Reporting to you
The review of the Data Sharing (Government Sector) Act 2015 is complete and the report published. The report meets a statutory requirement to review the Act to determine whether its policy objectives remain valid and whether the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives.
Strong and diverse participation
Thank you for your input into the review: 31 stakeholder interviews, 81 survey responses and five written submissions informed the final report. There was strong engagement from stakeholders from across NSW Government, including Regional NSW and Resilience NSW, the private sector and the public. Groups including the Council for Civil Liberties and the Law Society of NSW gave input and the Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) was consulted.
The Act meets its objectives
The data sharing context matured in the five years since the development of the Act and so too has the appetite and need for data sharing amongst NSW Government agencies. Data more than ever is being relied upon to develop evidence-based policy, respond to emergencies, and provided tailored services for the people of NSW.
The review found that the Act is meeting its policy objectives, however there are several areas that can be improved. The recommendations seek to ensure the Act reflects the current data-sharing needs of NSW Government, including building upon lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recommendations for improvement
The report makes 14 recommendations to update and improve the Act and privacy legislation to better support the data sharing needs of agencies and encourage more effective policy and program design. Several of the recommendations are interrelated. A summary is below.
- Support on-sharing of data insights – Amend section 9 of the Act to enable de-identified data insights to be on-shared by the agency performing analytics (with conditions)
- Strengthen existing cross-jurisdictional data sharing – Amend the Act to recognise data sharing with the Commonwealth Government and other states and territories is lawful under the Act
- Address data sharing needs in emergencies in NSW privacy legislation – Amend NSW privacy legislation to allow data sharing in emergencies
- streamline the approach for approval of de-identified linked datasets to be used within government – Development of a standardised framework for privacy assurance in the creation of de-identified linked datasets
- Clarify data sharing precedence to increase data sharing – Development of guidance in relation to the precedence of the Act with other NSW legislation including privacy legislation
- Improve the efficiency of data sharing – Development of a standard data sharing agreement between agencies including standard terms and conditions
- Clarify data sharing functions across NSW Government – Publication of guidance that the Act is for use by all NSW Government agencies
- Clarify DAC’s role and authority – Clarification of the role of the DAC, and its whole of NSW Government function
- Create centralised linked data sets – Develop a centralised library of high-value data sets for use across NSW Government
- Clarify the scope of data sharing – Publish guidance on usage of private sector data by NSW Government
- Clarify definitions in the Act – Alignment of definitions with wording used by the Commonwealth Government Office of the National Data Commissioner
- Support consistent interpretation and greater usability of the Act – Updating existing supporting materials for the Act and development of further material clarifying provisions of the Act
- Support efficient data verification – Agencies that provide data under a Ministerial Direction will work with the DAC to ensure data is interpreted correctly and insights verified
- Promote greater, more timely and more efficient data sharing through the use of the Act – Promotion of the Act to encourage greater use
You can see further details on the findings of the review and recommendations for improving data sharing across NSW Government in the report.
The recommendations will be implemented in 2022 and there may be further consultation for workshopping and testing out their real-world application.
Again, we thank all stakeholders for their input into the review.
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