DGA launch signals new era in data governance

You may have seen a report earlier this month about the establishment of a new independent body tasked with setting industry standards around data.

You may have noted, too, how important a focus is being placed on the new group, with its head none other than the highly respected former chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Graeme Samuel; and the launch being told that “setting industry standards for the use, collection and application of data is something that cannot be avoided much longer”.

This is a significant moment for those of us who operate in the governance space as the formation of the new body, Data Governance Australia – or DGA – is overdue recognition that data and its handling is now very much a governance matter.

It puts an end to any grey areas, to lengthy philosophical debates and perhaps even to nimble skirting around the issue.

DGA will set the framework within which data is to be managed and controlled. End of story.

That’s where we come in.

If it’s serious enough for a new body to be created at federal level, it is incumbent upon us to get with the new thinking and place data and its many strengths and occasional weaknesses firmly on each and every board’s agenda, large corporate and not-for-profit alike.

I’m sure you will all welcome this development and agree that there’s much to applaud.

After all, we all know how important data is for businesses and organisations, in terms of innovation and in potentially delivering that much sough-after competitive edge or advantage.

And how important and sensitive a subject it is to consumers seeking assurances that, in an age where cyber-attacks and cyber security are hot button issues, personal data collected is neither misused nor misapplied.

Think only of the recent census conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, where the public was vociferous and strident in voicing its concerns not only about the collection of their personal data but how it would be used…and how long a shelf-life it would have before being destroyed.

So that’s what Graeme Samuel and his colleagues at some of the country’s biggest corporations and leaders in all things data will be consumed with in coming months.

They will be developing a code of conduct that strengthens our capability in data and cyber security and spells out how we collect, use and apply data, with the key words of integrity, transparency, accountability and credibility deeply engrained in the code’s fabric.

They’ll be looking to have the code authorised by the ACCC and, in Mr Samuel’s words, present something that “meets current community expectations and has sufficient flexibility to adapt to changing community expectations…because data is development and innovation is racing ahead, long ahead of what I think any of us can possibly imagine.”

They will advocate for best practice, help shape regulatory framework and provide training courses, accreditation and knowledge sharing.

Then it’s over to us, to do our very best to ensure our organisations are characterised by the responsible use of data and its effective management and governance in an ever and rapidly changing digital economy.

Let’s embrace it and lead the charge…

Have a great Christmas and I will be back at the start of February with my next blog.

Best wishes,

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One thought on “DGA launch signals new era in data governance

  1. This is an interesting topic and we need to decide on the right moral framework first so then laws and regulations can serve a moral outcome. IE what is the spirit of what we would like data to be gathered and used for (Use the force for good) and how it affects “freedom” in a mature society like ours. Just because we can is not always a good reason to.

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