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Fostering culture, leadership and capability

We foster a culture of data-driven decision-making through strong leadership and capability. Our people understand the importance of data and are equipped with the right skills to use it effectively.

Why this is important

Achieving better outcomes and experiences for our customers, requires the design, delivery and evaluation of the policies, programs and services we provide to be evidence-based. A data-driven culture is one in which data is used to inform the decisions that deliver these outcomes. It consists of both the intention (i.e. ‘will’) to use data in decision-making as well as the capability (i.e. ‘skill’) to do it.

A strong data culture is achieved when senior executive leaders play an active role in championing the value of data as a strategic asset and ensure that decision-making is informed by data. An example of this in action is the recommendations of the review of water data conducted by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer (see below).

To support a strong data culture across the sector, each cluster of NSW Government departments and agencies has appointed a Chief Data Officer (CDO). We have established the NSW Data Leadership Group to lead cross-sector collaboration and drive uplift in capability in the use and sharing of data for improved decision-making and release of open data to foster government transparency and innovation. The CDOs will develop a clear departmental and agency Data Roadmap to facilitate data use and sharing across government and align with the NSW Government Data Strategy.

Our Data Champions Network will continue to bring together data experts and enthusiasts from across NSW Government to share their data experiences and learning and showcase data initiatives and relevant resources.

A data-led culture also requires that all staff, regardless of their role, are data literate and that the skills and capabilities of staff in specialist data roles are maintained and they proactively apply data to business outcomes. To build data literacy and capability, we first need to understand our current state. We will conduct a Data Maturity assessment across NSW government to determine baseline data literacy and capability and inform capability building priorities. This will include definition of data roles and responsibilities. NSW Health is developing a data literacy capability framework to enable better decisions, improve use of data, enhance capability and strengthen data culture.

Making data available to decision-makers is also a key part of creating a data-driven culture. The theme “Accelerating actionable insights” provides more information.

"We need to improve data use across NSW Government to inform decisions." NSW Government Data Strategy Workshop Participant


  • We foster a strong data culture across NSW Government through our senior leaders.
  • We value and understand data and ensure it is available to, and used by, staff at all levels
    across government to inform decision-making.
  • We equip and empower our staff with the data skills and capability needed to perform their role effectively and use data safely.


Appoint a member of the senior executive from each Department as the Chief Data Officer to lead and champion data use and sharing across NSW Government.
Establish the NSW Data Leadership Group to drive the data agenda across
NSW Government.
Develop Data Roadmaps - high level plans that set out the actions and milestones for each department and agency to align with the NSW Government Data Strategy and their own strategic objectives.
Assess data maturity across NSW Government to determine baseline data
capability and inform capability building priorities, including defining data roles and responsibilities.

Case Studies

Last updated 07 Jun 2021