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GDS throws focus on ‘operationalising data’



Presentation at Socitm conference points to more standardised data model for government services

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has launched a workstream on the use of data in government services as the latest element in the Government as a Platform (GaaP) initiative.

Felicity Singleton, the enabling strategy programme director at GDS, told the Socitm Annual Conference that the move to “operationalise data” is a step towards helping organisations improve their services.

The work is being led by the government data director Paul Maltby. Singleton said it has not yet taken full shape, but that the early focus is on registers and a canonical source of data – a logical data model that would provide an accepted standard for government.

She said there needs to be work on how to define various entities used in data, citing the example of land and cars, and that government currently has no agreed model. The workstream provides a new element of GDS’s work in setting standards and providing the basis for solutions to be interoperable.

“In terms of building services in this way (GaaP) there’s a need to talk about what data looks like,” she said. “Over the next three months we’re going to do the initial work on looking at the challenges.”

Other platforms

Singleton also outlined the other elements of Government as a Platform, taking in a payments platform, status tracking and notifications, hosting and common technology.

She acknowledged that so far GDS has concentrated on digital services in central government. It is now looking to work more with local government and the health service, but she said it wanted to work with the sectors rather than try to impose any solutions.

This has so far involved some early conversations with the Department for Communities and Local Government, which are expected to become more focused after the government’s Spending Review is announced next month.

“We will build a platform and standards that underpin the services together,” she said. “But all the work will be done collectively to make sure that it works for everybody.”

Image from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, public domain via Wikimedia Commons




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