines the population groups which are most at risk of poor outcomes. The names of some of these groups include the word ‘vulnerable’, for example ‘Vulnerable young children aged 0-5’.

    Sections of the Report describing each vulnerable group outline the characteristics and risk indicators which make up the group definition. Read page 6 in the Report for an overview of each vulnerable group and their definitions.

  • Q: Why are Aboriginal people over-represented in the insights report?

    The report presents the results of data modelling which illustrate the population groups most at risk of poor outcomes. In each of these vulnerable groups, Aboriginal people are over-represented as a proportion of the group’s population. The characteristics and risk indicators for each group are complex, and are explored in detail throughout the report.

    By designing state-wide strategies and focusing government spending toward the priority population groups, Their Futures Matter aims to improve life outcomes for these groups, including Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

  • Q: How can I obtain an accessible version of the Forecasting Future Outcomes report?

    An accessible version of the report can be provided upon request to TFM-info@theirfuturesmatter.nsw.gov.au

  • Q: How can I view the technical appendices?

    Appendices can be requested by email to TFM-info@theirfuturesmatter.nsw.gov.au

Supporting the priority populations

  • Q: How will TFM use insights from the 2018 Insights Report?

    The Their Futures Matter Implementation Board has endorsed two initial priority population groups for state-wide strategies:

    • Vulnerable young children aged 0-5 years
    • Vulnerable children and young people affected by mental illness

    Their Futures Matter will work with partner agencies to design solutions which improve outcomes for children and young people in these population groups.

  • Q: How can NGOs participate in the design and delivery of system strategies?

    Solutions and strategies for the priority population groups will be designed in partnership with the sector. Details of the engagement and design activities will be released shortly. To contact Their Futures Matter regarding the Investment Approach work, please email TFM-info@theirfuturesmatter.nsw.gov.au.

    There are multiple opportunities for sector partners, agencies, community members, and other stakeholders to participate in engagements to inform the System Transformation work, including the Access System Redesign project. If you are interested in participating in stakeholder consultations, please email TFM-SystemTransformation@theirfuturesmatter.nsw.gov.au.

  • Q: Is the aim of the TFM Investment Model to reduce the costs of services provided by the government?

    The aim of the TFM Investment Model is to identify areas of greatest need, and direct required resources to improve the social and wellbeing outcomes for these people. Subsequent to this report, Their Futures Matter will work with partner agencies to analyse the root causes of vulnerability and investigate the potential policy responses to this analysis.

  • Q: Are there any cost reduction targets?

    No, the primary aim of the TFM Investment Model is to determine how resources can be better directed to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.

  • Q: What changes will there be to the services provided by the NSW Government as a result of this report?

    The Forecasting Future Outcomes report is intended to support business cases for new policies and interventions aimed at improving outcomes for vulnerable children and young people. The future development of these new policies will be undertaken in collaboration with partner agencies, and interventions will be guided by the analysis in this report.

  • Q: How will you ensure that any changes to services will result in improved outcomes for vulnerable children and young people?

    The vision for Their Futures Matter is to create a service system that delivers coordinated, wrap-around and evidence-based supports for children and families to transform their life outcomes. The Forecasting Future Outcomes Report is a central part of this vision which brings together data, evidence, investment and leadership from the NSW Government departments of Education, Communities and Justice, Health, Premier and Cabinet, and Treasury. Subsequent to this report, Their Futures Matter will work with partner agencies to analyse the root causes of vulnerability and how resources can be better directed to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.