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DSA to set data standard for vulnerable people services

29/04/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Data Standards Authority (DSA) has called for input on create a data standard to support vulnerable people in finding information on relevant services.

Sad old lady looking out of window

It has launched a challenge to find an agreed standard for directories of public service data, saying it should help users and support workers find trusted and specific information relevant to what they need and where they live.

It said it should make it possible to find everything in one place, referred to the Open Referral UK data standard as a possibility for adoption, and said Adur and Worthing Councils have already provided good examples of specific user need scenarios.

Among its requirements are the definition of a single data structure, a description of which data elements make up a rich service record, a non-proprietary way of interchanging data between software products, and a simple language for querying service directories.

The GitHub page will be open for input until 28 May.

Explaining the current shortcomings, the DSA said: “Finding reliable information simply and quickly, and ideally from a single source, can be a challenge.

Need for simplicity

“Sadly, the process is often no simpler for those working inside an organisation that is providing these services. A single organisation might have multiple data directories inside it, all with varying quality and richness.

“This can be confusing enough to navigate in itself, but issues with data quality can also make organisations - or even separate departments inside them - lose confidence in the interoperability of their data with other services. This means they may create even more of their own data silos, instead of reusing existing data from across the services network.”

Image from iStock, giocalde

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