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Accountability for datasets

The agency head has overall accountability for implementing the Policy within their agency.

This chapter contains the following key action:

  1. The agency head has overall accountability for implementing the Policy within their agency.
  2. Each dataset made available must have an assigned custodian to ensure the dataset is managed through its lifecycle.
  3. The progress of agencies compliance with the Policy will be reported to the responsible Minister and to Cabinet.

10.1 Who has accountability?

The agency head56 has overall accountability for implementing the Policy within their agency. This would typically be the Secretary of the Department or the CEO of the Agency. It is recommended, however, that the agency assign responsibility for the implementation of the Policy to an agency wide committee reporting to the agency head. The committee would monitor, report and steer the agency through making datasets available.

An agency’s Information Management Governance Committee (IMGC) would be the recommended body to perform this function.57

The IMGC or equivalent would be responsible for:

  • providing leadership and fostering an organisational culture of releasing datasets
  • building organisational capability in developing, releasing and managing datasets
  • monitoring and reporting compliance with the Policy
  • identifying information assets with the potential for high public value
  • collaborating with other agency IMGCs to share lessons learnt and promote intra departmental initiatives
  • collaborating with the whole of Victorian Government IMG’s to identify opportunities to achieve consistencies and efficiencies
  • considering dataset suggestions as provided by the public

Information Management Standards and Guidelines include recommended membership and sample terms of reference for the IMGC. For more information see:

  • Whole of Victorian Government Standard – Agency Information Management Governance58
  • Whole of Victorian Government Guideline – Information Management Roles and Responsibilities59

10.2 Custodianship of released datasets

Each agency must have an assigned custodian to ensure that datasets released on the Data Directory are managed through their lifecycle. It is recommended that the custodian’s role include responsibility for such coordination activities as:

  • maintaining a data asset register
  • identifying and coordinating datasets to be made available
  • defining the appropriate data quality statements
  • uploading datasets to the data directory
  • managing dataset suggestions and feedback via the data directory
  • reporting the progress of making datasets available to the IMGC and DataVic Access Policy team

10.2.1 Custodianship framework

Existing Victorian Government Information Management Standards require agencies to develop a custodianship framework.

A recommended model for data custodianship follows. There are six key roles: Owner, Information Management Group, Information Management Governance Committee, Custodian, Administrator and User. This model also includes a seventh user (Supplier) for data acquired from an external source. This model (developed based on the Whole of Victorian Government Chief Information Officer’s Roles and Responsibilities Guide) is represented graphically below:

Figure 1: Custodianship framework

Custodianship framework

For more information see:

  • Whole of Victorian Government Standard – Information Asset Custodianship 60
  • Whole of Victorian Government Guideline – Information Management Roles and Responsibilities 61

10.3 DataVic Access Policy accountability checklist

The following checklist for accountability compliance requirements can be used by agencies to assist implementation. (Note: Some activities may not apply to your agency).

Table 7: DataVic Access Policy accountability checklist
Activity Yes/No

Applicable agency policies (e.g. information management, records management, website policy, privacy policy etc.) have been updated to include the Policy

Agency has developed and communicated a custodianship framework

Agency staff have been informed of Policy changes

Agency has started an information asset audit

Priority datasets have been identified for a Policy transition program of works

A program of works is developed including delegating tasks to appropriate resources

Agency has established a process for managing dataset suggestions and feedback

Once requirements have all been marked ‘Yes’, Policy accountability elements are in place.

10.4 Dataset feedback

The Data Directory includes a function that allows users to provide feedback on datasets published on the website.

Agencies will be notified when a feedback request is made. Agencies are responsible for moderating and managing the treatment of feedback. The custodian nominated by the agency should undertake this role. The timeframes for responding to feedback are the same as the ‘suggest a dataset’ process.

