Headlines: January 18th, 2007




The results of the survey by Kable which was sponsored by data integrity company QAS, show that 43% of respondents said their organisations are working on sharing data with other public sector bodies, and another 21% were actively considering what they could do in the field. 35% said they were currently taking no action.

Reluctance across the public sector to share personal data has been identified in the Prime Minister’s policy review as a major barrier to improving customer care. The research for the Review also indicated that in some cases internal procedures, including overzealous data sharing rules, prevent sharing of customers’ personal details. These findings are prompting proposals to make changes to the law on data sharing.

The Kable survey also shows greater support for internal data sharing with 64% of respondents reporting that their organisations were already sharing data, with 14% considering doing so and 21% not sharing.

Respondents agreed that a number of suggested benefits from greater data sharing are possible. Increased efficiency was quoted by 79%, improved citizen service by 74% and improved internal working by 59%.

While people were aware of the barriers to data sharing, there were only two categories for which more than half of them saw it is a big issue. When it comes to sharing with other organisations, 67% thought that legal issues could provide an impediment, and 51% saw technical issues as a problem.

Most of the other possible barriers, including trust and procedural issues and lack of clarity about the Data Protection Act, drew response rates of between 30-50%. For internal data sharing 15% of respondents said they saw no barriers, but everybody thought there was at least one problem to overcome for external sharing.