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Data Standards Authority outlines strategy


Mark Say Managing Editor


The UK Government’s Data Standards Authority (DSA) has outlined four priorities for its work in a new strategy.

Digital folders over typing fingers

The document, with a title indicating it covers 2020-23 but a publication date of 21 December 2021, describes the ongoing work of the DSA, which was set up in April 2020 with members from a variety of data related roles in government.

It points to two main objectives: to set cross-government data standards by consulting with relevant experts and user groups; and setting direction and best practice for data standards in government.

The document says early engagement has led to the identification of the four priority areas for its work, the first of which is focused on APIs. The DSA is working on standards and best practice to enable departments to develop effective API strategies to make it easier to move data across their boundaries.

Second is the development of common standards for metadata, personal and business identifiers, reference data and geospatial data, all of which contribute to improving interoperability.

Governance effort

Third is data sharing governance, covering non-technical areas such as good practice in documentation, better understanding of resource implications and a shared language of terms for creating data sharing agreements.

Fourthly, the DSA is aiming to improve the adoption of data standards across government. This involves strengthening the existing spend controls process and its associated assessments and assurance, and aiming to incentivise the adoption of standards through better analysis and articulation of the benefits.

A summary of the relevant work so far – some of which was the responsibility of the Government Digital Service before the DSA’s creation – highlights the publication of metadata standards, the creation of an API Catalogue and design guidance, work with the Geospatial Commission and Ordnance Survey on the adoption of geospatial standards, and an initiative with the Office for National Statistics and British Library to pilot government use of the digital object identifier standards.

There are also plans to publish a data sharing governance framework early in 2022, and the DSA is working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on digital twin projects, and with international bodies such as W3C to influence best practice and standards development.

Image from iStock, NicoElNino

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