Quarkside

10/02/2011

IG Outcomes: Focus on Benefits

Filed under: Objectives,Outcomes,People,Policy,Process,Strategy,Time — lenand @ 9:42 am
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Quarkside’s reason for promoting Information Governance (IG) processes is a belief that better public services are possible. Better Outcomes. Benefits.

Information Governance is the setting of Objectives to achieve measurable Outcomes by People using information Assets in a life cycle Process that considers the impact of both Risk and Time.

Improved service levels and efficiency can result if more effective use is made of documents and data that is amassed in archives, filing cabinets and computer data stores. The current budget reductions need innovative thinking to abstract more from historical data, sharing data and sharing data centres.

The portents are good. It is now possible to share data between local authorities and the NHS by linking the N3 and GCSX networks. The Information Governance requirements have been met. This removes a major constraint to implementing the recommendations of Lord Laming’s Enquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié.

Examples of outcomes can be found in the Scottish Government web site.  They are easy to understand and credibly linked to one another.  Information sharing partnerships could benefit from reviewing these and basing their own desired Outcomes upon them; children, crime, employment, health and enviroment all feature in the list of fifteen.

Outcomes, with good governance, should be comparable to the Objectives. The previous IG blog listed seven candidate secondary dimensions for Objectives. Let’s take them forward as an example of using the Framework; as questions that could appear in quality assurance of the results:

  • Policy: How far have we progressed towards the political vision and maximising value from the information assets? Are transformation targets being achieved?
  • Strategy: How many programmes have benefited from information sharing and improved knowledge management? Are the benefits being realised?
  • Law: Can we be assured that all laws, regulations and statutes have been followed?
  • Constraints: Have local conditions, culture and practice been factored into the Information Governance regime?
  • Scope: Have all target business area and organisational functions been included in the Information Governance processes?
  • Context: Has the impact on external and internal organisations met expectations?
  • Specifications: Has performance met the requirements and are control mechanisms in place? What is the evidence that information sharing has obeyed Information Assurance standards?

Secondary dimensions should be tailored to the organisation and its aspirations.  They need not be all embracing, but focussed on current and future priorities.

The political pressure for more shared services, in both central and local government, amplifies the requirement for shared Objectives and Outcomes.  Good Information Governance is necessary to build trust between partners.  Each partner has to be assured that other partners treat information with equal or greater respect, and this starts by aligning Objectives and desired Outcomes.  It should finish with an information assurance process that confirm that trust is deserved.

Identifying Outcomes and using them as a primary driver is not easy. The Local Government Improvement and Development agency (formerly IDeA) studied “Implementing outcomes based accountability in children’s services“.  Whereas People can easily accept the concepts, formal methods require a high level of training and adoption of common language.  This takes more time than People are prepared to invest.  Quarkside believes that Outcomes should be governed qualitatively, not quantitatively with manufactured measures that just feed bureaucrats.  Superficially at least, Scotland seems to have a more pragmatic approach.

Cultural considerations are so important for introducing change in Process, particularly in new information sharing partnerships. Culture is included in the People dimension of the 7DIG framework, to follow.

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30/11/2010

No excuses, LAs and NHS must talk

Filed under: Local Government,Technology — lenand @ 3:30 am
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A good news story for a change. Simple connectivity between local authorities and the NHS has been needed for years.  I recall having to spend 15 months with the agreements and protocols to join 2 servers one foot apart in a server rack.

Joe Harley (DWP) and Christine Connelly (DH) have jointly published a letter encouraging local authorities to connecting to the NHS N3 network via their existing GCSX connection.    They explain that it is now possible for local authorities to access NHS Spine without the need to install a separate N3 connection.  The reverse is also true; NHS organisations can access local authority data via their existing N3 connections.

Everything these days come at a price, however.  The N3 Interconnect Service is an additional service charge to the GCSX service.  Expect to pay £5,760 for 10Mb.  There’s also value in sharing the service between LA partners: £7,200 for 4 local authorities (£1,800 each) then £1500 per additional local authority using the same aggregation route.

Now that the connectivity should no longer a barrier, we should revitalise the attempt at building information sharing partnerships and utilising systems interoperability standards, such as ISO 18876.   Exchange of data between Health and Social Services has long been the call of Enquiries into Victoria Climbié and Baby Peter.  One key excuse for non-cooperation has been removed.

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