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Data Quality in the Public Sector

Data Quality in the Public Sector. Laptop on desk with graphs on the screen

Data is fundamental in driving effective decision-making: bad data informs bad decisions.

The Digital Transformation roadmap laid out by the UK Government is reliant on quality data. To achieve this ambitious plan, public bodies must view their data as a significant source of value to be treated as a major asset.

The Public Sector is rich in data, making it essential that public bodies are confident in the quality of data used to underpin decisions, inform policy and deliver services. However, for many this is not currently the case.

The 2019 Public Accounts Committee Report highlights concerns over the quality of the data collected, generated and ultimately utilised by government bodies.

Designed to help public sector bodies make better use of their data, the Government Data Quality Framework comprises five principles focused on building a culture of data quality and dispelling the myth that data quality is simply data cleansing.

In many instances, quality issues are identified in existing data and rectified in isolation, rather than considering how the issues arose and implementing solutions for future prevention, leading to wasted resources.

The third principle: ‘Assess quality throughout the data lifecycle’, emphasises the need to implement quality measures throughout the entire lifecycle, from point of capture. Analysing your organisation's data lifecycle will identify areas where data quality issues could occur enabling solutions to be implemented.

Point of capture is the first stage where quality issues can arise due to many different factors, such as human entry error, incomplete data, duplicate data records, and inconsistent non-standardised formats. By using Data8's data validation solutions, quality issues can be avoided, and resources can be saved later in the life cycle.

Data verification tools provide a reliable solution to capture data faster and more accurately, streamlining the process and preventing data quality issues. With integrations you can be up and running in minutes, capturing valid and correctly formatted data from the point of capture whilst providing users with an enhanced user experience that dramatically speeds up the process of data entry. Simultaneously, Data8’s advanced API will remove any errors in submissions at any point you capture data electronically.

Here are Data8, we understand that data quality is a continual business process. We currently work with several central government departments and wider public sector bodies to unlock the value of their data by delivering data management and data validation solutions.

Like many organisations, public sector bodies have significant value hidden within their data. With the vast amounts of data held, finding a starting point can be daunting. The Data Quality Framework provides guidance to those in the public sector undertaking their data quality journey.

High quality data can simplify service delivery, inform data driven policies, improve communications and public experience, and provide a single citizen view. All these benefits result in enormous operational efficiencies, which are particularly crucial during current financial constraints, and deliver better outcomes for society.

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About the author

Beth Beggs