Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, along with the Minister of State for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment, Patrick O’Donovan TD, today welcomed the news that the President of Ireland has considered and signed the Data Sharing and Governance Bill 2018 and it has become law.
The purpose of this legislation is to provide a generalised legal basis for the sharing of data between public bodies while also setting out appropriate safeguards under which such sharing can take place.
This legislation will deliver tangible benefits to the public and to business. The Act is key to delivering on public service reform commitments to expand digital delivery of services and make greater use of data. Citizens and businesses can receive better services and public bodies can operate more effectively and efficiently at a lower cost to the Exchequer. More extensive data sharing will also support better policy development and more efficient and effective policy implementation.
The legislation also sets out a series of important governance measures to ensure that personal data is shared by public bodies in a lawful, proportionate and transparent manner in accordance with national and EU data protection law, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Implementation of this legislation will create an opportunity to provide for more unified, consistent and improved safeguards in relation to public service data management. The scope of the governance provisions in the legislation will strengthen how the public service manages its data in respect of how data is collected and processed; how data is kept secure; and how access to data is controlled, monitored and logged.
Minister Donohoe stated:
Minister Donohoe continued:
Minister of State O’Donovan said:
The introduction of legislation to support the public service in making better use of the data it holds is a key commitment in the Government’s reform programme. Enactment of this legislation is an essential step towards the successful delivery of Action 1: ‘Accelerate Digital Delivery of Services’ in Our Public Service 2020, the new framework for development and innovation in the public service. It is also one key action in both the eGovernment Strategy 2017-2020 and the Public Service Data Strategy 2019-2023.
The Act provides a generalised legal basis for data sharing between public bodies for specific, legitimate purposes, including:
The Act also requires that sharing be carried out under a formal written data-sharing agreement that sets out in detail what data will be shared with whom, and for what purpose. Data-sharing agreements will be published in advance of any sharing taking place, and the public will be able to comment on the proposals.
In addition, the Act includes a number of provisions to ensure better data governance across the public service through:
The Act also seeks to significantly enhance transparency by providing a legal basis for the creation of a personal data access portal that will provide a single point of access for people to see what data is held about them by public bodies, how that data is used and who is using it.
Other key provisions include powers to: