APS Data Literacy Foundational Pathway
Data in the public sector is important. Australian Public Service (APS) agencies are the custodians of a vast array of data sources and our Government’s decisions must be based on well managed, good quality data. It is important for all APS staff to be able to treat data as an asset, to manage it well and to harness its value. We all need to build public confidence and trust in our ability to hold, handle and use data, as well as meet community expectations that data assets are managed professionally, securely and effectively.
Foundational data literacy is a critical set of capabilities for APS employees, across all levels and roles. Building APS data capability is identified in Delivering for Australians as a key enabler to Government leveraging the benefits of data and delivering quality services and outcomes to Australians. Building data literacy in a workforce goes beyond training and requires leadership, culture, behaviours, and actions throughout an enterprise.
The purpose of the Data Literacy Foundational Pathway is to inform APS agencies on how to build a data literacy learning pathway in their workforce, which focuses on data learning solutions rather than leadership and culture. The audience of the Pathway are employees seeking guidance to uplift their own data literacy, leaders seeking to build data literacy in their teams, APS HR and learning specialist leaders.
How to use the Data Literacy Foundational pathway
The pathway details:
The essential learning clusters for APS staff to complete:
- Using data in the APS
- Data trust and ethics
Highly recommended clusters to complete in addition to the essential clusters:
- Foundations of data research and analytics
- Simplifying statistics
- Communicating data insights
To achieve a foundational level of data literacy, all five learning clusters need to be completed. The reason for separating the highly recommended from the essential learning clusters recognises the fact that not all APS staff will be required to apply these learning clusters in their roles. For example, Simplifying Statistics would be required for staff who are required to provide formal reporting, advice, policy formation, respond to parliamentary processes, analyse options or results, or calculate payments and services. There will be a small sub-set of staff within the APS where these foundational skills would be considered highly desirable, but not essential.
Within the learning cluster there is a short description of the knowledge and skills to help provide context and practical application of what each cluster would look like in practice. The learning objectives are listed to assist agencies and individuals to identify where new learning may apply to each cluster. Learning actions, solutions and resources list credible options through which data literacy can be lifted. Some resources will apply to multiple clusters, such as your generic data literacy training, and some will only apply to individual clusters. This document will need to be refreshed and updated as new solutions are developed.
We would love to continue to hear about your experience using the Data Literacy Foundational Pathway. We would appreciate hearing how you are implementing the Pathway in your agency so that we can add this experience to the case studies.
You can contact the APS Data Profession team by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Commonwealth of Australia, Office of the National Data Commissioner, Foundational Four, 2020.