Getting Started: Where Does Your Agency’s Existing Data Governance Live?

Group working together

Authors: Bruce Bull and Denise Mauzy

As a Part C or Part B Data Manager, you have a lot on your plate. Your work must be accurate and submitted on time to meet state and federal requirements. There are always things on your list that need to be done when time allows. Data governance, the overall management of data processes, policies, and practices, is often one of those secondary priorities that never gets the time and attention it deserves. Yet formal (written) data governance, polices (e.g., data breach, data system changes), streamline and ease many data manager responsibilities. The saying that you can’t have data quality without data governance is true. And many worry that data governance is too complex and complicated—but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few recommendations to ease into this important topic.

Data Governance Recommendations

1 – Determine Existing Structure

Start by finding out what data governance structure exists within your agency. Every Part C and Part B 619 program exists within a larger state agency. Odds are your lead agency has a formal data governance structure already in place. (Nothing in place? See item six.)

2 – Study Existing Policies

Become familiar with your agency’s existing data governance policies. Focus on those policies applicable to your Part C or Part B 619 data. Exciting reading? Probably not. But you’ll get accustomed to the language and style. You’ll also see how well the policies do (or do not) address your data.

3 – Learn the Decision-Making Process

Learn what group(s) makes the agency data governance policies, procedures, and practices. Is there a data governance committee?

If so, when does the committee meet? Meet with the chairperson. Attend meetings. Ideally, become a committee member. If not possible, be a regular guest. Demonstrate your interest in this topic.

If there is not a formal data governance committee in the agency, ask how agency (not necessarily specific Part C or Part B 619) data governance policies are developed? How are those policies updated?

4 – Find Responsible Staff

Find who is responsible for developing specific Part C and Part B 619 data governance policies. Are Part C staff (for example) responsible for developing—or at least drafting—all, some, or none of the data policies associated with their data?

5 – Review and Evaluate Applicable Data Governance Policies

After determining the who, what, when, where, and how of data governance, investigate and determine how well the existing agency data government policies fit and work for your Part C or Part B 619 program. This will take some time and probably a few discussions with those within your program and those charged with data governance in your agency. Take note of where you might suggest improvements.

6 – Prioritize Policies to Draft or Improve

After reviewing applicable policies against Part C or Part B 619 data governance needs, identify what stands out as a priority. Were there data governance areas that seemed to be missing entirely? Were some policies in need of updating to meet your program’s needs? Draft a prioritized list of Part C or Part B 619 data governance topics to address. Work with your supervisor and determine when and how to address these within your existing data governance structure(s).

7 – Access Resources

Access data governance resources. DaSy developed a comprehensive Data Governance Toolkit for use by Part C and Part B 619 Data Managers and other state staff. It contains general data governance information plus eight topical data governance packets, including policy templates to guide the process.

You may find one or more of these packets and policy templates are just the thing you need to get you organized. DaSy data governance experts designed each packet from a Part C and Part B 619 perspective. You can edit them to fit your specific data governance needs.

Other resources

More Data Governance Resources

Prioritize, Delegate and Ask for Help

Tackle one data governance task at a time. Resist overcommitting. Believe it or not, some DaSy experts enjoy the topic of data governance! They’d like nothing better than to connect with you and figure out how they can help you with your data governance. DaSy can support and help at any point in the process. Contact us.

About the Authors

Bruce Bull

Bruce Bull is a DaSy TA provider. He has worked directly in the IDEA data world since 1996 as a state Part B and Part C data manager, developer of data collection systems, and as a TA provider with six OSEP-funded TA Centers.

 

Denise Mauzy

Denise Mauzy is a DaSy TA provider. She designs and delivers technical assistance on early childhood, child and family services, data governance and management, and data systems. She has worked extensively with education and human service program staff on the development of data governance and management policies and procedures, including data linking.