Robust data is key to public service delivery, says KPMG

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Responding to the publication of the Policy Exchange 'big data opportunity' report, Iain Gravestock, a partner within KPMG's IT Advisory practice, said: "We are pleased that Policy Exchange recognises that the information underpinning public services is an essential asset in the battle for better efficiency. More robust information and, more importantly, its analysis, is key to deciding the best use of diminishing resources across the public sector.  With fewer available staff, information that provides greater insight into the behaviour of taxpayers locally, regionally and nationally will play an essential part in delivering better front line services.

Gravestock continued: "The sheer volume of data available within the public sector can be overwhelming. However, technology now allows 'Big Data' sets to be broken down and the most valuable and specific information captured.   In our view three clear policy areas where this approach could drive better delivery and outcomes are reducing fraud in payments, better health outcomes for high cost health conditions and avoiding the future collection of existing data sets.  In our experience, too often valuable data is captured from multiple sources but not used effectively, resulting in duplication of services and resources with the additional cost implications.  It is essential that data sets are captured once, shared and reused with the explicit purpose of delivering new policy and services, rather than the current approach of assuming new services require new data and new information.
"The intelligent use of 'Big Data' will also allow the public sector to design the next generation of UK public services with better understanding of the behaviours and needs of a diverse range of users. This reflects current practice by organisations such as Amazon, LinkedIn and other online businesses, who understand their customers and personalise their services.  It is only through capturing and analysing data in this way that the public sector can quickly design and adjust services to meet the mood and attitudes of its 'customers'."

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