Data plays an important role in making effective decisions, particularly within the public sector. Often public sector bodies need the same data and we end up with duplicate data collections which cost money and place unnecessary burden on those providing the data. Also complexities and concerns around data sharing are often identified as real barriers to improving public services and the services that citizens receive. Whilst the simple solution is for public bodies to share their data, there have long been barriers to doing this.
New data sharing powers introduced by the Digital Economy Act 2017 may help address such barriers, whilst introducing safeguards to ensure that the privacy of citizens’ data is protected. The Digital Economy Act provides a clear framework for enabling data to be shared, where it is the right thing to do and where it complies with data protection legislation. We’re keen that public services in Wales benefit from these powers but to do so public bodies need to be named within the legislation.
Who can use the new powers?
The UK Government has already named which English and non-devolved public bodies will be able to use the new powers – including bodies such as local authorities, police and fire services, and UK Government departments such as DWP and HMRC. The Act will also specify the purposes for which bodies can share data to help improve the delivery of public services and reduce fraud and debt against the public sector.
Data sharing public bodies in Wales
We would like public bodies in Wales to also be able to access the new data sharing powers when they come into force later this year. To ensure all relevant bodies are named and can therefore share data with other named bodies across the UK we are consulting on a list of public bodies.
We want your views
We’d really appreciate your views on whether the public bodies we are proposing to name are the right ones. We’re also interested in your suggestions for how the new powers could be used in Wales in the future to support the delivery of public services. So if you have any thoughts or views you would like to share please respond to the consultation which will close on the 5th February 2018.
Full details of the new powers and our proposals, and information on how to respond can be found here: