“The next programme of Public Service reform is under development. In the meantime the OPS Networks and Action Teams will continue their existing work programmes, so keep an eye on the website for all our latest news. Please contact the PMO office if you have any queries at reformoffice@per.gov.ie

Action 7: Optimise the use of data

Sharing data across Government will facilitate better service delivery, support better decision making, increase the ease of access to services and drive efficiencies. By adopting the principle of ‘collect once, use often’, public service delivery will become more efficient and consistent, public engagement with government will be enhanced and digital service delivery will be improved. A more structured and rigorous approach to data management is being adopted across the public service. Protecting people’s data is at the core of developing the necessary infrastructure to allow effective and safe data sharing. We will put governance in place to ensure we only use the data we are entitled to use and seek to do so in an appropriate, transparent and legal way.

Details on the approach across four key projects is detailed below:

  • The National Data Infrastructure
  • Data Sharing and Governance Act 2019
  • Open Data
  • The Public Service ICT Strategy
  • The Public Service Data Strategy

 

1 National Data Infrastructure

The National data Infrastructure (NDI) champions group, chaired by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) with representatives from all Departments, has been expanded to include agencies with high value data. Representatives from agencies in health, education and housing sectors will attend the June 2019 champions group meeting. The group developed a ‘dashboard’ to measure NDI maturity for Public Sector Bodies (PSBs). The NDI dashboard summarises the coverage of record-level PPSNs and Eircodes for key data holdings of Government Departments and agencies under their aegis and identifies where opportunities exist for improved coverage of the PPSN and Eircode in administrative systems and processes. These improvements will support PSB specific initiatives in the first instance and of course support the broader initiative of data sharing as proposed in the Data Sharing and Governance Act. The champions group will identify implementation challenges and report accordingly. This approach will also eventually extend to the Unique Business Identifier (UBI).

 

2 Data Sharing and Governance Act 2019

The Data Sharing and Governance Act 2019 provides a general legal basis for public bodies to share data for specified purposes in a manner that is compliant with GDPR thereby reducing administrative burden and simplifying the provision of services. It also provides the legislative underpinning for the Single Public Service Pension Scheme and the Unique Business Identifier. Once commenced, this legislation will ensure an integrated and cohesive approach in terms of information flows between and within public bodies, while ensuring best practice in regard to privacy, security and data protection. It supports the “Ask once; use many” principle by creating designated authoritative data stores called base registries. The consequent improvement in data quality will enable better control of schemes, a reduction in the number of errors and will inform evidence-based policy making.

The Act seeks to improve the treatment of data held by Public Bodies by introducing strong data governance provisions so as to ensure consistency in the way data is managed and by providing for greater oversight and transparency to the public regarding what data is held and how it is used. Data governance measures include the establishment of a Data Governance Board with ex officio and external members to advise the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on the operation of the legislation. This Board will issue guidelines and prescribe rules, procedures and standards for data management as well as quality assuring data sharing agreements. Transparency measures include advance publication of data sharing agreements, public consultation and a data portal for citizens to view personal data that Government holds.

 

3 Open Data

Openness and transparency is a key Government priority and the Open Data Strategy 2017- 2022, published in July 2017 contends that opening up Government data will empower citizens and businesses, foster innovation and reform Public Services. The Open Data Initiative is a key part of the Public Service’s reform activities. It is closely aligned with the Public Service Reform Programme, the ICT Strategy, the Public Service Data Strategy and the Civil Service Renewal Plan. It is also a core element of Ireland’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan and will fits well with the National Data Infrastructure Initiative.

Data is a key asset of the digital economy and a large part of this asset is generated by the public sector. To fully exploit its innovative potential, it is essential that public and publicly-funded data is easily available for citizens and companies. Strengthening the EU rules on the re-use of public sector information is necessary to bring the EU up to speed with rapidly changing technologies and to tackle the barriers, which prevent SMEs and startups from innovating using public data resources. The Directive on open data and the re-use of public sector information’, also known as the ‘Open Data Directive’ (Directive (EU) 2019/1024) was adopted on 16 July 2019. This new directive will ensure that real-time public sector data as well as data from publicly funded research and public undertakings will become more easily available and usable. A selection of datasets of particular socio-economic importance (High Value Datasets) will be made freely and openly available across the EU, via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The Commission will shortly start working with Member States on the identification of the high-value datasets which will be set out in an Implementing Act. Member States have to transpose Directive by 16 July 2021.

 

4 Public Service ICT Strategy

They key output from the Data as an Enabler group was the publication of the Public Service Data Strategy 2019-2023. Published in December 2018, this strategy was developed in consultation with all Departments, including the Central Statistics Office (CSO), and sets out a detailed vision, with a set of goals and actions, to deliver a more joined-up, whole-of-Government, approach to how data is used and managed within the Public Service. It aims to put in place a series of measures to improve how data is governed, managed and re-used in a secure, efficient and transparent manner for the benefit of citizens, businesses and policy makers.

The strategy builds upon existing data initiatives such as the National Data Infrastructure (NDI), which concerns the identification of people, businesses and location; and the Data Sharing and Governance Act (DSA), which sets out a legal framework for the sharing and governance of data across Government. This strategy focuses on how Government is going to build on these initiatives, and to reuse data in a secure and transparent way, delivering services and creating policies in a more modern, agile and informed manner.

The strategy’s implementation will put Government in a better place to respond to service demands in an agile manner by:

• Providing more joined-up and integrated, end-to-end digital services;

• Better processes for policy formulation and evaluation;

• Improving protection and transparency of personal data processing; and

• Reducing administration by cutting the need for businesses and citizens to provide the same data over and over again.

The OGCIO continues to work with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the Central Statistics Office and other stakeholders to develop projects that will implement the actions called out in the strategy, seeking to drive better management of data across Government, and consequently improved service provision.

 

5 The Public Service Data Strategy

The Public Service Data Strategy 2019-2023 sets out a detailed vision with a set of goals and actions to deliver a more joined-up whole-of-Government approach to how data is used and managed within the public service. It aims to put in place a series of measures to improve how data is governed, managed and re-used in a secure, efficient and transparent manner, for the benefit of citizens, businesses and policy makers.

Its implementation will put Government in a better place to respond to service demands in an agile manner, by:

  • Providing more joined-up and integrated, end-to-end digital services
  • Better processes for policy formulation and evaluation
  • Improving protection and transparency of personal data processing
  • Reducing administration by cutting the need for businesses and citizens to provide the same data over and over again

More information and resources can be found at this link.


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