2. Submission and validation of SKL data files

Submission, delivery and validation of the 2019-20 MHE data (version 2.40) will occur through the MDS Validator.

2.1. Timelines

All jurisdictions must submit a stage 1 compliant file using the online Validator by 6 January 2021. The AIHW and Department of Health aims to have Stage 2 validation completed by 18 March 2021 in accordance with the schedule in Table 2.1, so structural changes are anticipated prior to the MHE file submissions.

Table 2.1 SKL 2019-20 issues validation
Progress point description Responsibility Completion Time Completion date
Stage 1 submission Jurisdictions 6 January 2021
Submitter comment on all issues within the issue list Jurisdictions 7 weeks 25 February 2021
Reviewer reply to all issues within the issue list and raise other issues based on historical reports AIHW 3 weeks 18 March 2021
Resolution of any remaining issues - validation process completed AIHW/Jurisdiction discussion back and forth 5 weeks 22 April 2021

2.2. File type and naming convention

DAT files should be a single Fixed Format data file, with each record in the file being terminated with Carriage Return (CR) and Line Feed (LF) characters.

The data file will have the naming convention of SKLSSSYYYYNNNNN.DAT where:

  • SKL denotes ‘Mental Health Establishments Skeleton’
  • SSS is the abbreviation for the State name, using the following convention:
    NSW:New South Wales
    WAU:Western Australia
    SAU:South Australia
    ACT:Australian Capital Territory
    NTE:Northern Territory
  • YYYY indicates the reporting year covered in the file, using the convention where financial years are abbreviated by referring to the last calendar year of the pair (for example, 2019-20 is identified as 2020)
  • NNNNN represents an incremental batch number (leading zeros present).

Adherence to this approach requires that any resubmitted files should have a batch number greater than the file they replace. For example, the first MHE Skeleton data file submitted by the Australian Capital Territory covering the 2019-20 year would be named ‘SKLACT202000001.DAT’.

2.3. Validation

Mental Health National Minimum Dataset (NMDS) validation is the process of reviewing and cleaning the mental health service data received from state and territory governments using the MDS Validator a web based validation tool. The process has two stages:

  • Stage 1 validation
    • Structural check when file is submitted to validator
  • Stage 2 validation
    • Respond to and accept all issues in the issues list

2.3.1. Stage 1 validation

Stage 1 validation ensures that the submitted data file structure is correct: that the data is in the correct layout, that there no blank fields or invalid characters. These checks ensure that each line of data is correctly formatted and aligns to the specifications.

2.3.2. Stage 2 validation

For the SKL, stage 2 validation is the process through which states and territories confirm the structural changes compared to the previous year. Issues are raised for each structural component change. Jurisdictions must confirm that these changes are genuine by confirming each of the issues. In cases where very large structural changes have occurred between reporting periods, please contact the AIHW to make special arrangements.

2.4. Additional information and queries

AIHW, Department of Health and Strategic Data staff are available to answer any queries in respect of changes to the Validator’s MHE module and validation rules. In order to obtain a coordinated response, requests should be sent to the following parties simultaneously:


Email: mentalhealth@aihw.gov.au

Strategic Data

Email: support@strategicdata.com.au