Diving Into The Intersector Toolkit: Commit to Information Sharing

blogimage_Commit-to-Information-SharingWe recently updated our Toolkit for Intersector Collaboration to provide even more useful advice to practitioners involved in cross-sector collaborations. Each week we’ll be profiling one of our 17 tools, with a focus on resources that can help collaborations succeed.

Cross-sector collaborations often involve managing many streams of data and information from the multiple actors involved. Openly sharing information among cross-sector partners, including disclosing sensitive facts, gives collaboration partners a more comprehensive understanding of the issue they’re planning to address and builds trust among partners and in the collaborative process.

But sharing sensitive data among partners can come with a variety of challenges — from working with incompatible data management systems to dealing with partners who are unwilling to share data to determining who will manage the shared data safely and securely.

Partners who want to increase the collaboration’s understanding of the mutual benefits of sharing information can turn to the Button Family: Building the Big Picture exercise from the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing. This hour-long activity tests how much multi-agency groups can learn about a fictional family’s situation through dialogue with each other, which can also help partners identify and work through barriers to working collaboratively. This exercise is only one of several resources from the Centre of Excellence in Information Sharing, which offers a wealth of detailed guidance, including explanatory text and several tools and templates, related to many aspects of information sharing, including risks, governance, agreements, and storage.

Cross-sector partners must also address how to manage the information that they’re collecting — Having structures, procedures, and processes for managing data in place can also help encourage partners to share their data. For assistance, partners can refer to the U.S. Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center’s Data Governance Checklist, which provides detailed guidance on building a data governance program. While this resource is not designed for cross-sector collaborations in particular, it provides a comprehensive checklist to assist organizations with establishing and maintaining data governance programs and provides considerations that may be helpful for collaborations, such as assigning decision-making authority over data, conducting data inventories, and generating policies and procedures. The document also identifies responsibilities of “data stewards” — a role that collaborations may assign to partner who has a proven track record of successfully managing proprietary information, to a neutral third party, or to a collaboration funder, or consider other possible management structures.

See Commit to Information Sharing in our Toolkit for further discussion on this topic, questions to guide tool use, and more.

Explore the full Toolkit and each of the 17 tools with enhanced discussion, questions to guide tool use, and additional resources here.