Data Governance Toolkit: Introduction to Data Governance

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Data Governance is the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity, quality, and security of data. Data governance is both an organizational process and a structure. It establishes responsibility for data by organizing program area/agency staff to collaboratively and continuously improve data quality through the systematic creation and enforcement of policies, roles, responsibilities, and procedures. This toolkit is a resource containing information, guidance, and packets of consideration worksheets and policy templates to assist Part C and Part B 619 program staff with creating or enhancing their data governance policies and procedures. The Data Governance toolkit complements and addresses quality indicators within the DaSy Data System Framework. An important first step for Part C and Part B 619 staff who are responsible for data and data systems is to understand how their program’s data and data systems fit within their larger agency’s data governance structure before addressing individual data governance topics. To that end, DaSy developed the introductory considerations worksheet to support that exploration.

Why is data governance important to Part C and Part B 619 Programs?

As state agencies increasingly use data for multiple purposes (e.g., administrative operations, reporting, monitoring, continuous program improvement, informing state policy issues) it is essential that they have clear policies and procedures about the availability, usability, integrity, quality, and security of the data. Clear data governance policies and procedures are needed at the state level to manage the Part C and Part B 619 data and how the data are used. Of particular importance, stewardship of personally identifiable information requires comprehensive Part C and Part B 619 data governance.

Will the toolkit be useful for different state structures?

The toolkit in intended to assist Part C and Part B 619 programs with different types of existing or proposed governance structures:

  • In some states, the Part C or Part B 619 programs may have stand-alone data governance.
  • In some states, the Part C or Part B 619 programs are contained within a larger data governance structure (e.g., Part B 619 program within a general education governance structure or a Part C program embedded within a health or other lead agency data governance structure).

What types of information are included in the toolkit?

The toolkit is organized into the following sections:

What do the toolkit sections contain?

Each section contains:

  • Overview: A short description of the data governance topic covered in the section and how it applies to Part C and Part B 619 programs;
  • Packet: A downloadable packet (in Microsoft Word) with a considerations worksheet of questions that will help programs draft policies and procedures for that data governance and management topic. The packet also has a fully editable policy template.
  • State Examples: As state examples are found relevant to each data governance topic, and states agree to share them, they will be included.

How should the toolkit be used?

Sections of the toolkit are logically sequenced, although it is not necessary to complete them sequentially. Furthermore, because sections are independent of each other, states can use any section as needed and work on sections in any order. Starting with Section 1 (Existing Data Governance) is recommended to ensure the state has the necessary infrastructure in place to support Part C and Part B 619 data governance.

It is essential that staff first review the data governance structure and policies of their larger state agency. Part C and Part B 619 programs do not operate independently of the state agency in which they are housed. Thus, the structure of any data governance already within an agency is of particular importance. To find out whether your state has a data governance body whose scope includes Part C or Part B 619 data please refer to the DaSy State of the States map.

This toolkit accommodates Part C and Part B 619 programs anywhere along a data governance continuum from “no existing data governance” to “one of many programs in, and governed by, an agency with functioning data governance policies and procedures.”

How can the toolkit be used in a state with no or limited data governance?

Where no, or nearly no, functioning data governance exists—related to Part C or Part B 619—the toolkit contains comprehensive resources for Part C or Part B 619 programs to establish a full set of policies. Such users are encouraged to review and use all sections of the toolkit.

  • Read each part of each section (overview, considerations, and policy).
  • The overview establishes importance.
  • Considerations provides questions to help states think about how data governance should work in their program.
  • The policy is fully editable and prepopulated with language to expedite writing policies. We recommend that you consult with relevant staff and stakeholders when developing these policies. Upon completing the packet, be sure to follow your state’s processes for finalizing and enacting policy.

How can the toolkit be used in a state that already has many existing data governance policies and procedures?

Where data governance policies are in place, Part C or Part B 619 programs might need only to review them.

  • Use the consideration questions within applicable toolkit sections to ensure that they cover Part C or Part B 619 data governance needs.
  • Policies might need to be updated with specific references or provisions related to Part C or Part B 619.
  • In such cases where policies may need updating, the packet in each section may be helpful in proposing language.

What if I need assistance completing the toolkit?

DaSy Center staff are available to provide states with assistance in using the toolkit and supporting states to develop or improve data governance policies and procedures. Please request technical assistance or Contact DaSy staff if you need assistance.

Published February 2021.