The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the finalized version of its 2020 Action Plan for the Federal Data Strategy, setting the key actions that agencies and OMB will need to undertake over the next year.

The finalized version of the Year One Action Plan incorporates feedback on the draft actions released in June, and shifts from 16 actions in the draft to 20 actions in the final version. In total, all agencies will need to complete six actions, another four actions will come from OMB and communities of practice, and 10 actions are shared solutions actions led by one agency that aim to benefit the broader Federal community.

“The final 2020 Action Plan features a new forward, an expanded introduction, more detailed descriptions of the Actions, and discussion of the role of future Action Plans,” OMB states.

The finalized version also offers steps and deadlines for implementation, with clear reporting mechanisms identified and clear prioritization levels set between required and encouraged actions for agencies. Actions are also tied to the policies they are implementing, such as the Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act, the Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence, and the Improving Implementation of the Information Quality Act memo.

Outside of the actions themselves, the finalized Action Plan includes more information about how the plan was developed, how it synthesizes new laws and guidance, and how future action plans should build off of the previous years.

“This 2020 Action Plan seeks to do more than compliance, instead providing strategic guidance to agencies in planning their optimal implementation approaches, while filling key gaps to support more robust data management and use across the Federal Government,” the action plan’s preamble notes.

The finalized version drew praise from the Data Coalition, which has been strongly involved in the feedback process.

“Government has room for much improvement in managing and using data more effectively, and the Federal Data Strategy is a productive start. In particular, the Data Coalition is pleased to see that a number of suggestions from industry and stakeholders outside government were thoughtfully incorporated into the final action plan,” said Nick Hart, CEO of the Data Coalition.

Timeline of Action Plan from OMB

The actions for Federal agencies include:

  • By September, all CFO Act agencies are required to identify data needs to answer priority agency questions;
  • By January, all agencies must publish data governance materials online;
  • By May, all agencies must select a maturity model to measure their data practices;
  • By July, all CFO Act agencies must assess data literacy skills, perform a gap analysis and develop a performance plan;
  • By January, all agencies must identify priority assets for open data plans and must work to improve open data availability and quality throughout the year; and
  • By July, all agencies must update comprehensive data inventories every three months for completeness and every six months for comprehensive metadata.

Community of Practice actions include:

  • Launch a Federal CDO Council by January;
  • Identify barriers to AI research and development and pilot solutions by December;
  • Publish a Federal Financial Data Strategy by September; and
  • Develop the National Spatial Data Infrastructure strategic plan by December and provide greater access to geospatial data.

Shared Solution actions include:

  • GSA will develop a repository of Federal enterprise data resources like metadata schema, playbooks, and case studies by December;
  • OMB will establish the Federal Data Policy Committee by January;
  • GSA will develop a curated data skills catalog of learning opportunities by November;
  • GSA will develop a data ethics framework by December;
  • The Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM) will develop a data protection toolkit by December;
  • The Census Bureau will pilot a one-stop portal for requesting restricted datasets by March;
  • The Department of Education will pilot an automated tool that uses information collection review processes to build agency data inventories by July;
  • GSA will develop and pilot a tool for metadata management, data hosting and API capabilities by September;
  • FCSM will develop best practices for data quality, guidance on metadata, and tools on metadata maintenance by December; and
  • GSA will develop a repository of data standards by December.
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