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Why sharing data can save services

The Guardian - In the information age, the public sector – as provider of thousands of services to millions of people – handles more information than most. And with increasing amounts of collaboration between public bodies in order to cut costs and improve services, plus sharing with private-sector contractors and partners, there is a growing need to share this often sensitive information or data in a timely, secure and auditable way.

These issues are being tackled head on by the new multi-agency safeguarding hubs, or "Mash", which bring together police, children's and adult social care teams, health services and others to collect and share information on vulnerable children, families and adults.

But there are serious blockages to progress. A survey of data sharing of 33,000 public servants, published this month by the Guardian and specialist public sector information management solutions firm Objective, found that while 90% of respondents had a business requirement to share files, 71% were restricted from doing so.