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Defence Census
putting the people into our planning

Distribution and Recovery of Census Forms

From its inception in 1991 until 2015, the Defence Census based its delivery on the completion of paper questionnaires. In the past, paper-based questionnaires were favoured for use over alternate delivery methods, particularly electronic/web-based, for the several following reasons:

  1. Not all personnel have regular or easy access to a DRN or personal computer terminal;
  2. Paper based surveys are tangible documents that can be tracked more readily than electronic/soft copy documents;
  3. Personnel are more likely to complete a hard copy document that has been handed to them or, in the case of reservists, is posted to their home address;
  4. Previous Defence experience with electronic surveys demonstrated lower response rates to electronic based surveys than were achieved with hard copy.

For the first time in Census history, in 2015 Defence personnel were given the option to complete the Census electronically via the World Wide Web or by the traditional hard copy paper based questionnaire. Of the 51% of responses received for the 2015 Defence Census, 31% came from hard copy paper returns and 19% of responses were received electronically. Based on the percentages of the 2015 return modes, the 2019 Census is likely to be delivered in the same manner as the 2015 Defence Census.

The Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service Employee Census

The APSC State of the Service (SoS) Employee Census is planned to be administered online to all Australian Public Service (APS) personnel in May/June each year. This Survey is designed as an attitudinal census and its aim is to assess attitudes of all Australian Public Servants towards issues such as strategic leadership, workforce capability and organisational effectiveness.  The Survey is conducted so the APSC can better understand the views of APS staff across various Government Departments; identify strengths and areas for improvement and to provide Agencies with means of benchmarking their results against the rest of the APS

Unlike the Defence Census which measures demographic data, the APSC SoS Census mostly measures attitudinal data. As such, the APSC SoS Census is much more akin to the Defence's 'Your Say' survey than the Defence Census. Further, the APSC SoS Census does not cover the ADF as it is administered only to APS employees. Accordingly, the APSC SoS Census is not suitable to replace the Defence Census as a means of gaining the in-depth APS demographic information required by Defence.