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‘Tell us once’ approach would make dealing with Government easier

Friday, 2 December 2016

The creation of a single resident record would make interacting with Government much simpler for members of the public, according to Policy and Reform Minister Chris Thomas MHK.

Holding basic information about individuals centrally would save them from having to establish their identity every time they deal with a different Department, he says.

Mr Thomas is taking a motion and report to the December Tynwald proposing a Cabinet Office feasibility study into a single resident record. Creation of such a record would require changes to legislation and would be subject to public consultation and the enhancement of appropriate safeguards.

The report is entitled ‘Considerations relating to a single resident record for the Isle of Man’.

It states: ‘There are around 60 main databases and over 200 separate systems used across Government that store basic personal information which then requires customers to provide the same personal data to identify themselves multiple times, and as well as being costly and inconvenient to the citizen, can lead to information not being updated consistently.’

The report emphasises that it is not recommending the wholesale collection and sharing of all personal information held by Government, including sensitive service specific information such as medical or tax records.

It gives the Island’s electoral register as an example of a process which is still heavily paper based and which requires householders to supply details at least once each year. ‘This is in direct conflict with the growing appetite for digital services and effective use of customer information’, observes the report.

It cites the use of Government’s online Change of Address service as an indication of customers demand for the ‘tell us once’ approach.

The report also points out: ‘The creation of a single resident register would require amendments to existing legislation. Any such amendments would be subject to meeting international obligations on data protection and privacy, including the Human Rights Act 1998 Article 8 on the right to private life.’

Minister Thomas commented:

‘All Government is saying at this stage is that the potential public benefits of a single resident record are such that we should at least examine the proposal and its implications. I hope people will agree that this is a reasonable approach.’

The report ‘Considerations relating to a single resident record for the Isle of Man’ is available online at

http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/opqp/sittings/Tynwald%2020162018/2016-GD-0082.pdf

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