From theory to action
Government agencies need to embrace a culture that encourages data sharing.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has laid out a set of privacy guidelines –to promotes transparency, ensure accountability, and enable value creation by making government data available to all. Government agencies shall share public sector data by default, where it can be done securely, safely, lawfully, and ethically. To develop citizen-centric public services, data sharing among councils, data sharing councils with a state, a state sharing data with other states in the country and state(s) sharing data with the central or federal government is extremely important. We recommend the following to establish a robust data sharing mechanism:
- Define standard operating procedures (SOPs) for data sharing activities
- Develop nationwide data network
- Improve data discoverability
- Share-once use-often model for aggregate de-identified administrative data
- Design robust governance frameworks
- Modernize the outdated data architecture
- Bridge the skills gap to onboard the right set of data scientists
Robust data governance frameworks and modern data architectures are essential for data sharing. A cloud-based data sharing platforms can help public sector departments to share data. While data sharing is important, the ethical aspect of maintaining public trust in data sharing is of paramount importance. Trust, public engagement, transparency, user control, the flexibility to opt out, ad important aspects to consider.
The public sector is facing a perception challenge when it comes to privacy, consent, and use of citizen data. There is a need for stronger regulatory frameworks around owning, storing, and sharing data across different levels of government. The public sector collects a high volume of data every day. At present, across most government agencies, this data is stored in legacy systems such as data warehouses, resulting in silos of data distributed across government departments and agencies. The absence of a standardized data architecture also makes it difficult to share data between departments rapidly and precisely. Establishing a modern data foundation from the start can eliminate many challenges down the line, including data quality problems where rigid systems can lead to duplicated and obsolete datasets. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for governments to put in place robust data sharing mechanisms in order for data to be available with full transparency and on time.