When used effectively, data can provide governments with rich insights about their customers and communities, aid in decision-making, and ultimately drive better outcomes that people can really see and feel. To ensure government decision-making is truly evidence-based and customer-driven, agencies need timely access to trusted, accurate and reliable data. It is therefore critical that government data assets are governed effectively.
Good data governance is important because it is the mechanism by which agencies can oversee, monitor and control the management of their data. It is critical to the NSW Government’s ability to extract value from data assets, share data across the public and private sector in a safe and secure way, and use this data to address shared policy challenges and attain whole-of-government policy objectives.
While there are exemplars of good data governance practice across the NSW Government, many agencies operate in an ad hoc way, leading to inconsistency in how data is collected, managed, used and shared across government. To achieve the potential gains from the exponential volumes of data being created, and to ensure a coordinated approach to achieving policy objectives, agencies need a consistent approach to data governance that is built on a common understanding of its benefits, obligations and best practice.
This Toolkit has been developed to provide NSW Government agencies with practical and consistent guidance on the key components of an effective data governance program, as well as to create a shared understanding of what good data governance looks like. While compliance with this Toolkit is not mandatory, following the guidance in the Toolkit will:
- support agencies to maximise the value of data while reducing data-related risk;
- assist agencies in meeting their legislative and regulatory obligations;
- ensure data is managed in line with national and international standards;
- facilitate better interoperability between agencies; and
- build data governance maturity at both the departmental and all-of-government levels.
This Toolkit does not prescribe a one-size-fits-all approach to data governance. Each agency should consider its needs, organisational environment, and capacity to implement the guidance and adapt it in ways that make most sense for their organisation.
The Toolkit provides guidance on:
- the principles that underpin effective data governance;
- the legal and regulatory environment in which agencies operate;
- how to set up data governance structures, roles and responsibilities;
- the organisational enablers required to drive data governance maturity; and
- the data management functions that support data governance.
Which data assets does the Toolkit apply to?
The Toolkit applies to all data of business value which is collected, created, used and stored by NSW Government agencies. This includes both new and legacy data assets.
The primary audience of the Toolkit is NSW Government agencies who have identified a need to better plan, monitor and control their data. The Toolkit is primarily intended for organisational data governance bodies, senior executives, business users, data custodians, and any staff who are interested in learning more about data governance.
Local government, State Owned Corporations (SOCs), and entities funded by the NSW Government may also find the Toolkit useful. However, it is important to note that some of the legislative or policy obligations outlined in the Toolkit may not apply to organisations outside of the NSW Government.
The Toolkit contains twelve modules that are designed to help agencies improve their ability to govern their data. The modules are:
Depending on the agency’s needs, the Toolkit can be read in its entirety or users can select the module relevant to their data governance needs.
Development of the Toolkit
This Toolkit has been developed through a consultative process with data users and subject matter experts across the NSW Government. The NSW Government’s Data Champions Network has played a key role in its design and the Toolkit will benefit from ongoing input from Network members, as well as local, state and federal public sector agencies.
Maintaining the Toolkit
To ensure the Toolkit continues to meet agency needs, the Toolkit will be regularly reviewed and updated as data needs change, data governance and management technologies evolve, standards develop, and best practice matures. Agencies and other users of the Toolkit are encouraged to contribute to and provide feedback on the Toolkit by emailing: DataChampions@customerservice.nsw.gov.au