Driving data-led decision making in Western Australia.
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PeopleWA is a linked data asset offering a powerful tool for research, government policy and service improvement.

By connecting multiple sources of information through data linkage, PeopleWA creates richer, more comprehensive datasets. The insights generated from these datasets support approved users to address the most complex social, health, environmental and economic issues facing the state.

Administered by the Office of Digital Government, in partnership with the Department of Health, PeopleWA holds linked datasets from the departments of Communities, Education, Health, Justice (including Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages) and the Western Australia Police Force.

While data linkage has been taking place in Western Australia for more than 25 years, PeopleWA increases the scale and complexity of linkages, helping to better inform policy, research and service delivery.

The data asset is protected by international best practice for transparent data governance, safeguards for personal and sensitive information, and robust cyber security controls. PeopleWA will comply with the WA Government’s forthcoming Privacy and Responsible Information Sharing legislation, balancing privacy concerns with the benefits of data sharing. 

Government agencies, researchers, and non-profit organisations that implement projects and activities to benefit the Western Australian public can apply to use the asset for their research.

Apply now through the PeopleWA application system

What’s the background behind PeopleWA?

In 2022, the Western Australian Government announced the establishment of a whole-of-government linked data asset, in response to recommendations made by WA’s Chief Scientist, Professor Peter Klinken AC.

Named PeopleWA, the asset combines the linkage activities of the Western Australian Data Linkage System, administered by the Department of Health, and the Social Investment Data Resource, administered by the Department of Treasury. People WA is supported by a streamlined application process with heightened security protections.

Administered by the Office of Digital Government (DGov) in collaboration with participating agencies, PeopleWA represents the WA Government’s commitment to data-driven decision making and research.  

What is data linkage?

Data linkage is the process of connecting information from multiple data sources together to create a richer and more comprehensive dataset. Data related to a common individual, family, place or event can be linked together to offer a population-level view that supports important policy decisions and research.

Data linkage supports sophisticated and comprehensive studies of whole populations in a way that protects individual privacy. Such studies use modern data analytics techniques to provide a richer understanding of the community impacts of government decisions, services and programs over time.

What data does PeopleWA hold?

PeopleWA holds linked administrative data which spans the following areas:

  • Child protection
  • Public housing
  • Disability
  • Education
  • Justice
  • Police
  • Health and mental health

More information on the available datasets, including date ranges can be found in our data catalogue.

New datasets will be added to PeopleWA each year to ensure data linkage continues to meet changing policy and research needs. 

How does PeopleWA work?

In line with global standards, PeopleWA uses the separation principle to protect an individual’s privacy. This means that no party, including any applicants for data, has access to both personal identifying information and service data.

When participating agencies contribute to PeopleWA, they provide demographic data to the Department of Health, which de-identifies the information and generates encrypted linkage keys. The content data is sent to the Office of Digital Government in a separate transaction, where it is anonymously linked and administered by PeopleWA.

PeopleWA data flows

How is PeopleWA secured and governed?

PeopleWA has strong cyber security controls in line with the WA Government’s Cyber Security Policy and it has also been designed to comply with the anticipated requirements of  the State Government’s future Privacy and Responsible Information Sharing legislation. PeopleWA data can only be accessed for approved purposes via a secure, monitored e-research platform. All data requires review prior to extraction from the e-research platform.

Every application to PeopleWA is assessed by the relevant data custodian in the participating agency from which the dataset originates. This assessment is undertaken in line with legislative requirements and the Five Safes, a global best practice framework for responsible data sharing considering projects, people, data, settings and output. 

The PeopleWA Governance Group (PWAGG) reviews all applications for linked data. Data custodians and representatives from data providing agencies sit on the PWAGG, providing additional risk oversight. 

Approval by an accredited human research ethics committee is required for all research projects seeking access to linked data. Additionally, applications for information held by the Department of Health requires approval from the Department‘s Human Research Ethics Committee as per its Research Governance Framework, facilitated by the  Research Governance Service.


What is the PeopleWA Governance Group?

The PeopleWA Governance Group (PWAGG) supports the Data and Linkage Advisory Committee and the Office of Digital Government to oversee and optimise data linkage activities. Their work includes: 

  • reviewing all PeopleWA applications;
  • providing recommendations for a schedule of future linkages and expansion of linked data;
  • collaborating on streamlining operational data access and use issues;
  • facilitating collaboration with the research and community sectors;
  • reporting to DALAC on the progress of linked data initiatives; and
  • addressing issues related to data linkage and sharing practice.

PWAGG is comprised of data custodians and representatives, from PeopleWA partner agencies, including: