CDDO releases guidance on essential shared data assets

Data reuse within government is critical to more effective policy development, digital services and operations. But how can critical data assets be identified, managed and captured effectively? 

To improve data management practice, the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) has released new policy and guidance about essential shared data assets (ESDA). ESDAs refer to data assets that are critical to the delivery of cross-government operations. 

The new policy document seeks to establish a clear, standardised and agreed way of identifying and reporting such data assets. It includes direct outcomes, data in scope and organisational and administrative scope.

The guidance states that the Chief Data Officer (or equivalent role) is responsible for collating the list of ESDAs for their organisation. It also covers in detail the process through which departments need to go through to identify such assets and report them back to CDDO. 

As per these resources, by the end of December 2023, departments are expected to provide an initial list of ESDAs, followed by relevant metadata. These will provide the initial implementation targets for the metadata standards related to creating a data marketplace by 2025 - as set out in CDDO's roadmap 2022 to 2025, which we reported on earlier this year. 

“This is a step change in the way the government approaches dataSue Bateman discoverability and reuse, and sets the basis for delivering the government’s Data Marketplace,” said Sue Bateman, Chief Data Officer at CDDO in a blog post. “This work will bring more clarity to a complex landscape, by providing a shared cross-government framework of key data roles and their associated responsibilities.”

She explained that this approach to identifying ESDA’s helps CDDO to understand what data government needs ‘as a whole’ and how this needs to respond to emerging challenges. "Where data is shared or has the potential to be shared between two organisations it is important that both organisations have a shared understanding of the roles and accountabilities associated with the data asset."

The new data ownership model for government defines roles around those essential shared data assets and drives accountabilities around key data principles. 

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