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Data Governance Guide Offers Models for Local Governments

The MetroLab Network has announced the release of its new Model Data Governance Policy & Practice Guide for Cities and Counties, aiming to support data governance initiatives at the local level.

Numbers in cyan representing data fly across black background.
A resource from the MetroLab Network offers local governments guidance about data governance policy and best practices.

The resource, titled Model Data Governance Policy & Practice Guide, offers approaches for use of data that cities and counties possess, whether the government collected it directly or by working with a third party.

“We believe that sharing effective approaches to policy development and implementation tools in a ‘community of practice’ enhances the ability of local governments to both use data and to protect the public and mitigate risks of misuses of data,” MetroLab Network Executive Director Kate Burns said in an announcement this week.

Governments are increasingly exploring ways to push data use beyond spreadsheets and into visualizations and other tools that can really drive decision-making in practice.

The 48-page guide builds on the work of the Data Governance Task Force, which is made up of a coalition of public officials and researchers and led by co-facilitators from MetroLab and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). MetroLab and UMKC have a history of collaboration to advance data use.

The purpose of the guide is to offer jurisdictions the opportunity to learn methods of using, retaining and organizing data based off practices that have already been implemented by other jurisdictions, while also improving public services and mitigating risks.

The potential policy and practice examples can be replicated for governments with varied maturity levels related to data governance. The living document is separated into five sections, which were set by the task force.

The first section outlines definitions and data classifications. The second explores data governance principles related to privacy. The third explores this further, going into data protection and cybersecurity. The fourth explores data sharing agreements and data use rights. The fifth, referred to as the “operationalizing how” section, explores organization and inter-departmental processes as well as community engagement.

On the website where the guide is hosted there is also a resource library hosting over 120 links to references and policies passed by local governments across the country.