Public bodies can make savings by sharing information

August 07, 2012 10:03 AM

It is often more efficient and cost-effective when public bodies  pool resources and share information. That’s why it is welcome news that benefits information from the Department for Work and Pensions will now be shared with local councils to help inform the social services that they provide to residents. The Welfare Reform Act, passed earlier this year, means that local authorities will now be able to access data held by the DWP to use in the delivery of social services – a move which is estimated to save taxpayers £75 million a year nationally.

This will end the inefficient practice of councils having to gather the same information that is already being held by the DWP, reducing inefficiency, duplication, and ensuring more targeted information and support is available to those who need it. Of course, this needs to be done so the process is auditable and with enough protection in place for people's personal data. If it isn't, there's always the risk that local authorities will face legal challenges on data protection grounds, which could lead to unforeseen costs through compensation claims. As long these safeguards are put in place then a £75 million saving has to be welcome news for taxpayers.It is often more efficient and cost-effective when public bodies  pool resources and share information. That’s why it is welcome news that benefits information from the Department for Work and Pensions will now be shared with local councils to help inform the social services that they provide to residents. The Welfare Reform Act, passed earlier this year, means that local authorities will now be able to access data held by the DWP to use in the delivery of social services – a move which is estimated to save taxpayers £75 million a year nationally.

This will end the inefficient practice of councils having to gather the same information that is already being held by the DWP, reducing inefficiency, duplication, and ensuring more targeted information and support is available to those who need it. Of course, this needs to be done so the process is auditable and with enough protection in place for people's personal data. If it isn't, there's always the risk that local authorities will face legal challenges on data protection grounds, which could lead to unforeseen costs through compensation claims. As long these safeguards are put in place then a £75 million saving has to be welcome news for taxpayers.

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