The Data Availability and Transparency (DAT) Bill, once enacted will create a new data sharing scheme, the Data Availability and Transparency Act (DATA) scheme. The introduction of the DATA scheme will bring exciting opportunities for sharing Australian Government data with trusted organisations seeking to improve service delivery, for the benefit of the Australian community.
Dataplace, an initiative of the Office of the National Data Commissioner (ONDC), will make it easier to discover and request access to data, including under the forthcoming DATA scheme. Dataplace is a new, whole-of-government platform that will manage data sharing requests for the Australian Government.
Amongst the barriers to accessing Government data, which the ONDC heard first hand during stakeholder consultation, is confusion about the data Government holds. People attempting to use Government data often don’t know what data Government has and which agency holds that data. And if they do know the agency who is the custodian of that data, it can be difficult to figure out who to contact and how; that’s where Dataplace will come in.
Dataplace will facilitate and co-ordinate requests for data across Australian Government agencies. It brings the DATA scheme to life by enabling and encouraging safe data sharing. And it will make it easier for users and data custodians by coordinating requests to the right agency, or many agencies if needed. While Dataplace will manage the process of requesting access to data; it will not be a mechanism to actually transmit or store data.
At present APS agencies manage data access in their own way and often without a clear and defined process. It can be a confusing and time consuming activity. Using Dataplace, people can submit a request for data through a single interface and it will be sent to all nominated custodians, avoiding the need to individually send several requests to various departments and agencies. Requests will be tracked and, in the event the data can’t be shared safely under the DATA scheme, the reasons for this will be provided to the data user.
Custodians of data (Commonwealth agencies) will have a tool to help manage access to data that embeds a consistent process and a clear and considered way to assess requests. It will provide greater transparency by providing information to the data user about how the request is tracking and if data can’t be shared, the reasons why.
Importantly, Dataplace will embed the use of the Data Sharing Principles, a key safeguard of the DATA scheme, as the risk management framework to assess whether sharing can be done safely. All successful data sharing requests will be formalised in a data sharing agreement, setting out the terms and conditions of the data sharing project, how benefits will be realised and how risks will be managed.
Dataplace will, over time, provide greater intelligence into the types of data requested, allowing for more effective planning and data sharing oversight. It will facilitate more effective and safer sharing of data that can realise better research and development opportunity, improve Government services, policies and programs.