Information about individual instances of the receipt of assistance by a client from a service agency is of fundamental interest to service providers, but may or may not be required for national reporting purposes. However, information about an individual service event is a basic building block for other information that is of relevance to national reporting and statistical analysis. For example, if information about the length of time that certain types of persons have received particular types of assistance from specific types of agencies is required, then information about each instance of service provision should be recorded in a standard way. This should enable reliable, valid and comparable data to be reported nationally.
Generally, a service event is described by a cluster of data elements that provide information about when it happened, where it happened, what assistance was received, how much and from whom. The need for information about service events reflects an interest in locating community service assistance to clients in time. This information may help to identify the intensity of assistance received by a person during a time period. Knowing when a person received assistance from an agency also helps to identify those records that are of interest to particular data collections. For example, an agency may be required to report on all assistance provided to clients during, say 1999-2000.
As with the definition of client, what constitutes a service event is influenced by the definition of 'assistance'. That is, every interaction between an agency and a client may not be considered of sufficient significance to warrant recording as a service event. Furthermore, decisions about what is included or excluded from the definition of 'assistance' may be affected by specific program requirements as well as practical considerations related to the amount of time and resources it takes to record every interaction between an agency and a client.
This content Based on Australian Institute of Health and Welfare material. Attribution provided as required under the AIHW CC-BY licence.
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