These guidelines have been prepared as a reference for those involved in the collection and supply of the data for the Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) program. The MERIT program has been developed as a result of a joint agency approach between a range of government and non-government service providers.
This publication is intended to:
- provide some history on MERIT and its data development and outline the overall collection process;
- provide standardised definitions of all data elements included in the data set (to enable comparability of the data across MERIT programs);
- clarify which data items are required (and by who) and which are optional;
- provide collection guidelines to ensure the best quality data is received; and
- provide an up-to-date reference to ensure that the collection can run in a coordinated and timely fashion.
This data collection will make it possible to compare and aggregate information statewide on MERIT clients including their demographics, drug use problems, treatment received, offending behaviour and sentence outcomes. The guidelines aim to standardise the operations and implementation of the MERIT data and reporting framework. It is recommended that these guidelines be used in conjunction with the Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) Program Operational Manual.