The Cabinet Office has published a consultation paper proposing the introduction of a pair of data sharing gateways that should, it says, improve public services and support the fight against fraud.
In briefing notes accompanying the Better Use of Data paper, the Cabinet Office says that proportionate, secure and well-governed information sharing between public authorities can improve the lives of citizens. It can also support decisions on the economy which allow businesses to flourish, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector. The government aims to do more to unlock the power of data.
The consultation looks at enabling information sharing between public authorities to improve the lives of citizens and support decisions on the economy and society.
The proposals discussed in the paper fall into three categories:
Improving public services
- allowing public authorities to share personal data in specific contexts to improve the welfare of a specific person
- enabling public authorities to access to civil registration data (births, deaths and marriages)
Addressing fraud and debt
- helping citizens manage their debt more effectively and reduce the overdue debt that they owe to government
- helping detect and prevent the losses government currently experiences due to fraudulent activity
Allowing use of data for research and official statistics
- giving the Office for National Statistics access to detailed administrative government data to improve their statistics
- using de-identified data in secure facilities to carry out research for public benefit
The proposals include reforms to the way government uses individual citizens’ data to improve the public services they rely on, as well as measures to ensure that the rich datasets available to government can be properly used to produce world-leading research and statistics.
The consultation also proposes new legislation that would allow public authorities to charge researchers to provide data, in order to cover costs. It also proposes that the UK Statistics Authority undertakes an accreditation process to ensure that researchers given the data are accredited.
Launching the paper, Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock said: “There is huge potential for improving citizens’ lives through data sharing in the UK. This consultation will help make sure we get data right and bolster security while making people’s lives better.”