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8.3. Data-driven public sector

The digital revolution has brought opportunities and challenges for governments. New technologies have created new ways to generate, store, share and process data, and apply it in the creation of business, social and good governance value. In this context, a data-driven public sector governs and manages data as a strategic asset of and for public governance. It promotes efficient and trustworthy data management practices (from its generation to its re-use inside and outside the public sector) to design, deliver and monitor public policies and services, and measure the outcomes and performance of public governance.

Deploying a data-driven public sector implies setting the foundations right. This requires new institutional and policy frameworks to govern data production, management, sharing, processing and investment. The goal is for these data to contribute to business value, within the framework of data protection and security regulations, supported by the ethical handling of data. At a more technical level, data governance frameworks often address issues related to common data standards to ensure coherence and consistency, and streamline data flows in the public administrations. However, the Western Balkan region does not yet have a comprehensive policy on public sector data. In all Western Balkans except for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the governance and management of public sector data are often addressed as part of open government policies. While it is also the case in the majority of the OECD countries, four of them have developed a comprehensive public sector data policy.

Sharing of data within the public sector is crucial to seize the opportunities – of better anticipatory governance and monitoring of outcomes – brought by digital transformation, and to improve the coherence and effectiveness of public policies as a whole, thus benefiting citizens. Yet, challenges prevail in this respect, including barriers to interoperability and data exchange. In order to reduce existing legal and regulatory barriers to enable data exchange, more than half of the Western Balkans have adopted formal requirements to mandate public sector organisations to share all government data. Translating them into practice, however, would also require coordination between organisations, adoption of supporting technical architecture, harmonisation of data standards, etc. For instance, in order to enable and facilitate data sharing, Albania has integrated internal government IT systems based on which electronic records of public sector organisations are exchanged in real time in a secure way.

The principle of openness by default is also one critical element in developing a data-driven public sector, particularly when designing and implementing open government data efforts. It supports disclosure of public sector data in open formats, unless there is a need to protect them due to privacy or security risks. In addition, the use of digital technologies contributes to opening up the government processes. It is often observed in the Western Balkan region to require government data to be open. North Macedonia and Serbia have these requirements set out in their legal frameworks – Law on public sector data use in North Macedonia, and Law on eGovernment and by-law on the work of the open data portals in Serbia. These requirements also exist in more than half of OECD countries (57%).

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Methodology and definitions

Data were collected through the 2019 Survey for the Western Balkans on Digital Government. The survey was completed in June 2019. The data for Bosnia and Herzegovina, due to the complex constitutional setup, reflect the consolidated responses submitted by the State level, based on the individual responses received from the State level, the Entities and Brcko District. Data for OECD countries are derived from the 2019 OECD Survey on Digital Government

Further reading

OECD (2019), The Path to Becoming a Data-Driven Public Sector, OECD Digital Government Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/059814a7-en.

van Ooijen, C., Ubaldi, B. and Welby, B. (2019), “A data-driven public sector: Enabling the strategic use of data for productive, inclusive and trustworthy governance”, OECD Working Papers on Public Governance, No. 33, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/09ab162c-en.

Rivera Perez, A., Emilsson, C. and Ubaldi, B. (2020), “OECD Open, Useful and Re-usable data (OURdata) Index: 2019”, OECD Policy Papers on Public Governance No. 1, March 2020. OECD Publishing, Paris, http://www.oecd.org/gov/digital-government/policy-paper-ourdata-index-2019.htm

Figure notes

Data for Australia, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States are not available.

8.7. In the case of some OECD countries, even though there is no single dedicated public sector data policy, some central/federal line ministries and central/federal agencies – more than 50% in Iceland and Ireland, and between 10 and 50% for the Czech Republic – have their own formal public sector data policy in place.

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8.7. Existence of a comprehensive public sector data policy, 2019
8.7. Existence of a comprehensive public sector data policy, 2019

Source: For data on the Western Balkans, OECD (2019), Survey for the Western Balkans on Digital Government; For data on OECD, OECD (2019), Survey on Digital Government.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934129619

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8.8. Formal requirement on data sharing between public sector organisations, 2019
8.8. Formal requirement on data sharing between public sector organisations, 2019

Source: For data the Western Balkans, OECD (2019), Survey for the Western Balkans on Digital Government; For data on OECD, OECD (2019), Survey on Digital Government.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934129638

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8.9. Formal “open by default” requirements for government data, 2019
8.9. Formal “open by default” requirements for government data, 2019

Source: For data on the Western Balkans, OECD (2019), Survey for the Western Balkans on Digital Government; For data on OECD, OECD (2019), Survey on Digital Government.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934129657

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