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Definition

The Specialist Homelessness Services National Minimum Data Set (SHS NMDS) aims to provide quality information about people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness and who are seeking services from specialist homelessness agencies.

This collection is intended to obtain information about clients receiving ongoing or short term support as well as people who are seeking assistance but did not receive any services. Data collection includes basic socio-demographic information and the services required by and provided to each client. Details about accompanying children are also recorded. Additionally, information is obtained about the client circumstances before, during and after receiving support.

The base unit of this collection is a person who present to a Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) agency requesting a service or services. A person becomes a client once they receive a service or services. The period of time a client receives assistance from a SHS agency is commonly referred to as a support period. It relates to the provision of assistance and/or supported accommodation. A support period is considered finished when the relationship between the client and the agency ends or the client has reached their maximum amount of support.

During a support period there are, in most cases, a series of service episodes or assistance, other than supported accommodation, provided to the client by the SHS agency. For the purposes of the Specialist Homelessness Services NMDS, assistance also includes contact with a client, or work on behalf of a client.

The SHS NMDS has three ‘views’ for collection purposes, they are: Unassisted person, Client and Specialist homelessness agency.

An ‘Unassisted person’ in the context of this collection is any person who seeks assistance from an agency and is not successful in obtaining that assistance. A ‘Client’ is a person who receives services either directly or indirectly from an agency. A 'Specialist homelessness agency' is an organisation which receives government funding to deliver a specialist homelessness service to a client. If clients present collectively, information is collected for each client but the group is referred to as a 'Presenting unit'.

The 2011 SHS NMDS was developed to support the collection of data under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations for Homelessness. It replaced the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) collection from July 2011.

In 2008 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to reform federal financial relations to improve the quality and effectiveness of government services. These reforms led to the establishment of the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH), which includes specific performance measures in relation to homelessness.

In conjunction with these reforms, the Australian Government initiated a comprehensive policy review, setting out a national approach to reducing homelessness in the White Paper: The Road Home, A National Approach to Reducing Homelessness.

The 2014-15 SHS NMDS continues to reflect the outcome based performance framework promoted by the COAG Reforms and White Paper. It supports the collection, analysis and reporting of client-based data. This allows for the production of statistical information about clients’ circumstances, the assistance they receive and the outcomes that are achieved for them. This information can be used to inform policy design, evaluation, service improvement and monitoring of specialist homelessness services in Australia.

In addition the 2014-15 SHS NMDS provides for the collection of information about SHS clients with disabilities. This information will be used to better understand the circumstances and experiences of clients with disabilities who access SHS agencies.

Metadata items in this Data Set Specification

Below is a list of all the components within this Dataset Specification.
Each entry includes the item name, whether the item is optional, mandatory or conditional and the maximum times the item can occur in a dataset.
If the items must occur in a particular order in the dataset, the sequence number is included before the item name.


Data Elements
Reference Data Element Data Type Length Inclusion #
Address—Australian postcode, code (Postcode datafile) {NNNN}
Specific Information:

In the Specialist Homelessness Services NMDS, this data element is reported twice, for:

  • where the person lived one week before the first service contact (the Service episode—episode start date, DDMMYYYY)
  • where the person lived the last time they had a permanent place to live.
Conditional Inclusion:
In the Specialist Homelessness Services NMDS, this item is only asked of clients.
- - conditional 2
Address—suburb/town/locality name, text X[X(45)]
Specific Information:

In the Specialist Homelessness Services NMDS, this data element is reported twice, for:

  • where the person lived one week before the first service contact (the Service episode—episode start date, DDMMYYYY)
  • where the person lived the last time they had a permanent place to live.
Conditional Inclusion:
In the Specialist Homelessness Services NMDS, this item is only asked of clients.
- - conditional 2
Child—care arrangements, care and protection order code N[N]
Specific Information:

In the Specialist Homelessness Services NMDS, this data element is collected four times, for the following points in time:

  • one week before the start of the support period (the Service episode—episode start date, DDMMYYYY)
  • at the date of presentation
  • at the end of the reporting period (the Service event—last service provision date, DDMMYYYY)
  • at the end of the support period (the Service episode—episode end date, DDMMYYYY).

Only one permissible value is selected in each case.

Conditional Inclusion:

In the Specialist Homelessness Services NMDS, this data element is conditional on the client providing consent to release their personal data to the AIHW. The data element Client—consent obtained indicator, yes/no code N, must receive a response of Yes (Code 1).

This data element is only collected for clients aged less than 18 years, who have a care and protection order.

Number 2 conditional 4
Client—case management goal status, code N
Specific Information:

In the Specialist Homelessness Services NMDS, this data element is collected at the end of each reporting period, ie each calendar month.

Conditional Inclusion:

Conditional on YES (CODE 1) response to Client—case management plan indicator, yes/no code.

- - conditional 1

Comments

Guide for use:

For jurisdictions who have high volume central intake or localised entry point agencies (for example ACT and Victoria), data for unmet demand and unassisted requests for services are not directly comparable with other states and territories.

References

Related content

Relation Count
As a numerator in an Indicator 0
As a denominator in an Indicator 0
As a disaggregation in an Indicator 0