To enable a more holistic approach to the governance and management of data and official records within the Public Administration. This will also enable the Public Administration to simplify processes and ultimately improve service delivery.
The Data Governance Council was set up in early 2014, with the primary objective of serving as a consultative board for all data-related issues and recommendations within the context of the Public Administration. The Council is mainly responsible for policy direction in relation to the data created and maintained across the Public Administration.
Through OPM Circular 31/2016, the Council embarked on an initiative to identify the existing registers of data having a legal basis across the Public Administration. A considerable number of registers were identified and were included in the Register of Registers. Two base registers, the Person Register and the Address Register, which contain data used in most government processes, have been identified. The owners of these two Registers are Identity Malta Agency and the Electoral Office respectively. The purpose of this initiative is to ensure that data held in all registers, and which is to be shared across the various departments and entities, is accurate and complete, while ensuring that access to this data is in line with applicable legislation and informed consent.
In November 2020, by virtue of Legal Notice 430 of 2020, the requirement for a Business Register was established and the Malta Business Registry was subsequently identified as registrar. Once populated, the Business Register will contain the business profile of every undertaking operating in and from Malta.
The Council is the main consultative and advisory body in all matters relating to the governance of the official registers according to the Register of Registers as per LN 34/2021. The advisory function of the Council includes any high-level discussions and the formulation of policy, direction and decisions relating to horizontally (commonly) used data across the Public Administration.
The Organisational Structures for Data Sharing and Re-Use Regulations were brought into force by virtue of Legal Notice 34 of 2021. The Data Governance Council is therefore legally bound to serve as the focal point for co-ordination and mediation as may be necessary in relation to the management and oversight of the official registers and official records within the Public Administration functions.
The Council is empowered to introduce organisational structures and processes where necessary to ensure that data is used, treated, shared and re-used in an ethically sound manner and in accordance with applicable legislation and best practice, such as the Once-Only Principle (OOP).
The Council is also responsible for ensuring that open data within the Public Administration is made available where possible. To this end, the Council facilitates discussions between data owners within the Public Administration and any third parties who may request access to specific registers or datasets. Any decisions the Council takes in this respect may be appealed before the Information & Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC).
The Data Governance Council is composed of a Chairperson and four other members who are appointed for a term of three (3) years by the Principal Permanent Secretary. The Data Governance Council is assisted by a secretary, who ensures that the Council’s proceedings are effectively organised and recorded.