Victorian Centre for Data Insights
Data is only valuable if it helps make better decisions. Data insights are obtained by analysing data to generate meaning.
Data insights can enhance government’s understanding about what works, and why, leading to more integrated and effective policies and services, and ultimately, better outcomes for Victorians.
About the Victorian Centre for Data Insights
The Victorian Centre for Data Insights (VCDI) provides a whole-of government focus to help transform the way government uses data.
The VCDI will tell a bigger story than analysing data from just one source. It will bring data together from across government to generate new insights to design better and more data driven policy and services.
The VCDI will:
- partner with departments and agencies on data analytics projects that inform policy making and service design
- build data analytics skills and capability of the Victorian Public Service (VPS)
- contribute to improving how data is collected and managed across the VPS
- work with other governments across Australia on better data use, on behalf of the Victorian Government.
The VCDI operates as a business unit within the Department of Premier and Cabinet. The VCDI is part of the Special Minister of State’s focus on public sector reform, working to strengthen evidence- based policy and practice.
The VCDI is led by Victoria’s first Chief Data Officer (CDO). The CDO will lead the VCDI, and advocate for the better use of data across government. The CDO is supported by a team of data analysts, information management and policy specialists.
Enabling data sharing within government
Why does Government need to share data?
The Victorian Government collects a lot of data when serving the needs of Victorians. This ranges from data about education and health, to data about business, communities, infrastructure and the environment.
For too long government data has been held in agency silos and not available across government to tackle many pressing community concerns. There is an opportunity to more widely share and use this data to improve policy making and services for Victorians.
This view is supported by the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Data Availability and Use, which found Australia is losing out on the potential opportunities of using data better.
How does the Victorian Data Sharing Act enable data sharing?
The Victorian Data Sharing Act 2017 has been developed to enable data sharing across government and address key priorities in the community. The Act provides a clear legal framework for sharing and using data across government to improve policy making, service planning and design, while providing strong safeguards and oversight.
What is the relationship between the Act and the Victorian Centre for Data Insights?
The Act sets up the Chief Data Officer as the head of the Victorian Centre for Data Insights (VCDI). The Act will make it easier for the VCDI to conduct data analytics projects in response to government initiatives, particularly those with a whole-of-government strategic focus, and where cross-government data sharing is required and expected by the community.
How will the Act improve the lives of Victorians?
Enabling data to be shared and used across government will provide insights about what works and why, and ensure informed policy decisions that deliver for all Victorians – from tackling family violence to improving employment opportunities.
What protections and safeguards are provided by the Act?
The Act includes a broad range of protections and safeguards, including:
- providing that all data handled under the Act must be for the approved purpose of informing policy making, service planning and design
- requiring that, prior to using data for analytics, reasonable steps are taken to ensure no individual can reasonably be identified from the data
- annual reporting on the VCDI’s operations and functions, and potential breaches of privacy law, to Victorian privacy regulators
- providing that existing obligations under privacy legislation continue to apply
- creating new offences for unauthorised access, use or disclosure of data
Who has been consulted in developing the Act?
The Act has been informed by Victorian Government departments and agencies, privacy regulators, and the Victorian community.
What guidance is available for Victorian Government departments and agencies?
The VCDI is currently developing guidance materials for Victorian Government departments and agencies.
Enabling data sharing with the community
The DataVic Access Policy enables public access to government data to support research and education, promote innovation, support improvements in productivity and stimulate growth in the Victorian economy. Responsibility for the DataVic Access Policy transferred to the VCDI from the Department of Treasury and Finance on 2 October 2017.
Responsibility for open data is now consolidated within DPC, which also delivers the Victorian Government Data Directory.
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