Press release

Launch of new data sharing consultation

The government has launched a consultation into the sharing and use of data in public sector organisations.

The consultation, which will run for 8 weeks, focuses on data held by public sector organisations and will assess how data is accessed and used. It seeks to improve data security across government whilst making citizens’ lives easier.

Find out more about the consultation

The consultation aims to maximise opportunities for effective data sharing and build on areas of good practice. The Cabinet Office and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have been working closely together to prevent electoral fraud through the sharing and use of data to confirm legitimacy of applications to vote. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) have also developed a service, allowing people to view all their driving licence information, such as the amount of penalty points.

It is also possible to share this data with car insurers or hire companies, where you consent for this to happen.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock said:

Data is the fuel for the digital revolution. The very best policies and services are developed around information that’s current, relevant and makes sure you can access government services just as easily as iTunes.

There is huge potential for improving citizens’ lives through data sharing in the UK. The consultation we launch today will help make sure we get data right and bolster security whilst making people’s lives better.

The consultation asks people to consider the proposals and whether they are appropriate. It looks at how government can share data to:

  • improve outcomes for the public by ensuring public authorities have the data they need to deliver the right service to the right citizen at the right time, for example around running the Troubled Families programme
  • support the administering of fuel poverty payments
  • enable access to civil registration data, for example births, deaths and marriages – this prevents authorities sending letters to people who are deceased
  • reduce the billions of pounds lost and cost to the taxpayer in preventing, detecting and dealing with fraud against the public sector
  • help citizens manage their debt more effectively and reduce the estimated £24.1 billion of overdue debt owed to government
  • enable the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to access detailed administrative data from across government and businesses to provide more accurate, frequent and timely statistics and to update how the census is managed, rather than using surveys
  • support accredited researchers to access and link data to carry out research for public benefit

The consultation is the next stage of a year long open policy-making process that the government has been running in collaboration and partnership with civil society organisations.