Governance and Management

Establishment

The Tasmanian Data Linkage Unit (TDLU) was established in 2010 along with other data linkage units across Australia with funding from the Australian Government, to support nationally and internationally significant population-based research that will improve health and health-related well-being as well as enhancing the delivery of health and community care services in Tasmania and the rest of Australia.

The TDLU is operated by the Menzies Institute for Medical Research under a contractual arrangement between the Department of Health Tasmania (DoH) and the University of Tasmania (UTAS).

The Population Health Research Network

The TDLU is a node of the nationally-funded Population Health Research Network (PHRN). The PHRN is an initiative of the Australian Government and is conducted as part of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. The PHRN was established to build a nationwide data linkage infrastructure capable of securely and safely managing health and other information from around Australia. This network of data linkage units now operates in every Australian state and territory. This has greatly improved the way linkable health and related data are made available for approved research purposes. A video explaining the role of the PHRN can be viewed here.

Governance

Having an effective governance model is of high importance to the TDLU.

Broadly, governance refers to a range of regulations, rules, processes, and principles that ensures high quality practice and accountability while reducing the risk of harm. With respect to research, The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018) states that an appropriate governance framework should be in place that considers quality, safety, privacy, risk management, financial management, and ethical acceptability.

Strong governance supports a primary objective of the service, by directly contributing to the promotion, protection and maintenance of the wellbeing, health and prosperity of the population of Tasmania and Australia. The TDLU Governance Framework can be found here.

Management

A Management Committee comprising representatives of state and commonwealth government agencies and the community sector and tertiary education, meet four times annually to provide advice, including making recommendations regarding strategy, policy, funding priorities, stakeholder engagement, performance and accountability. The Tasmanian state government departments of Health, Education, Premier and Cabinet and Justice are represented on the Committee, together with the Australian Bureau of Statistics as the independent statistical agency of the Government of Australia. The Committee operates under agreed terms of reference, with minutes recorded and actions arising actively managed. A senior representative of the Tasmanian Government DoH is the nominated chair of the Committee, and has responsibility for convening and conducting meetings in accordance with its terms of reference. Members of the Committee bring a wealth of experience and expertise to support the operations of the TDLU in numerous areas including research, ethics, policy, planning, education, legal and technical.