Scope of the inquiry
In order for government to successfully deliver public services and deliver value for money, effective use of data is essential. The government recognises the importance of this and in ensuring that data is used in a secure way. Recent instances of poor use of data – mostly notably the Windrush scandal – have illustrated how severe the consequences can be when data is not used properly.
However, despite this the government has not yet shown clear and sustained leadership on data. The NAO’s recent report found that departments had not been prioritising efforts to manage and improve data; it further found that the quality of data across government is not well enough understood. In addition to this, the NAO concluded that there is a culture across Whitehall whereby poor-quality data is tolerated and worked around.
On Monday 15 July the Public Accounts Committee will be taking evidence from representatives from the Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to hear more about government’s plans to improve its use of data, to provide an update on the national data strategy and to ask about how the departments intend to implement an improved plan for strategic leadership on the topic.