John Manzoni, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office, and Sarah Healey, Permanent Secretary, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport attended the Commons Public Account Committee to answer on the challenges of using data across Government.
In 2017 Government Transformation Strategy Government committed to appointing Chief Data Officer, however fast track to 2019 and the position has not yet been filled. In the PAC session, John Manzoni admitted he does not think conditions for the success of the role are quite there as of now. Manzoni indicated that the position will most likely be filled by an outside candidate and he wants to ensure that this position would be successful and that is why Government has taken some time to make sure the time is right to appoint CDO.
Both John Manzoni and Sarah Healey said that main barriers to sorting out data issues across Government were quality of data, consistent application of data standards and culture as well as legacy, IT and funding. Data sharing across Government would make things a lot easier to manage, however departments first need to face technical and cultural challenges that stall effective interdepartmental data sharing.
Sarah Healey also said she would have liked to see more progress on National Data Strategy, however, the progress has been slowed down by Brexit. People have been moved from the Data Strategy team to help with No Deal planning and were tasked to get a good understanding on how data has been used across Departments. Sarah said this is helping now on the work they are doing following the call for evidence on the National Data Strategy.
To watch a video recording of PAC session please see here.