Greater Manchester data body to adopt 'federated' approach
A proposed data sharing body for public bodies across Greater Manchester will adopt a “federated data” model, rather than collating residents’ personal information on a single database.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) will later this week vote on whether to allocate £500,000 to establish the new body, which is set to be named GM-Connect.
Initially, a four-strong team will work to coordinate data-sharing strategy across public agencies in the city, and replacing existing data policies with a single coordinated approach.
A report by Andrew Lightfoot, strategic director at the GMCA, said: “A federated strategy leaves data in its existing repository where it is owned and managed by its existing owners.
“The GM-wide federated platform enables appropriate data to be drawn from existing systems, in accordance with strict business rules, and combined dynamically with other data to provide a unified view.
“This approach avoids expensive investment in the consolidation of existing data systems or the need to manage all data in a single repository.”
Lightfoot said the three main strategic aims of GM-Connect would be to support delivery of the city’s health and social care strategic plan, enable improved understanding of overall demand and risk for services, and to give a clear picture of challenges individuals and families are facing.
The initial four full time staff will comprise a chief information officer, a data analytics specialist, an information governance lead and a programme director.
The £500,000 funding to establish the body will come from £12.4m Transformation Challenge Award funding which GMCA won in November 2014.
The creation of GM-Connect is in line with recommendations of a recent report by think tank Policy Exchange published only last week which says that data-sharing is vital to giving cities greater control over their own destinies.
However, the authority has been working on its plans for the past six months with Over the last 6 months GMCA has worked in partnership with the Government’s Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing and KPMG.
Tony Lloyd, interim mayor of Greater Manchester, said: "Improved data sharing is essential to successfully transforming public services in Greater Manchester and ensuring they are better integrated.
"It will enable us to build up a clearer and more detailed picture of what's happening across the area so we can target our resources as effectively as possible, as well as helping us to identify the people most in need of support.
“This includes reducing the costs of public services in a sustainable way by addressing issues, for example potential poor health, before they become expensive problems."
Planning for the service has drawn on lessons from international best practice including New York, Canada and Estonia where shared data has been used to improve services.
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