Focus on data NSW ICT strategy update

Data sharing, analytics and measures to promote open government in Digital+ 2016

The final update to the current New South Wales government ICT strategy, which was original launched in 2012, includes a focus on breaking down data silos between state agencies and boosting the use of data to drive evidence-based policy.

The update, launched today, comes on the heels of a state government announcement that it will establish a whole-of-government Data Analytics Centre (DAC).

The state's minister for innovation and better regulation, Victor Dominello, in August announced plans for the NSW DAC.

The minister told an event at the University of Technology Sydney that a committee of experts, including the state's chief scientist and engineer, and NSW's information, privacy and customer service commissioners, had been established within the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation.

Earlier this week legislation that creates a streamlined framework for data sharing between state government agencies, including sharing data with the NSW DAC, received royal assent.

"New South Wales government departments and agencies currently collect and retain data provided by the people of New South Wales," Dominello said during his second reading speech on the Data Sharing (Government Sector) Bill 2015.

"However, there is no requirement for the sharing of that data with other departments or agencies to inform more efficient, strategic decision-making. This siloed approach is a hindrance to the delivery of services that the people of New South Wales deserve.

"Government cannot continue to operate in this way. Government must be more agile, faster and smarter in the way it operates to meet the requirements of the people of New South Wales in the 21st century. It must harness data assets to deliver better outcomes for the community."

"The bill makes it easier for agencies to share data by providing the authority, up till now lacking, for agencies to actively share data," the minister said.

"The DAC's collection and analysis of data from a variety of sources will facilitate the delivery of better services and build a much improved evidence base to support policy development, informed by trusted data," Dominello said.

"The DAC will become custodian of any new data products created through the aggregation of datasets where there is no other natural custodian, reducing the burden on agencies to continually extract and provide exports of the same data for different research queries."

"Working with the research, start-up and data science communities, the DAC will bring a new focus and insight to existing policy challenges, while opening up opportunities to consider new ways of designing better customer services," states the NSW government's update to its ICT strategy, Digital+ 2016.

The ICT strategy update includes a roadmap for the DAC with a goal of having the centre by Q2 2016 delivering projects aligned with government priorities and by Q3 establishing a register of data assets and information sharing agreements between NSW agencies.

Other DAC priorities outlined in the strategy update include leading the development of a cross-jurisdictional approach to data sharing and analytics for consumer protection and regulation, and national collaboration to build capability and standard practices for data sharing and analytics across sectors and jurisdictions.

Elsewhere the ICT strategy update sets out a number of other priorities to boost data asset sharing within government.

Open data, open government

The NSW government will update its open data policy and publish a forward release schedule for datasets, the update states.

The state government in 2013 launched its open data policy, which outlined an 'open by default' approach.

The ICT strategy update says that by Q4 2018, reports published by the NSW government will be made available in at least one machine-readable format, and integration points between OpenGov NSW, Data NSW and the Digital State Archive will have been developed.

The strategy update includes the launch by Q2 2016 of a 'NSW Customer Dashboard'.

"The NSW Customer Dashboard is a digital tool for NSW Government to measure and report performance from a customer perspective on a whole of government basis," the document states.

"The NSW Customer Dashboard will assist in monitoring progress towards the NSW State Priorities, and promotes a culture of accountability by providing a single snapshot of real time data across NSW Government.

The ICT strategy update also outlines priorities for Service NSW, cyber security, governance, and ICT procurement and investment.

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