Data and Reporting in Mental Health Community Organisations

Scoping Study

MHCC has long advocated for a coordinated approach to data collection and reporting from community managed organisations (CMOs) that provide NSW Government-funded mental health support services. MHCC’s CMO Non-Government Organisation Establishments ‘Scoping Study’ Project (CMO NGOE) is one component of the NSW Health CMO-ERA Project. This project aims to aggregate data on funding, activity, workforce (the National Mental Health NGO Establishments data), and consumer and carer experience of services (the YES and CES questionnaires).

**Find the final Stage 2 Report on this project here

The primary responsibility of the MHCC project is to scope the feasibility of implementing a minimum data set in NSW CMOs that receive NSW mental health funds. A CMO Consultation Workshop will be facilitated (date to be determined), with current CMO data collections in Western Australia and Queensland being reviewed. The project report will identify any issues, recommendations and potential options for implementation.

Julie Millard has been engaged by MHCC to lead this Project, as she facilitated Phase 1 of the MHCC Data Management Strategy in 2010 (see below). She can be contacted on: 9555 8388 or

National Minimum Data Set- phase 1

MHCC had represented CMHA on working groups developing the Mental Health NGO Establishments National Minimum Data Set (MH NGOE NMDS). This work was carried out by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) for the Mental Health Information Strategy Standing Committee (MHISSC).

The main purpose for creating the NGOE NMDS is to collect nationally consistent information on the activity of mental health CMOs, and to provide reliable data to better inform policy, practice and planning of national mental health NGO activities. There is currently no other national collection of mental health CMO activity beyond very basic and incomplete counts of state funding allocations.

The scope of the MH NGOE NMDS is any mental health-related CMO-funded to provide services under one or more of the service types included in the service type taxonomy. This taxonomy is also becoming the basis of other national and state service mapping and planning projects.

The collection methodology for the MH NGOE NMDS requires a CMO to provide aggregated data to its respective funders, at either state and territory or national levels. The funder is then responsible for submission to the AIHW. Depending on the funder this information may be required to be collected through the AIHW’s own collection tool.

The following is the currently agreed mental health NGO service type taxonomy, defining the scope of services to be included in the MH NGOE NMDS:

  1. Counselling-face-to-face
  2. Counselling, support, information and referral-telephone
  3. Counselling, support, information and referral-online
  4. Self-help-online
  5. Group support activities
  6. Mutual support and self-help
  7. Staffed residential services
  8. Personalised support-linked to housing
  9. Personalised support-other
  10. Family and carer support
  11. Individual advocacy
  12. Care coordination
  13. Service integration infrastructure
  14. Education, employment and training
  15. Sector development and representation
  16. Mental health promotion
  17. Mental illness prevention

It is the responsibility of funders to allocate the services they fund to a specific service type, based on the principal function they are funded to provide. If an NGO is funded to provide one type of service, it can only be allocated to one service type. However, if an NGO is specifically funded to provide more than one type of service, the activity for each type of service should be collected under each relevant service type.

The following mandatory minimum information about a MH CMO will be required:

  • Funding jurisdiction (for example, New South Wales)
  • Funding source (for example, Ministry of Health)
  • Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Organisation name
  • Statistical area level 2 (SA2) (that is, where the service is located, as per the ABS SA2 code)
  • Information on assessment against quality standards
  • Not-for-profit indicator
  • Consumer-managed organisation indicator
  • Full-time equivalent paid overhead staff (average)

Depending on the arrangements made with the funder, some of this information may be pre-populated in a data collection tool.