The Data Sharing and Governance Act 2019 was enacted in March 2019. The Act comes on foot of the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018. It clarifies the legality of data sharing between public bodies and introduces data governance within the Public Service on a statutory footing.
The Act, a core part of the Public Service Data Strategy, sets out to reform the way Public Service Bodies (PSBs) share and use data in order to improve public services. It provides a general legal basis for PSBs to engage in the sharing of data, while also setting out appropriate safeguards under which such sharing must take place.
The Act also gives a range of powers to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to Public Service data governance. These include:
- the introduction of data management standards and guidelines
- prohibiting or enforcing the collection of certain data by PSBs
- directing PSBs to share data under the Act
- cataloguing all data sharing in the Public Service
- designating Base Registries
- the creation of a Unique Business Identifier
- the creation of a Personal Data Portal
- the creation of a Data Governance Board
The Government wants to improve how data is governed and managed and this Act will allow data to be re-used in a secure, efficient and transparent way. This will benefit citizens, businesses and policy makers in government by facilitating a more consistent approach to data sharing. It will allow us to deliver integrated digital services for citizens and businesses
Under the legislation a Data Governance Board will be established with a clearly defined set of legal powers and obligations in advising the Minister on the introduction and adoption of data management standards and guidelines. The Board will review all data sharing agreements under the Act using a defined process.
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