Updated Federal Data Strategy and Draft Action Plan Coming Soon

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The final action plan is set to be released in August, with deliverables for agencies to meet within one year.

The long-anticipated release of the Federal Data Strategy’s finalized high-level principles and a draft to-do list will happen in the coming weeks, according to one of the data fellows working on the project.

The data strategy—a policy that will help agencies better gather, use and share data—consists of three distinct parts: principles and practices to guide agencies’ thinking and a one-year action plan that will include requirements for agencies to act on immediately.

“We started out with principles: the high-level things that do not change. Then, we go a little more tactical with practices—what’s the three- to five-year time horizon for what agencies should be thinking about,” Trey Bradley, program manager for strategic data initiatives in the Office of Shared Solutions and Performance Improvement within the General Services Administration, said during a webcast Wednesday hosted by Nextgov. “And then, we get even more specific with the annual action plan—what agencies should be focused on in a given year.”

Drafts for the first two parts, the principles and practices, were released last year. Finalized versions of those and a draft action plan were scheduled to be released in January, with a finalized action plan set for April, though the historic government shutdown accounts for at least some delay.

Eager watchers shouldn’t expect too many significant changes to the principles and practices from draft to final, though Bradley said the 47 practices have been slimmed down.

“The principles are going to be pretty much what they are right now,” he said. “The practices, what we tried to do is look at opportunities to consolidate because there was some overlap and similarities between some of the practices. So, we were able to slim them down a little bit.”

While the list of practices will still be considerable, Bradley urged federal employees not to worry.

“When you look at the practices, it’s not, ‘I have to do all this in one year,’” as it is with the action plan, he explained. “It’s more like these are the good things agencies need to do over the five- to 10-year horizon.”

The principles and practices are in “near-final format right now,” Bradley said, with the finalized versions expected to be released this month. The draft action plan will be released at the same time, with an opportunity for agencies to provide feedback.

“This is one of those areas where agencies can give us feedback, particularly because these are the things we’ll be asking agencies to do in the next year,” he said. “We’re very, very keen on getting public comment,” he said earlier in the webcast, citing an upcoming public forum and online feedback options.

After the feedback period, if the current schedule holds, the final action plan should be issued in August.