Few Australian government agencies have ‘complete view’ of citizen data, survey finds

By Jackson Graham

February 25, 2022

government data citizens community digital transformation data capability
‘Very few’ public servants have a ‘complete view’ of citizen data. (Adobe)

About three-quarters of Australian government agencies perceive data issues as a barrier to decision-making and very few have a “complete view” of citizen data, according to a new survey. 

The research, released this week by UK-software company Quantexa, is based on interviews with Australian government decision-makers who acknowledged gaps in data decision-making. 

Those surveyed acknowledged the speed government agencies had moved towards digitisation in the past five years but Quantexa’s Shaun Mathieson said this didn’t necessarily translate into harnessing the data to make decisions. 

“Federal, state and local government departments are facing huge challenges in their ability to automate decision-making, to manage regulatory change to assess fraud risk holistically, and to provide the seamless digital experience their citizens expect,” Mathieson, the company’s regional vice president in Asia-Pacific, said. 

Only 4% of Australian government agencies have a “complete view” of citizen data, and just 8% of government agencies have a data-centric culture to drive strategic decisions, according to the research. 

Some of the barriers to data management included a hesitation to automate decision-making in agencies, regulatory scrutiny and compliance, a lack of citizen insight and an incomplete view of the risks. 

Inflexible data models were also a hindrance to nearly half of government respondents, as well as reliance on manual processes and long timeframes to onboard data into digital environments. 

The federal government last year launched a Digital Government Strategy and a Data Strategy outlining visions to transform how it uses and offers online technology in the coming five and 10 years.

The digital government strategy states the ambition for Australia to have one of the top-three digital governments in the world and to have all services available online by 2025. The data strategy plans to enhance the data.gov.au website to become a “one stop shop” for government data. 

Quantexa is among companies looking to support governments connect data points across organisations and external data sources, which Mathieson said could help bridge the gap between data collection and decision making. 

“This means they have real-world intelligence for informed decision-making,” he said.


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