ACT eyes data-driven boost to government services with new centre

Data lake early priority for new Centre for Data Excellence

The ACT government’s Centre for Data Excellence has officially been established.

The new centre sits within the Office of the Chief Digital Officer (OCDO), which says the centre's mission is to help the territory’s government better utilise its information assets, as well as develop data management standards and policies and provide the platform and services for ACT directorates “to store, discover, analyse and share data in a privacy-safe and secure environment.”

In April, the OCDO launched a recruitment push for data analysts and data scientists to join the new centre.

“The centre’s strategic outcomes are to improve evidence-based decision making; deliver better services for citizens; and build on the data capability in our workforce,” an OCDO spokesperson told Computerworld.

The spokesperson said that a range of initiatives for the centre are in the process of being scoped out and prioritised.

An early focus of the centre will be operationalising the ACT whole-of-government data lake platform.

The ACT government’s 2016-2019 Digital Strategy called for the “establishment of a whole of government Data Lake and an associated analytical capability”.

The initiative will be “based on an incremental approach starting with the social sector and broadening its capture to provide appropriate and effective information sharing to support operational reporting, frontline staff support and business intelligence,” the strategy stated.

The data lake will “also be the platform for Open and Community Data,” the document adds.

In 2018-19 the centre will also work on a range of other initiatives that will “have outcomes ranging from automation of current reporting processes through to informing us of better ways of delivering services to the community,” the OCDO spokesperson said.

Another priority will be making more data available through the ACT government’s open data portal.

In May, Bettina Konti was appointed to the role of ACT CDO. Konti replaced Jon Cumming, who was the ACT government’s inaugural CDO. Earlier this year Cumming left the role and relocated to the UK.

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