Recommendation 10.3

Data Management Standards

Government agencies should adopt and implement data management standards to support increased data availability and use as part of their implementation of the Australian Government’s Public Data Policy Statement.

These standards should:

  • be published on agency websites
  • be adopted in consultation with data users and draw on existing standards where feasible
  • deal effectively with sector-specific differences in data collection and use
  • support the sharing of data across Australian governments and agencies
  • enable all digitally collected data and metadata to be available in commonly used machine-readable formats (that are relevant to the function or field in which the data was collected or would likely be most commonly used), including where relevant and authorised, for machine-to-machine interaction.

Policy documents outlining the standards and how they would be implemented should be available in draft form for consultation by the end of 2017, with standards implemented by the end of 2020.

Agencies that do not adopt agreed sector-specific standards would be noted as not fully implementing the Australian Government’s Public Data Policy and would be required to work under a nominated Accredited Release Authority to improve the quality of their data holdings.

Government response: 

The Government agrees with this recommendation.

The Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement requires agencies to release data by default using agreed standards. The interim National Data Commissioner (NDC) will work with stakeholders to develop data release standards that support increased data availability and use. Various guidelines and standards already exist or are in development, including Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s guidance on for releasing sensitive data, de-identification guidelines and a new Privacy Code to be launched in late 2017 by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The NDC will leverage such existing standards as appropriate.

The NDC will regularly provide independent advice on agencies that are not adopting agreed sector-specific data release standards that support increased data availability and use, and negotiate how they will improve the quality of their data holdings to meet those standards.

Lead Agency: The National Data Commissioner