E-Leaders Statement on “fostering a data-driven public sector”

 

30 September 2015, Tokyo, Japan


The OECD “E-Leaders", the eminent group of senior officials heading national digital government agendas, gathered in Tokyo, Japan on 29-30 September 2015, to discuss the critical role of digital technologies and data for more inclusive and sustainable growth. With the increasing globalisation of ICT challenges, we have appreciated the presence at the meeting of experts from APEC who supported a broad exchange of views and good practices.


As digital technologies have become indispensable at all stages of the policy cycle, governments are preparing for a data-driven public sector to manage and make responsible use of the growing wealth of available information. A strategic approach to adopting new technologies, managing data and taking advantage of emerging trends, includes:

 

  • Using data to engage citizens and improve openness. Existing global partnerships and international initiatives such as the International Open Data Charter, Open Data Working Group of the OGP, OD4SD, etc. are important opportunities to raise awareness of how data can inform citizen voices, strengthen transparency and integrity, and improve opportunities for engagement with the public sector.

  • Bringing users’ perspectives into the design of public policies and services. Data is a critical tool to help governments solve complex challenges, generate innovative ideas, and design policies based on actual user needs. Examples include better infrastructure planning, targeted spending programmes and support for victims in crisis or disaster situations. Increasing the availability and interoperability of government-held data – combined with data analytics and predictive modelling techniques – are all tools to support more tailored and citizen-focused services.

  • Finding innovative ways to implement policies and deliver services. Data-driven public sectors thrive in environments that allows for new types of partnerships, experimentation, “fast failure” and the opportunity to move beyond “legacy” systems and ways of working. For example, private-public partnerships both with the private sector and non-traditional players - such as start-ups and technology-enabled community groups – are a key way to drive agility and responsiveness, and to support a more risk-tolerant culture in the public sector. Similarly, involving front-line implementers facilitates a closer understanding of users’ needs while fostering networks of innovation within governments. Cloud computing, social networks and open government data are opening up opportunities to enable these new types of partnerships.

  • Improving capacities and tools to assess the impact of policies and increase governments’ accountability. By incorporating data on actual use and satisfaction into the policy evaluation cycle, a data-drive public sector can help improve project management, strengthen policies and build accountability. Increased use of business cases is an important way to build data into public sector decision-making.


A data-driven public sector depends on recognising data as a key asset for the public sector as a whole, and not only for individual departments. As such, data should flow and be re-usable across the whole system. This will be a critical step for improving public sector productivity. However, increased pressure to optimise the benefits of data is accompanied by risks linked to granting and enforcing rights to access, share and re-use of government data and information by a larger number of institutional and non-institutional actors. The availability of the necessarily skills and infrastructure is essential to reap the benefits of data, as is consideration of the appropriate use of analytical tools.


By providing system-wide governance structures that are appropriate and ‘fit-for-purpose’, governments can better balance the new opportunities and risks of data use to promote cross-agency service design and delivery, and to create more equitable relationships between governments and citizens.


The Recommendation of the OECD Council on Digital Government Strategies, adopted in July 2014, aims to support the development and implementation of digital strategies to build public trust by making governments more responsive, inclusive and user-focused.


As the digital leaders for our respective national administrations, we are committed to developing the vision and tools needed to implement the recommendation, including creating a Digital Government Toolkit that will contain the practical and pragmatic steps that countries can take to realise the benefits of a data-driven public sector as a key contribution to strengthening inclusive growth, while minimising its risks.

 

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