Victoria to launch ‘data agency’

New organisation to help drive data-guided policy making and service design

The Victorian government will create a ‘data agency’ as part of a new ICT strategy unveiled today. The organisation will work to boost data sharing between government agencies and develop analytics capabilities that can improve policy making and service design.

“Part of this work will involve identifying legislative and other barriers to information sharing,” the strategy states. “New arrangements for information sharing and data management across government will be developed.”

The government set a due date of January 2017 for the creation of the new agency.

Other data priorities include the reform of the state’s freedom of information legislation, developing standards to assess the quality of data released by the government, and developing an information management framework.

The government will also explore options for “the long term storage of data, which should aid discovery, increase security and improve availability of government information” and identify “potential master data sets and design the cross-sharing of these data sets with a supporting business case”.

In New South Wales the government last year created a Data Analytics Centre, which included passing legislation compelling agencies to share data with the new organisation.

The DAC, which was championed by NSW minister for innovation and better regulation Victor Dominello, is intended to break down silos between data held by different government agencies. The Data Sharing (Government Sector) Act 2015 authorises the minister to direct an agency to hand over specified data within 14 days.

The other three pillars of the new Victorian ICT strategy, which sets out priorities through to 2020, are boosting digital services, technology reform, and capability uplift.

The state doesn’t have the happiest history when it comes to public-sector IT projects.

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