Background to the report

Government wants more effective use of data and data-sharing across public services. Data is government’s biggest asset and it is critically important to improve data to be able to share it better and exploit its benefits. But for established organisations, these benefits are not simple to achieve in practice.

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Scope of the report

This guide is for senior leaders responsible for delivering government services. Our aim is to encourage decision‑makers to realise the benefits of better use of data by helping them understand in more detail the core issues to be addressed which have held back progress in the past.

We focus on data to support the operational delivery of public services, but much of our guide will also be relevant to data for decision-making and to improve performance.

Our guide discusses overcoming barriers in data sharing, data quality, data standards, resourcing, access to raw data and APIs (application programming interfaces), creating cross-government data sets for multiple users, data analytics.

We also look at ways forward including: reviewing why initiatives have failed in the past, embedding data standards, improving data quality, addressing legacy issues, enabling data-sharing.