Data

Draft data strategy pushes transparency, quality, privacy

Machine language of 1s and 0s 

The administration's federal data strategy met its first milestone, the release of an initial set of draft principles.

The goals of the strategy, as outlined in the President's Management Agenda, include leveraging data as a strategic asset to grow the economy, increase effectiveness of the federal government, improve oversight and promote transparency.

So far, the strategy consists of 10 draft principles across three main pillars: stewardship, quality and continuous improvement.

Specifically, the principles prioritize data security, privacy, transparency and assessing "the implications of federal data practices for the public." The principles also promote spelling out the purposes in acquiring, using and disseminating federal data as well as "comprehensively" documenting the processes and products released.

Additionally, they include creating and disseminating data with consistency, privacy, value, reusability and interoperability in mind as well as making sure data is high-quality, timely and understandable. The strategy also promotes prioritizing data needs and uses, harnessing it from multiple sources and acquiring new data "only when necessary."

The principles also look to improve data sharing, take into account ongoing feedback from users and update best practices. They promote accountability through auditing data practices, documenting and making changes based on findings. 

Data governance and the use of data have been identified as "drivers" of transformation by the administration, and White House officials have also pushed the use of data in providing accountability and tracking federal spending, including on IT.

The administration is seeking public feedback on its best practices in advance of its July 27 deadline. The associated Federal Register notice states the administration is looking for use cases across the four strategy areas specified in the President's Management Agenda.

The data strategy's development will consist of four steps in total. The steps between now and the April 2019 completion of an action plan are the finalization the principles and release of draft practices by October followed by the release of the federal data strategy — both principles and practices — along with a draft action plan by January 2019.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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