Challenges in using data across government – Transcript

Title: Caroline Harper, Audit Manager, National Audit Office

Date: 21 June 2019

I’m Caroline and I’m an Audit Manager at the National Audit Office.

I want to briefly talk about the report we’ve just completed on the challenges in using data across government.

Getting the right data in the right place at the right time is really important in terms of:

·      Making services work for the people who use them

·      Improving government’s systems and processes

·      Supporting better decisions.

Our report has found that:

·      Government has not treated data as a priority. This has been demonstrated by a lack of clear leadership on data issues in the past

·      The need to invest in good quality data is not well understood across government

·      There is a culture of tolerating and working around poor or missing data.

The effectiveness of the government’s work can be compromised if data is inadequate. The consequences of this is demonstrated by the Windrush situation, where the Home Office undertook elements of data sharing without fully assessing if the data it was using was good enough.

Although the government has made progress in some areas, fundamental issues are not being tackled.

We recommend that the government takes action to:

·      Establish clearer cross-government leadership and accountability to take forward data improvements

·      Develop consistent ways for government to collect and store data

·      Identify what sets of data held by government are a priority and look at ways to improve them.

For more information read our report online.