New research from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) highlights some of the difficulties to data sharing across local and central government.
Through interviews with local councils, the report aims to understand the barriers that council staff face which prevent them from signing up to agreements to share personally identifiable (PI) data, necessary for facilitating DLUHC data linkage projects.
The report identifies key barriers to data sharing, including legal, privacy and logistical concerns, as well as a lack of clarity on the benefits of national data linking.
It was revealed that while some local councils are aware of the benefits of data sharing and linking at a local level, they said they want a deeper understanding of the additional potential benefits and tangible value from national data linking.
Trust and confidence are essential factors in the willingness to share data. However, council staff reported insufficient engagement and a perceived lack of understanding from central government.
Clearly, local authorities continue to be unclear on the benefits of national data linking. Clear communication and better engagement are required to increase the impact of future data sharing projects.
Stephen Aldridge, Chief Economist & Director for Analysis and Data at DLUHC commented on the findings: "The key learnings and recommendations in this report will help DLUHC and local councils to tackle barriers to data sharing practices and facilitate better policy and service provision. DLUHC remains committed to exploring solutions to enable better data usage and communications across central and local government.
"We are committed to continuing to develop our evidence base on the causes of and solutions to homelessness and rough sleeping, working with other government departments, local councils and expert advisers and charities across the sector to facilitate change."