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Increasingly, governments around the world are realising that the data they collect is one of their key strategic assets. Data-driven decision-making allows governments to allocate their resources more effectively and deliver better outcomes for the people they serve.  

However, the value of data lies in the government’s ability to harness its value – and herein lies the challenge! Many agencies across government struggle with poor-quality data that is fragmented across various systems, limited data literacy in business areas, and confusing processes to manage, share and release information.  

The need to address these common challenges collectively is the genesis of the NSW Government’s Data Champions Network.  

A new network for data champions  

A couple of weeks ago, the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI) launched the Data Champions Network – a diverse group of NSW Government data experts and enthusiasts who are passionate about improving data maturity in their agency.   

The network provides a collaborative space for data champions to share their data experiences, show their work, and solve data problems collectively. As one data champion put it, “this is a great group to leverage off in a peer-to-peer advisory capacity.” 

So who are these champions? 

When people think of a “data champion,” it’s only natural to think of a highly trained computer scientist crunching numbers into an excel spreadsheet. However, not all data champions are data warriors!  

Our Network encompasses any NSW Government employee that understands the vital role of data in service and policy transformation and who actively works to embed the use of data in their agency.  

Data Champions have three key roles to play, to: 

  • Share their data experiences, lessons learned and relevant resources with the Network to overcome data-related challenges.  

  • Provide input on new data initiatives to drive best data practices across NSW government.  

  • Keep their respective agency informed of NSW Government data initiatives and strategic directions. 

We in the Information and Data Policy team at DFSI are going to be supporting our data champions by providing them with updates on the latest developments and best practices in the world of data, keeping them connected via a dedicated online group, and hosting interactive workshops where they can discuss and collaborate on all their burning data issues.  

Insights from our first meeting  

The topic for our first meeting was ‘data governance’ and DFSI hosted several interactive sessions where data champions were asked to share their perspectives on data governance challenges and potential improvements.  

The number of ideas generated from this session demonstrate the extent of data governance challenges across government agencies. However, the number of common challenges found, as well as the significant number of ideas generated around improvements also reflect the potential for cross-agency collaboration in achieving a strong and sustainable data governance model for NSW. 

What’s next? 

Our aim is to have data champions in every agency across government – if you’re interested in becoming a data champion or are aware of anyone who might be, please get in touch by emailing