The Australian Government should establish an Office of the National Data Custodian (NDC) to take overall responsibility for the implementation of data management policy, in consultation with all levels of Government.

The Office of the NDC should have responsibility for:

  • Broad oversight and ongoing monitoring of and public reporting on Australia’s national data system and the operation of the new Data Sharing and Release Act (recommendation 8.1).
  • Preliminary assessments for, and recommending designation of, National Interest Datasets (recommendation 7.1).
  • Accrediting release authorities, be party to determining a funding agreement for Accredited Release Authority (ARA) activities, and promoting cooperation between ARAs.
  • Managing complaints about ARA processes.
  • Providing practical guidance material for ARAs and data custodians on matters such as risk management, data curation and metadata, data security, data de- identification and trusted user models.
  • Advising on ethics and emerging risks and opportunities in data use.

The Office of the NDC should include a small advisory board, comprising members with technical skills related to the NDC’s activities, and a dedicated ethics adviser.

The NDC role should be filled administratively by the end of 2017 to be operational by the time that new draft legislation for data access is completed for public consultation (recommendation 10.2).