Councils to test personal data stores


Councils to test personal data stores

Rebecca Thomson

Councils and central government departments have joined forces to take part in a prototype of a new personal data store in an attempt to solve the problems raised by the "database state".

The idea is to give individuals control over their own personal data, allocating people a digital data store which they can then choose to share with different organisations.

Croydon Council, Brent Council and Windsor and Maidenhead Council have all signed up for the project.

The Cabinet Office, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Information Commissioner's Office are also involved.

Individuals involved will be able to store, manage and transmit basic non-financial data. The company running the project, Mydex Community Interest Company, says it is keen to speak to other local authorities about their willingness to sign up to personal data stores.

The company's co-founder William Heath said it is unique. "It's the first community prototype where different organisations agree to test this new way of working," he said at the Socitm 2010 conference this week.

"Signing up allows councils to reduce costs, engage with residents, and build on their investment to date in customer relationship management (CRM) systems - it's an additional information feed which will make those systems work better, rather than replacing CRM. It will also improve services that depend on data."

He added, "The way personal data is currently managed is stressful, disempowering and alientating for individuals, and expensive for organisations. The implications of a personal data store that's a link between public services and individual could be profound and long-reaching."

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