Mar 04 2021

CDO Council Plans Projects to Use Data in Innovative Ways

The federal panel of chief data officers laid out how it plans to help agencies make strategic use of data in the months ahead.

The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the importance of collecting and disseminating data to the public. Now, a government group is helping agencies get even better at those missions.

The Federal CDO Council, which brings together government chief data officers and began its first formal meetings last year, has detailed new member-led projects that agencies are planning to make strategic use of the vast troves of data they collect.

In a recent report to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget, the CDO Council outlined both its activities last year and what it plans moving forward. The council expects to meet regularly, increase its communications inside and outside government, and develop strategic linkages with other interagency councils, like the CIO Council.

CDO Council Plans New Data Projects

In May 2020, according to the report, the CDO Council started exploring with its members potential projects for fiscal year 2021, which runs through the end of September. Those projects were then shared with the full council and prioritized.

Using that input, the council’s chair, Agriculture Department Chief Data Officer Ted Kaouk, and the council’s operations working group made recommendations to OMB. OMB selected the funded projects in October 2020.

“In FY 2021, the CDO Council will implement the member-developed projects to support innovation and advancement of data practices,” the report states. “These projects include developing a framework for sharing decision-support dashboards across agencies; creating a playbook for data skills training programs; investigating innovative approaches to analyzing public comments; and improving the ways we can use data to help manage wildland fire fuels.”

The CDO Council met 11 times in 2020 and focused much of last year on “on setting up its governance structure, building a CDO community and relationships with other intergovernmental councils and groups, sharing best practices/lessons learned, strategic planning, and supporting CDOs in their implementation of the Federal Data Strategy (FDS) Action Plans,” according to the report. According to a survey of federal CDOs released in August 2020, more than half of those surveyed reported improvements in data quality (64 percent), assessment of staff capabilities and needs (57 percent), migration to cloud-based services (57 percent), and availability of metadata (54 percent).

“By delivering data and analytics solutions to our leaders and field employees, we can have a major impact on how federal agencies more efficiently and effectively serve the public,” Kaouk says in a statement in the report. “By implementing data governance, data workforce strategies, and data management best practices, we can enable access to high quality, timely data that will improve evidence-based policymaking. And by working to share data with strong privacy protections in place, we can help unlock the unique potential government data has to solve major public and private sector challenges.”

MORE FROM FEDTECH: How can chief data officers help agencies?

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