Feeds

Think tank calls for new data laws

Who shares wins

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Government needs a more clearly defined legal framework for data sharing, says the Social Market Foundation (SMF)

The think tank has made the proposal in a report, "Who Shares Wins? Transforming the public services with intelligent information", published today.

It says citizens should be placed at the heart of any government data sharing policy, but that a number of problems remain to be resolved.

One of these is uncertainty over the legal implications of sharing data. The SMF says Parliament should pass a bill to establish the powers of departments to share data when they can identify clear benefits, and that the cases should be assessed by a regulator. When a case is accepted public servants would not need further permission or legislation for relevant data sharing.

Another proposal is that, if possible, people should be given access to the audit trails created when public servants access their data, and that each government department should have a single point of contact to investigate allegations of misuse. Related to this is a proposal for departments and their agencies to appoint the equivalent of Caldicott guardians, who oversee data sharing in the NHS and social services.

The report also says the government needs a clear mechanism for arranging compensation between departments saving money and those incurring new costs through data sharing. This could be achieved through a price structure or via Treasury adjustments to departmental budgets.

The SMF also warns that too much data sharing will create new inefficiencies and may compromise citizens' freedoms. It cites the case of the government's proposed National Identity Register, saying it could have "implications for security and liberty, revealing unnecessary personal information and delivering few benefits to citizens in return".

Alexander Isaac, researcher at the SMF and co-author of the report, said: "To keep pace with private sector efficiency and service quality, government will have to prioritise data sharing.

"Building confidence in this initiative will need a clear commitment to enhancing citizens' information rights and to the use of data sharing to improve people's experiences of government."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.