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Government data is crowdsourced, quality questions persist

Rachel Wheeler Archive

Public sector agencies have gained a new focus on data in recent months. How this data is collected and how it is distributed are both questions administrators will have to answer at some point in the future. According to UKAuthority, a plan by the London borough of Lambeth to collect data directly from residents has promise, yet there are some notable problems.

The source noted that the local council's plan to crowdsource information about the local population could fall prey to data quality worries. From there, the question becomes one of whether data management should be a job for the data administrators or whether that too should become the provenance of the users.

"There is a concern - how do we make sure data added is valid or legitimate?" said Lambeth Assistant Director of Resources Diarmid Swainson, according to UKAuthority. There could be erroneous information, data put in the wrong location or data added by businesses for commercial reasons."

Other U.K. government agencies have recently faced data quality questions. According to a report by the Audit Commission, National Health Service subsidiaries have improved their data management practices and policies in recent months, but consistently good results are still elusive.