4 April 2022 All news >
Using basic data to improve public services
"The digitisation of public services is at the very top of government agendas across Europe, but the lack of accessible and reliable data, such as core information about individuals and businesses, creates challenges for digital administration. This information, called basic data or register, is re-used throughout the public sector and is an important basis for public authorities to perform their tasks properly and efficiently", says Prahlad.
Back to basics
Basic data is structured fundamental data that is common for many purposes. It can include private addresses and contact details for citizens and registered companies.
High-quality basic data needs to be accurate, complete, and up to date. Establishing a common basic data infrastructure for both public and private sector administration which can be updated in one place and used by everyone, would be a huge societal benefit, providing it was secure.
Easily accessible basic data will provide many tangible benefits to the public, businesses, and authorities alike. Businesses, especially SMEs, can save substantial amounts when they no longer have to buy basic data from public authorities to create their solutions, providing new opportunities for innovation, jobs, and growth within the country. This data can help to develop new types of digital solutions and services which will benefit the wider society.
Using basic data in the UK
The pandemic saw an increase in digital transformation projects across private and public sectors as central and local authorities and healthcare systems responded to Covid-19, and employees moved to remote working.
The surge in NHS patient treatment backlogs exacerbated by the pandemic, is currently estimated to be about 6.1 million in England, and is predicted to increase over the next few years to 10 million by 2024. The adoption of accurate basic data to support important NHS services could help to reduce these backlogs.
This also includes providing services for healthcare professionals, pharmacists, and other agencies with up-to-date patient records so that public health bodies can build reliable and trusted data sources that are automatically updated across various registers.
There are still a lot of manual processes in place where UK citizens must complete paper forms, which often result in typos and other errors when inputting data into systems. This can be resolved when putting the citizens’ information into their own hands saving operations on IT systems to fix these errors. Basic data also reduces the pressure on GPs and puts their time back into directly helping patients with treatment rather than administration.
Stephen Koch, Executive Director of Platforms at NHS, has stated that throughout the last couple of years the NHS have started to implement text and email-based communications and have seen a huge number of improvements -- of around 1.1 million updates made to citizen details by citizens themselves.
Scaling basic data systems
Developing and designing scalable digital platforms for innovative public and private services is no mean feat, and a successful shift to highly flexible infrastructure demands a team that understands the power of available technology to create great services for the user.
To succeed, we need to reform by removing rigorous administration and digitising as many aspects as possible and focusing our energy and capital on things that matter most, such as healthcare or education.
Check out the full basic data article here: Using basic data to improve public services