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Information Sharing Authorising Framework

The Queensland Government is a huge generator and consumer of data and information.  Yet regularly, decision makers across all levels do not have access to all the requisite information they need when making crucial decisions – particularly if the information or data is located outside their line agency. Too often, access to crucial information and data is limited due to a misunderstanding of the risks and a lack of consideration on the overall value of sharing.

The Information Sharing Authorising Framework (ISAF) aims to change this status quo by helping agencies strike the right balance between understanding and mitigating risk and realising the benefits and outcomes when sharing data and information. It consists of a set of guidance and advice that assists those agencies who seek to establish and manage an information sharing activity.  The ISAF is broad in it's design and can facilitate sharing across the full spectrum of data and for a broad gamut of uses. These include:

  • to help agencies facilitate service and program delivery
  • inform policy development and implementation
  • provide data input to research and analytics activities
  • publish open data into the public domain

The ISAF strives to ensure Queensland Government information is exchanged between parties without friction, while respecting the privacy rights of individuals and balancing risks and opportunities. The development of the ISAF was led by QGCIO, in conjunction with the vendor partner GWI, and supported by valued contributions from subject matter experts across Queensland Government.

Let us know what you think!
If you have any thoughts, comments or feedback on the framework than we would love to hear from you! Please contact the QGCIO Information Strategy and Policy team at transformation@qgcio.qld.gov.au

Background

The inability to effectively share information between Queensland Government agencies has been highlighted extensively through many independent reviews of distinct Government service delivery failures. This includes the following watershed reports where ineffective information sharing is highlighted as an attributing factor:

Each report makes recommendations to improve information sharing within their service delivery domain and positive tangible progress has been made on this across multiple fronts and in many service delivery areas (In fact, the Information Sharing Authorising Framework draws heavily on the work conducted by the 'Our Child' Information Sharing Solution established in response to the When a child is missing report). However, the need to improve information sharing process and practice more broadly across all service delivery domains still remains. Subsequently, the Information Sharing Sponsoring Group (a Directors-General ICT Council endorsed oversight sub-committee) approved the development of an authorising framework to provide clear guidance and structure for information sharing across broad range purposes and for use by a broad range of agencies.

Structure

The framework is a group of modular components comprising mostly of process guidance, artefact templates and other relevant resources that assist in the establishment and subsequent management of an information sharing activity. For simplicity, these components are organised into four distinct phases which cover the life-cycle of an information sharing activity. The modular design of the framework allows sharing practitioners to easily select the right guidance or tools that best fit their individual circumstances and sharing objectives. A primary premise for the development of the framework was to change the nature of the information sharing conversations from being primarily about ascertaining and remediating risk (either real or perceived), to identifying and permitting information sharing opportunities to improve the business of Government.

The following key relationships assist in structuring the framework for use:

  • Each phase of the Framework has subordinated sub-phases. These sub-phases are comprised of a number of activities, with each activity producing or contributing to an enabling artefact.
  • The Prepare phase should always occur first as its primary output is a master information sharing agreement
  • The Manage phase is core to all other phases and can be considered the default operating phase of the framework. (i.e. the phase where a sharing activity sits when in it's production state)
  • Innovation can occur in any phase (and the Use phase includes formal opportunities to include innovation)
  • Information sharing ends in the ‘Retire’ activity of the Manage phase

The Four Phases of the Framework

Additionally, the framework has two mechanisms that strengthen and support an information sharing activity. These are:

  1. Permitted Usage Conditions Model
  2. Escalation Pathway

The Permitted Usage Model

The Permitted Usage Conditions Model provides a standardised way to give clear and consistent permission on the use of any shared information in an activity. Empowering information custodians to define permitted uses of shared information through a standardised model guarantees clarity of intent and removes the risk of liability through misuse across the information value chain.

Escalation Pathway

The Escalation Pathway provides a short circuit mechanism to help a stalled information sharing agreement where one or multiple party members aren't able to agree on the sharing of information. The pathway allows for decision makers to be provided a full and comprehensive understanding of the risks and opportunities to make an informed decision on sharing.

Components

The diagram below shows all the comprising artefacts of the Information Sharing Authorising Framework. Each artefact is the result of one or more activities conducted across each phase of the Framework. Key enabling artefacts include the Master Sharing Agreement and the Information Exchange Schedule.

Formal Agreement Instruments

The framework includes a hierarchical set of formal agreement instruments that aim to provide consistent, structured and reusable authorisation pathway for all information sharing activities established by the Framework. These formal agreement instruments are outlined in the table below.

Instrument

Level of Sponsorship

Description

Data and Information Sharing Charter (PROPOSED)

Director-General

Whole-of-Government executive agreement on core principles of information sharing which all government agencies strive to.

Master Sharing Agreement

Deputy Director-General

Agency executive agreement for information sharing between all relevant parties for a broad context.

Information Exchange Schedules

Executive Director

(or CIO)

Comprehensive details and protocols of information sharing activities in an endorsed context and with a narrow and specific purpose

The diagram below shows the hierarchical structure of the formal agreement instruments. The Data and Information Sharing Charter sets the direction of government, the Master Sharing Agreements authorise sharing for a broad purpose (such as child protection information) and the Information Exchange Schedules define in detail information sharing for a narrow and specific purpose, which has been endorsed under a broader context (i.e an Master Sharing Agreement)

Further Information

Information Strategy and Policy, QGCIO
transformation@qgcio.qld.gov.au
07 3215 3942


Last Reviewed: 27 March 2018

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