Using data to unlock wicked problems

The NSW Data Analytics Centre (DAC) is the first of its kind in Australia and is well on its way to becoming a world leader in using government data analytics and insights to design solutions for NSW’s complex community and policy challenges. 

Established by the NSW Government, the DAC aims to address “wicked” problems, which are complex, subtle and ultimately have people’s behaviour at their heart. Through advanced data analysis, the DAC works with government agencies and other partners to develop insights and tools to help solve policy and regulatory issues, resulting in better, more tailored community services.

The NSW Government’s valuable data assets are largely isolated within individual departments and agencies, but important policy issues or the delivery of an enhanced customer experience often cannot be solved by a single department. The DAC connects data and people across government and develops insights and tools to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government services. In some cases, this involves new ways of delivering services or, possibly new services altogether.

The DAC’s work will produce benefits like improved customer satisfaction, identification of fraud, better targeted social service interventions and more effective use of government assets.

The DAC falls squarely into NSW’s Digital and ICT strategy, which is planning for the digital transformation of NSW government services. The NSW Government continued its support of the DAC when it passed ground-breaking legislation last year that allowed it to access data from 160 government agencies and 152 council areas.

Now just over a year old, the DAC is working on 22 government projects, approved by the Cabinet, which will benefit communities around the state. Some of the projects that the DAC has worked on will help

  • improve NSW Fire and Rescue response times to reduce risks to life and property
  • increase the use of public transport and aid in capacity planning  for Transport NSW
  • the NSW Department of Industry better align vocational education and training course offerings in regional areas to employment opportunities
  • forecast population growth to aid the Greater Sydney Commission as it plans Sydney’s infrastructure.