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Scottish councils get data taskforce for Covid-19


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Digital Office for Scottish Local Government has set up cross-sector data taskforce to support the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has called for councils to become involved in the group and said it will also include representatives from the Scottish Government, public health, academia and the third and private sectors.

The group will aim to identify, create and share data, tools and resources to help co-ordinate the response on a national scale, taking a more proactive approach than has so far been the case.

The move comes in response to worries that there has not been enough appropriate data sharing to support the pandemic response, that organisations have been duplicating their efforts and have been unable to make timely decisions due to shortcomings in the data available.

Writing in the Digital Office’s briefing paper on the taskforce, its chief digital officer Martyn Wallace says: “Just like all the Scottish public sector, we are needing timely and accurate information, now more than ever, to inform our joint operational decisions which will support our communities and citizens now and into the future as we respond to the current Covid-19 crisis.

Richer information

“Through recent consultation with key stakeholders and partners across the public sector, it became apparent we are all looking for very similar datasets and all have a desire to combine our data to help with richer information to base our responses on.”

Among the issues to be addressed by the taskforce are the possibility of adopting common approaches to datasets, understanding what skills are available so it can spread the workload between councils, and where robotic process automation can be used to support data creation and assimilation.

It will also deal with where key data markers for some future conditions, such as economic recovery and the public health response, can be jointly created and shared nationally.

The Scottish Government already has a data taskforce in place as part of its Covid-19 response.

Image from iStock, fotostorm

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