DWP Digital launches new Chief Data Office

DWP Digital has launched a new Chief Data Office (CDO), led by Chief Data Officer, Paul Lodge. The aim of the CDO is to move towards using data more strategically and improve customer experiences for the millions of people who access the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) services each year.

On Monday 18 October, Head of Data Strategy and Enablement Katharine Purser will be discussing the challenges of establishing the CDO in a Digital Leaders webinar. Register online here: https://digileaders.com/events/a-centre-of-excellence-establishing-the-chief-data-office-at-dwp-establishing-the-chief-data-office-at-dwp-digital/

Improving the department’s use of data:

To support the new CDO’s ambitions, Purser developed the Data Strategy for the department, which sets out the principles DWP Digital will use to address the challenges it has around using data better.

Purser said: “DWP is custodian of more than 200tb of data. That’s the equivalent of approximately 67 billion single-spaced A4 pages of text, and this is growing in both volume and diversity at a rate of about 10% a year – including new data types such as voice and video.

“We know that one of the best things we can do to accelerate our efforts in the area is to improve our ability to re-use data. Good data can help us understand the environment we operate in and the way we operate within it, the needs of the citizens who come to us, and the impact our services have.

“Data is collected in different systems at different times for different purposes, which means that it can be inconsistent or duplicated, and it can’t easily be re-used across multiple systems. The information which records where data came from and why, how valid it is, or how old it is, is also different in different systems, which means it is can be difficult to know which is the right piece of data to re-use for the right purpose in other processes or systems. So, when it comes to improving our ability to re-use that data, we have our work cut out.”

“My hope is that this Data Strategy will strengthen and enable the conversations colleagues across the department need to have in order to achieve step change in how we use data.”

First priorities for the CDO:

One of the first priorities for the new CDO will be to ensure that the department is consistently using data in a secure, legal and ethical way. The data that DWP Digital manages is in an increasingly complex variety of formats, so it’s important that it’s accordingly.

Purser said: “We already have pockets of excellence in data custodianship and data management across the organisation, but the CDO will look to make sure that all teams across the department who use data take the best of what we know and apply it in a consistent way.

“It’s important that everyone who touches data understands their responsibilities. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to citizen data, but also to the vast amount of data we hold about our own organisation, which used to better effect can really help us run services more efficiently and effectively.”

The CDO is starting small with the focus in the first year being to drive up quality, compliance and consistency in data sharing. They will build out on other data management policies from there.

Register for the webinar today:

If you’re interested in finding out more about challenges of establishing DWP’s CDO, register for the free webinar on Monday 18 October: Establishing the Chief Data Office at DWP Digital | Digital Leaders (digileaders.com) https://digileaders.com/events/a-centre-of-excellence-establishing-the-chief-data-office-at-dwp-establishing-the-chief-data-office-at-dwp-digital/

Notes to Editors

To find out more please contact Rachel.Poole@DWP.GOV.UK / Rachel.Loughlin@DWP.GOV.UK

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