GDS throws spotlight onto plans to focus direction of Whitehall’s data management
The Government Digital Service (GDS) has thrown the spotlight onto an initiative to sharpen central government’s data potential with the appointment of Paul Maltby (pictured) to head up the effort.
GDS chief Stephen Foreshew-Cain announced the appointment in a blogpost, emphasising its importance as one of the body’s three areas of focus, along with digital and technology.
Maltby has been director of open data and government innovation in the Cabinet Office since 2013, prior to which he had stints at Leicestershire County Council, the Home Office and the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.
His priorities in the data director role include furthering some as yet unspecified workstrands on data management, and working with departments to help get their data right.
This could involve a balancing act between providing a lead for government bodies while not encroaching on their authority to manage their own operations. As a longstanding advocate of open data, and a champion of the CSV format, Maltby has emphasised the importance of accurate data, but in past interviews has said it should remain the responsibility of the individual organisations.
Foreshew-Cain was also careful to emphasise that the GDS does not intend to lay down strict laws on data management.
“There’s good work being done across government, and we want to support and encourage it,” he said. “Even as policy, governance and controls remain at the centre, it’s important that the management of data should remain with departments.
“Our aim is to help ensure government data is good data, and is put to good use.”
But he emphasised the data is part of the national infrastructure and there is a need for some central coordination.
Pic from GOV.UK under Open Government Licence 3.0