Sharing the benefits: how to use data effectively in the public sector

The report demonstrates the potential of data sharing to transform public service delivery and improve outcomes for citizens. It explores various barriers to effective data sharing and how government can overcome these challenges to ‘get data right’. Doing so will enable better use of personal data within and between public-sector organisations.

Government is set on using data more effectively because it can improve the design, efficiency and outcomes of services. For example, when GPs and hospitals share information, they can identify which patients are most at risk of unnecessary hospital admissions, reducing admissions by up to 30 per cent.

The report shows that a missing layer of data infrastructure, poor data quality, a lack of public trust and legal complexities are all barriers to the effective use of data. To create the right infrastructure, data must be presented in standard formats to help improve data quality. To share personal data, the report also notes the importance of establishing trust between government and citizens and across government departments. It also highlights legal complexities around data sharing and the need to “demystify” data legislation so that public sector workers feel comfortable sharing data.

The report acknowledges national and local government have a role to play to ensure the effective use of data. It argues that to build on promises outlined in the Transformation Strategy, it requires clear leadership and a collaborative approach. Local government can also provide examples of best practice and improve data-sharing standards across the country.

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