Direction of Defra’s data programme revealed

Defra’s new director of data, knowledge and innovation, Catherine Wright, has outlined the vision for the department’s data programme.

Commenting in a blog post, Wright said: “There are three guiding principles: that we will be data-driven; that our data will be valued and shared; and that it will be open by design. It is the role of the Data Programme Board to deliver this vision.”

Wright went on to say that Defra’s data holdings are incredibly rich but work must be done to realise the value of its data. The Data Programme is therefore focusing on getting the shape of the programme right.

That will be done, according to Wright, by building a structure around three ‘As’:

  • Assets – the management of group data assets
  • Access – facilitating access to the data
  • Analysis – data science and analytics

“When prioritising our activities we will make decisions based on delivery of a transformed service, the opportunity to make cash savings and transformation to the UK,” Wright added.

“Managing data well is one thing, but analysing and visualising it is critical to delivering outcomes. There are a number of teams across Defra working on data analysis and developing analytical tools. We agreed a working definition of ‘Data Science’ and have commissioned some work out to scope out and coordinate data science activity across the group.”

Activity planned includes progressing three proofs-of-concept, one of which is to improve the use of data to tackle bovine TB and another is to make better use of technology and real-time information to help manage the network of water management assets that mitigate flood risk.

The full blog post can be read here.

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