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GAO publishes agency data governance assessment, recommendations to Chief Data Officers Council

The U.S. Government Accountability Office published a report on data governance progress across four federal agencies.

By GovFresh · January 4, 2021

data governance by H Alberto Gongora from the Noun Project

The U.S. Government Accountability Office published a report on data governance progress across four federal agencies.

It's mostly a critical analysis and recommendations of data governance practices related to the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, and the National Science Foundation, however there is also one recommendation directed at the Chief Data Officers Council:

We previously found that collaborative mechanisms, such as interagency councils, can more effectively collaborate if they follow certain leading practices. For example, when collaborative groups develop mechanisms to track and monitor progress, these actions can facilitate their success in meeting their goals. Council officials said the group plans to develop additional mechanisms to track and monitor progress toward established short- and long-term goals, including its biennial progress report to Congress. As the Council continues to mature these mechanisms, it will be important to document and use them to report on the Council’s progress in meeting their goals in their biennial report to Congress.The CDO Council, if operating effectively as an interagency collaborative mechanism by following key collaboration practices, can support agency CDOs in successfully implementing their requirements in the OPEN Government Data Act and the Federal Data Strategy. The Council could provide a forum for cross-agency collaboration on leveraging related data sets to address issues of national importance, such as agencies’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the CDO Council set to sunset in 2025, it will be important for the Council to document its progress in mechanisms—such as the biennial report to Congress—for monitoring progress to ensure that it effectively meets its mandate.

This sidebar from the report is a good general reminder:

Key Ways to Foster a Data Stewardship Culture:

• Increasing awareness: People have to understand the potential of data for use and view it as a key asset and priority.
• Facilitating engagement: People have to engage with data on a regular basis so that it is accessed and used appropriately.
• Promoting inspiration: People have to be inspired by what the community can do with data.
• Empowerment: People need equal access to tools and capabilities.

Full report: Data Governance: Agencies Made Progress in Establishing Governance, but Need to Address Key Milestones