22 February, 2018
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

The sharing of individual-level data between public services

There is currently a lot of excitement around the (better) use of data. John Manzoni recently referred to data as the “lifeblood of twenty-first century government”, capable of driving policy and service development and powering decisions on the frontline. Data sharing which enables the linkage of information is believed to be a key element to unleashing the power of data and transforming public service delivery.

Despite this enthusiasm, the debate around data in the political world is not generating concrete action. The Government’s Transformation Strategy recognised data as “critical to delivering many essential services”, but does not address what this means in practice. As it stands, the rhetoric in government is only scratching the surface and is unlikely to bring change at scale.

Overcoming barriers to data sharing, such as data standards, interoperability issues and complex information governance frameworks, demands a more comprehensive analysis. Previous work has focused on the benefits and risks of sharing data without addressing what data sharing actually is and without recognising that distinct forms of data sharing come with different considerations. By starting with the premise that data sharing is key to improving public service delivery, discussion can move on to finding practical recommendations for how data sharing can be facilitated to enable real service transformation.

As part of Reform’s research on how best to enable data sharing to facilitate better service delivery, we hosted a roundtable event to discuss the above themes further. The event brought together approximately 20 informed and influential leaders from various sectors. It took place on Thursday 22nd February at 10.30am-12.00am in London.