Government Should Use Big Data To Tailor Services

Apr 16, 2014

The government should be using Big Data to tailor services towards citizens, just as the private sector does, according to a member of the Cabinet Office.

Paul Maltby, director of open data and government innovation in the Department, revealed in an interview with a UK IT publication that he believes “transformational things” can be achieved with proper use of data and analytics.

According to Maltby, by gathering and analysing unstructured data Whitehall would be able to improve methods of government and provide better services.

He said that although organisations like HMRC or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are data-led, this type of analysis is an unfamiliar way of working in non-secret parts of government.

Maltby said that there are “really skilled” analysts in these departments, meaning the necessary talent for a shift in methods is there.

“I see a different approach going on in the world out there with different mind sets, different tools,” the director claimed.

“There’s a space where those opportunities can be brought in the way a government does its analytical business and inform decisions in a different way,” he continued.

However, Maltby also said that transparency is a key factor in properly taking advantage of Big Data in a way that is ethical.

“While the opportunity is there, there’s also a need to be very careful and I think as we go down that journey, being transparent about it, being clear what we shouldn’t do as well as what could do is going to be an important part of that,” he said.

Big Data Is On Government Agenda

The government has already begun to take notice of Big Data and is beginning to make investments in the area.

In last month’s budget announcement, George Osborne announced a £42m investment in a new institute named after WWII code breaker Alan Turing that will be dedicated to Big Data research.

Besides this, in February, Science Minister David Willets announced that £73m of funding had been released to help the public and academics unlock the potential of Big Data.

Later that month, a further £1.5m worth of funding was reserved for open data projects, suggesting that the government are aware that transparency is going to be critical moving forward. 




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