Greater Manchester plans information exchange

CIO says authority plans to have operational system in place by summer 2018

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GCMA) is planning to set up a unified architecture to support data sharing between different public sector organisations in the city.

Phil SwanIts chief information officer, Phil Swan, said it will be in line with one of the core elements of GM-Connect, the information and data programme for the devolved authority, and aimed at providing an integration capability for data to support more effective collaboration between agencies.

Speaking at UKAuthority’s Data4Good conference yesterday, Swan said the authority is aiming to produce a demo around victim services in late November, and begin the procurement in January.

Beyond that there is a target for an operational system to be working for several services by the summer of next year.

Fundamental purpose

“This is a massive piece and fundamental to what we are trying to do in Greater Manchester,” Swan said.

“When you’re starting to bring data together you have to have an identification capability, an identity management capability, some sort of record locator service and a repository for aspects of data. There’s a proposed architecture that sits behind it, but this is the top level view. And you need to do this once, not x times.

“A lot of our focus around this at the moment is to agree a common set of requirements for a unified architecture that does relatively straightforward things but incredibly well, and provides a platform on which we can do lot of other things. All of the projects for public sector reform need aspects of this, and if we do it project by project we’re stuffed.

“And if you create a platform like this you have the ability to innovate.”

SME boost

He said it would provide a boost for the city’s technology sector, giving SMEs a set of capabilities and an open API process that they could use in developing new solutions.

“We need it in place for our major projects and programmes, but it gives us so much more,” he added.

As an example of what could be achieved, Swan pointed to the success of the Information Sharing Gateway for Lancashire, which has provided a platform for about 670 data shares involving 240 organisations.