Further detail on the ‘suggest a dataset’ process including responsibilities, expectations and time frames of responses is available on the DTF website.62

10.5 Reporting

10.5.1 Compliance reporting to Government

There are two ways in which implementation of the Policy will be reported. These are:

  • quarterly reports from DTF to the Minister for Finance on the progress of the Policy, which include an update on the total number of datasets published
  • annual reporting to Cabinet by the Minister for Finance which will detail how many datasets agencies have published on the Data Directory. This will involve a chart comparing the number of datasets made available by each agency as well as requests for datasets and progress on release

DTF may (at its discretion) request status reports from agencies on their implementation of the Policy for the purpose of accurately reporting how many datasets have been made available.

10.5.2 Data Directory reporting

The Data Directory has an analytics page supplying usage data on all data released via the portal.63 This page has been set up to support agencies and the public to gain an understanding of the usage of the site. Statistics may include:

  • total published datasets
  • number of datasets updated in period
  • number of new datasets updated in period
  • number of downloads
  • time since datasets were last updated

On request the technical support team can also supply agencies with tailored web statistics reports from the data portal.

10.5.3 Annual reports

Agencies are encouraged to release the data supporting the development of its annual report and to incorporate policy achievements into its annual report. The ‘Model Report’64 template developed by DTF to assist Victorian government departments and public sector entities with the planning and preparation of disclosures in its annual reports includes a section on DataVic compliance to support this process.

Suggested items include:

  • outcomes from the previous year’s program of works targets
  • a list of categories of datasets that have been made available
  • suggestions for datasets received and the outcome of the suggestions
  • feedback for datasets received and the outcome of the feedback
  • any known benefits of making datasets available achieved to date
  • strategies for the coming year, including a list of proposed categories of datasets to be made available

On request the technical support team can supply statistics to support this process.

Example from the Model Report

Compliance with the DataVic Access Policy

The Victorian Government’s DataVic Access Policy enables the sharing of Government data at no, or minimal, cost to users. The policy intent is to support research and education, promote innovation, support improvements in productivity and stimulate growth in the Victorian economy as well as enhance sharing of, and access to, information rich resources to support evidence based decision making in the public sector.

Government data is progressively published in a machine readable format on www.data.vic.gov.au, to minimise access costs and maximise use and reuse.

[Department/agency]’s release of government data in accordance with the policy is proceeding at a steady rate, with (number of datasets) of [Department/agency]’s datasets and data tools now available on the Victorian Government Data Directory. As part of the Department’s (Information, Communications or Technology) Strategy, (number of datasets) [Department/agency] datasets are to be published for the calendar year ending 31 December 2015; as at the end of June 2015, (number of datasets) datasets have been published.

The release of these datasets has made a valuable contribution to the policy. In addition, [Department/agency] has made the (name high value datasets) available online in machine readable format.

Consistent with the DataVic Access Policy issued by the Victorian Government in 2012, the financial statements, performance statements and tables included in this Annual Report will be available at www.data.vic.gov.au in machine readable format.

10.6 Risk management

Risks associated with the Policy must be considered and managed as part of an agency’s risk management framework.

Failure to properly manage intellectual property risks was identified in the Victorian Auditor General’s Report Managing Intellectual Property in Government Agencies (2003)65 as posing a number of risks to the public sector. For a list of the potential risks identified by the Victorian Auditor General, agencies may refer to the Whole of Victorian Government Intellectual Property Intent and Principles.

It is recommended that agencies consider processes for managing the risk of infringing third party intellectual property rights, such as record keeping management of any third party copyright arrangements, or licensing terms (see Chapter 6: Licensing datasets).


56. The head of a department, public body, public statutory body, body, office or trust body as described by the Financial Management Act 1994.

57. Under whole of Victorian Government Information Management Standards, it is now mandatory to establish and maintain an Information Management Governance Committee.

58. www.vic.gov.au/information-management-policies-and-standards

59. www.vic.gov.au/information-management-policies-and-standards

60. www.vic.gov.au/modernising-governments-approach-ict

61. www.vic.gov.au/modernising-governments-approach-ict

62. www.data.vic.gov.au

63. www.data.vic.gov.au

64. www.dtf.vic.gov.au/financial-reporting-policy/model-report

65. www.audit.vic.gov.au/report/managing-intellectual-property-government-agencies

Reviewed 12 November 2019

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