Designing the Civic Data Trust

Fri, 2019-08-16 05:41 -- Adam Beck

We are hearing more about the Data Trust these days, as our efforts in opening-up and sharing data evolve, with mixed success.

Just earlier this week, SCC hosted an on-line discovery session around digital transparency in the public realm. This discussion clearly identified Australia's lack of policy, and practice, around transparency, privacy and general data governance. 

For some, the Data Trust is a buzzword, for others it’s a potential tool that may soon become a necessity in an era where we try and build greater trust, privacy and transparency in our practices of managing data.

There’s simply little out there to sink your teeth into. A couple of blog posts, and thought pieces at best.

Ok, that’s probably unfair. We have seen the data commons and trusted intermediary model from Barcelona, and Estonia’s API framework management (X-Road data exchange platform) approach. And yes, some more good work from the Open Data Institute, and most recently the proposal by Sidewalk Labs for the Quayside development in Toronto.

And when it comes closer to home here in the region, the emerging data and privacy framework being established by the City of Darwin (which includes Privacy Impact Assessments, Data Exchange and data governance workgroup) could indeed be the early signals of the nation's first Civic Data Trust.

But when it comes to industry guidelines, frameworks or national and international standards – it’s virtually non-existent. Most of what we do come across seems to focus on the data, and the trust, as you would expect. But what about the civic?

At its core, the Civic Data Trust, as SCC will be highlighting in a series of upcoming articles, is about place and people, and creating opportunities for human betterment and community prosperity. At its heart, the Civic Data Trust is about democracy, transparency, equity and opportunity. Surely?

Well, you will ultimately be the determinant of that!

In our role as the industry's peak body for smart cities we have always sought to lead in bringing the best support and guidance to government and the broad ecosystem of stakeholders seeking to help realise the benefits from technology and data.

As such, we are delighted to be hosting Australia's first Civic Data Trust workshop, to help cities, technologists and advisers prepare themselves for engaging in this emerging model of data governance.

This series of modules will be delivered at Smart Cities Week Australia (30 October - 1 November, Sydney), and will work through the why, what and how of Civic Data Trusts in the project accelerator format with a host City. Some of the issues to be covered include:

  • Purpose of the Civic Data Trust and when it should be used
  • Stakeholder mapping and team formation
  • Governance structures, rules, roles and responsibilities
  • Agreements
  • Data sharing processes, provacy and decision making.

As we will highlight, the Civic Data Trust is not the silver bullet to solve all data governance issues, but rather a potential tool for catalysing greater transparency, equity and democracy. And we believe it is a powerful tool that should be part of any organisations data governance program.

But ensuring you have a fundamental purpose for your data, design-in privacy and uphold a strong approach to data ethics is the start. These issues, and many others, will be featured in the 'Data Room' sessions at Smart Cities Week.

Cutting through buzzwords is what Smart Cities Week has been designed for. Whether it be deliberative discussions in the Leadership Circle, or constructive policy dialogue in the Boardroom, our sessions make an impact.

Our Project Accelerator sessions in partnership with the City of Canterbury Bankstown offer real life scenarios, with an education overlay. And Civic Data Trusts will be part of this accelerator.

We offer data discussions that matter, guaranteed. Register now for SCW Australia here.