The data contained in the NCIS is sourced from the coronial brief created as part of the investigation conducted by a coroner into the death of an individual. The purpose of the coronial investigation is to determine the identity of the deceased, the cause of death and where appropriate, to make recommendations to prevent similar deaths.

The NCIS contains both coded and non-coded data as well as searchable legal, medical and scientific reports such as the coroner’s finding, post mortem and toxicology report and police summary of death report.

Cases are coded by court appointed staff in each jurisdiction. Coded fields are completed once the coronial investigation is complete. The NCIS conducts a quality assurance review of closed cases to ensure coding is correct and to facilitate searching of the data.

Collection of data to populate the NCIS is a secondary purpose of the coronial investigation and data collection is the result of operational processes which differ between the nine jurisdictions. Each coronial jurisdiction is governed by a Coronial Act, which are subject to changes over time. Therefore, there will be differences in the processes, type and comprehensiveness of data collection.  While these differences have an impact on the information available in the NCIS, as far as possible the data is nationally standardised.

For more information on NCIS data, see explanatory notes.

ICD-10 coding

Supplementary data is provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the New Zealand Ministry of Health. All deaths occurring in Australia and New Zealand are coded in accordance with the International Classification of Death – Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes.

The ICD-10 is published by the World Health Organisation and uses unique alphanumeric codes to classify the disease, morbid conditions or injuries which cause or contribute to death.

ICD-10 coding is provided to the NCIS annually for integration into the database.

Safe Work Australia

For fatalities that Safe Work Australia considers to be work-related, the NCIS is provided with certain supplementary data fields. Further details about this are available in explanatory notes. There is no equivalent for New Zealand data.

Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) Registries

Data about the Indigenous status and birthplace of individuals is provided by each state/territory BDM registry. This data originates from the death registration process and/or medical certificate cause of death.

This external data supplements Australian coronial data for these variables which is not always consistently collected.

For data quality statements about coronial and BDM data in relation to Indigenous identification and birthplace, see explanatory notes.