Recognising data as a critical enabler and sharing this data on a whole-of-government basis is critical to supporting better decision making, increasing simplicity of engagement, driving efficiency and delivering a range of new digital government services to citizens and businesses. Good examples of data sharing exist between Public Bodies but this is primarily implemented on a case by case basis. This Strategy recognises the benefits of data sharing and will facilitate better sharing across all Public Bodies.
Implementing a data strategy is a complex and challenging task. The Data Sharing and Governance Bill currently being prepared by Government will provide a streamlined legislative basis for data-sharing, as well as setting standards for transparency and governance around the sharing of personal data and requirements for the use of identifiers by Public Bodies. In implementing any strategy, existing infrastructure and services such as the Single Customer View and Public Services Card should be utilised in creating an infrastructure to allow citizens to engage in a secure but integrated manner across the wider Public Service.
This element of the Strategy has five key focus areas which will require time, co-operation and investment to achieve a successful outcome. This will be driven through the OGCIO with the engagement of the CIO Council and Data Protection Commissioner.
Identify and agree the common data set across the Public Service that uniquely defines citizens and businesses.
Create functions for oversight and governance of critical common data to ensure standardisation of data and drive data quality.
Implement the necessary infrastructure to allow aggregation and facilitate sharing of common data on a Public Service wide basis to support new digital services and secure authentication to existing services. This would leverage existing systems and services such as Public Services Card to provide a more integrated citizen experience.
Identify opportunities for better data analysis by Public Bodies to target service delivery, improve services and better inform decision making. This should include creation of a centre of excellence for data analytics to assist Public Bodies in addressing common business challenges in this area.
Create functions for oversight and governance of privacy and security for the safe and appropriate use of data as an enabler to support new services and better decision making.
In line with the expectations of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, the resulting Implementation Plan from this Strategy will provide a comprehensive approach to how the governance (e.g. control, access, identification of data controller) and security arrangements (e.g. IT-led, encryption, firewalls, data transfer protocols) of data sharing are to be dealt with and how guidance on when data may lawfully be shared using a principles-based approach is to be managed.
Furthermore, it is critical that these data sharing proposals are not just seen in terms of business need and efficiency, but that their perceived benefits are properly weighed up against the personal fundamental rights of the individual.