Annex A. Background: OECD work on data-driven public sector

The OECD has contributed to the thinking around the role of data in governments, society and the economy. Work from various areas across the OECD helps relevant actors understand the opportunities and challenges presented by recognising the value of data. Box A.2. gives an overview of the OECD work on data. Collectively they form an important body of work that has shaped the conversation about the application of data and allowed for the discussions that led to the development of this report.

The OECD’s Going Digital project, initiated in 2017, supports stronger and more inclusive growth from the digital transformation by building a coherent and comprehensive policy approach. It aims to help citizens, governments and businesses shape digital transformation so that it benefits society and leaves no one behind (OECD, 2019[1]). Digital transformation impacts every aspect of our lives; while there are opportunities for this to improve lives, there is also a risk of it disrupting things in ways that negatively impact on people’s well-being.

The OECD Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies (OECD, 2014[2]) provides the basis for governments to consider their role in creating the strategic conditions for a digital by design and data-driven culture. These conditions not only have an impact on ministerial institutions and the “business of government”, but should also foster effective delivery throughout the public sector and its agencies including providers of health, education, and other public goods and services. Principle 3 of the Recommendation focuses on data, and specifically the need for supportive frameworks to encourage the re-use of data and build the foundations for unlocking the value of raw and isolated data in delivering 21st century digital government (Box A.1.)

The crosscutting nature of the role of data throughout society highlights the value of collaboration within the OECD. The OECD Secretariat brings together the ecosystem of actors engaged in the digital economy, open data and open science policy areas at the country level to better understand how the fostering of improved access and sharing of data can contribute to better governance and public value creation.

This report draws on cross-directorate work within the OECD, including the OECD Project on Enhancing Access to and Sharing of Data, led by the OECD Directorate for Public Governance and the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, through their relevant committees – the Public Governance Committee; the Committee on Digital Economy Policy; and the Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy.

Other OECD Recommendations, such as the OECD Recommendation of the Council concerning Access to Research Data from Public Funding (OECD, 2006[3]), the OECD Recommendation of the Council for Enhanced Access and More Effective Use of Public Sector Information (OECD, 2008[4]) address data access and sharing, and provide guidance and best practices.

The OECD Directorate for Public Governance, has worked with OECD member and partner countries to:

  • Support governments in how the use of data can transform the public sector and issues of public governance through the data-driven public sector work stream initiated at the request of delegates at the 2015 meeting of the OECD Working Party of Senior Digital Government Officials (E-Leaders). This includes the work of the E-Leaders Thematic Group on a Data-driven Public Sector; the working paper “A data-driven public sector: Enabling the strategic use of data for productive, inclusive and trustworthy governance” (Ubaldi, van Ooijen and Welby, 2019[5]); and the analysis from various Digital Government Reviews. However, more critically it reflects the specific experiences of the six member countries (Denmark, Ireland, Korea, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom) that contributed to a comparative study of their own experiences. The output of the initial comparative research was discussed during the 2018 meeting of the OECD Working Party of Senior Digital Government Officials (E-Leaders) in Seoul, Korea.

  • Assess how data governance models are implemented, and integrated, within the framework of broader public sector digitalisation efforts, including digital government and government data policies and initiatives.

  • Analyse how the components of data governance models (i.e. leadership; stewardship; and policies, rules, standards and data interoperability) are deployed within public sector organisations and across different policy sectors, and provide the ground for greater proactive, collaborative and open policy approaches (e.g. by opening up government data and using it for the joint design and delivery of public services).

  • Promote the definition, implementation, impact and sustainability of open government data (OGD) policies (OECD, 2018[6])

  • Explore the state of the art in emerging technologies including artificial intelligence and blockchain through the work of the E-Leaders Thematic Group on Emerging Technologies (Ubaldi et al., 2019[7]) and the OECD’s Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, 2019[8]; OECD, 2018[9])

  • Understand the drivers of trust in government institutions and use guidelines on measuring trust (OECD, 2018[10]; 2017[11]).

The OECD’s work on public sector data draws upon the expertise of the Directorate for Public Governance through different work streams, namely:

  • national reviews on the digital transformation of the public sector addressing public sector data governance [see for instance (OECD, 2017[12]; 2018[13]; 2019[14]; 2019[15]; 2019[16]; 2019[17])], OGD [see for instance (OECD, 2016[18]; 2018[19])], and digital government as a whole [see (OECD, 2018[20]; 2016[21])]

  • Recent and previous research work including the OECD Comparative Study on Data-driven public sector (unpublished); and working papers on data-driven public sector (Ubaldi, van Ooijen and Welby, 2019[5]), on well-being (Welby, 2019[22]), and OGD (Ubaldi, 2013[23]).

  • Comparative analytical work on OGD, including the 2018 OECD Open Government Data Report (2018[6]); the OECD Open, Useful and Re-usable Data (OURdata) Index; and OECD Compendium of good practices on the use of open data for anti-corruption (OECD, 2017[24])

  • Measurement work on OGD, namely the OECD Open Government Data Survey and the 2014, 2016 and 2019 (forthcoming) editions of the OECD Open, Useful and Re-usable (OURdata Index) [see (OECD, 2015[25]; 2017[26]; 2017[27])]; and on digital government, namely the Digital Government Survey 1.0 (2018/19).

These work streams are under the auspices of the OECD Working Party of Senior Digital Government Officials (E-leaders) and the Expert Group on Open Government Data, and are aligned to the principles of the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies (OECD, 2014[2]).

References

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