Government data-sharing blueprints to be introduced by end of FY22

New governance framework is currently being assessed across government

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A new set of templates and guidelines to help standardise data-sharing agreements between government departments is due to be introduced in the next few months.

The Cabinet Office is leading the project to develop a data-sharing governance framework. In an annexe to correspondence sent to the Public Accounts Committee by the head of the Central, Digital and Data Office Joanna Davinson, the department provided an update on the programme and its progress.

The scheme intends to put in place “a shared framework to centralise and standardise data-sharing documentation, create a shared understanding of resource implications and agree a shared language of terms for creating agreements”. 

“This will make data sharing across government faster and easier for users,” the letter added.

A discovery phase for the programme has already taken place during which a framework has been drafted in full and “distributed for cross-government feedback”.

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The documentation is due to be “published and rollout commenced by the end of the 2021/22 financial year”, the Cabinet Office indicated.

Updating MPs on other data-focused programmes, the department said that the Technology Code of Practice – which informs the spending control assessment process – was updated late last year. The amendments relate to point 10 of the practice, which requires government technology buyers to ‘make better use of data’.

“To ensure data standards and data best practices are adopted, the DSA has been working to strengthen existing delegated spend controls and associated assessment and assurance processes in relation to data,” the Cabinet Office wrote. “The first iteration of changes to point 10 of the Technology Code of Practice were made in December 2020. Further changes to point 10… are planned, as well as potential updates to the Service Standards by Q1 2022.”

 The Cabinet Office has also recently created a Discovery Science and Insights platform that aims to provide “data delivery, access and analytics, and is aiming to become a central data exchange for the Cabinet Office, allowing its business units to have access to data from multiple sources across government, and to provide richer and more reliable insights”.

Having developed the platform over the past year, the department “plans to enhance the platform over the course of the next three years, in order to support all Cabinet Office business units with data that is automated, joined up, and potentially aggregated for common business purposes”.

Other projects on which the central department provided updates include the Border Flow Service (BFS), which is intended to “deliver data and analytical capability to border agencies and local resilience forums, and to improve responses to emerging issues in real time”.

“Since December 2020, BFS has been increasing the resilience of the border by powering the analysis of a number of things, including the flow of goods at the border, empty freight flow, predicting passenger volumes in response to international travel restrictions easing, and planning resources around border health measures,” the department wrote.

The Cabinet Office wrote to the committee after being asked by MPs, as part of the lessons-learned inquiry on the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, to provide an update on projects “aimed at improving the quality and interoperability of the data available to government”.


Sam Trendall

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