Report: The Data Dividend - Making the most of big data means adapting to its unique opportunities and challenges
This report looks at the uses of big data, the benefits to be gained from better use, and the challenges to effective deployment of data within public services.
Publication by the UK think tank Demos. Access full report here: http://www.demos.co.uk/files/The_Data_Dividend_-_web.pdf
The transparency agenda is a cornerstone of the Coalition Government’s ambitions for Britain. It is at the centre of efforts to improve efficiency, build trust in government and public agencies, and reduce costs overall. Much of the work that has been done on the benefits of transparency of data has focused on the impact this will have on the public and the potential for civil society to engage with government and to use data to transform service delivery. This is – obviously – a vital benefit of greater data transparency, but we must also emphasise the gains that can be made by exploiting the insight provided by data to drive decision-making within public services. What is more, if the transparency agenda is to take root in the culture of public services, public servants themselves must be shown the benefits to their work of sharing and using data well. Too often – as in the debate about spending transparency and local government – the focus has been placed on ‘checking up’ on public servants; this is important, but it must be matched with discernable benefits for those who are charged with spending public money and delivering public services.
In order for big data to play their part in transforming the state, public servants need to be skilled and confident users. The right mix of technology and culture change within public services can make data a tool for public servants, rather than simply a tool for complaint. This report looks at the uses of big data, the benefits to be gained from better use, and the challenges to effective deployment of data within public services. We do not oppose the ambitions of transparency and public and civil engagement – but we argue that this must be accompanied by radical changes to how government collects and collates data so as to ensure that public servants are part of the story too.
Access full report here: http://www.demos.co.uk/files/The_Data_Dividend_-_web.pdf