When obtaining and releasing administrative data it is important to be aware of the political sensitivities that may impact on its provision. This is particularly the case if the administrative data could be perceived in an unflattering way. For example, it may be especially sensitive if the data are used to compare one jurisdiction to another. It is important to consider how the data are going to be displayed and reported upon. Data custodians may want to review the way in which the data are reported and used publicly.
It is important to determine roles, ownership of outputs and governance of the process early on in the discussion of the acquisition of administrative data. This is because a data custodian may be quite sensitive about what the data are going to reveal and may want to have an influence on how the data are reported. In order to alleviate any potential reporting or general maintenance issues in the future, it is recommended that discussions over ownership and governance arrangements be established from the beginning.
Another issue that may arise due to political influences is the use of different definitions for reporting. Data custodians may use non-standard definitions for collecting information if there is a known issue with a particular concept or topic which might prove to be unflattering to the data custodian.
The independence and transparency of the data custodian in collecting the data will impact on the quality of that which is provided as well.
This page last updated 23 March 2011