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There are a range of complex underlying issues contributing to poor data quality.

Data quality sector survey

In 2018, REG developed a survey for the sector to gain a greater understanding of the root causes for inconsistent data quality to support the development of a sector-wide improvement programme.

The following common themes affecting data quality were identified:

  • There is a general opinion there is a lack of understanding of the impacts of poor-quality data.
  • There is a lack of resources and competency across the sector.
  • There is a lack of sector guidance on what to collect, to what level, why and how to do it.
  • Data is currently not valued or considered a priority.

We were very pleased with the quality and openness of the responses received and would like to thank the 130 respondents who took the time to complete the invaluable survey.

One Network Road Classification (ONRC) improvement programme (phase 1)

The ONRC phase has also involved analysis to understand the root causes of poor results and potential areas for improvement for the sector and RCAs. This identified the primary root causes of poor data quality as follows:

  • lack of industry understanding or guidance around the management of key datasets
  • poor processes for the timely collection and recording of maintenance and renewal activity
  • missed opportunity through ‘doing what always has been done’.

The subsequent ONRC improvement programme (phase 1) is helping RCAs move their data quality towards the expected standard. This includes development of eight practice overview documents:

The practice overview documents were a part of the 2018 REGional workshop programme consisting of an introduction at R14 (August 2018) and detailed learning around R15 (October/November 2018).

2019 ONRC and Asset Management improvement programme (phase 2)

The results of the new 2017/18 data quality reports along with the data quality survey results supported development of a potential sector-wide improvement programme that was introduced at the R15 REGional workshop.

Across the workshops there was a high level of support and agreement with the areas of focus of the potential work programme.

An improvement programme of six projects was agreed which has some crossover with the DEfT programme (Asset Management Data Standard) project. The DEfT programme will focus on data standards while the Data Quality Project will focus on developing guidance (including case studies) and enabling a complementary learning programme that will build the sectors data quality capability.


Guidance will be produced in 3 waves to help RCAs improve their data quality for their 2021/31 AMP’s as follows:


1.  Updates to practise overviews:

  • Work origin and original cost
  • Surfacing data

2.  New practise overviews:

  • Data quality framework
  • Data quality dimensions
  • Understanding the Data Quality Results
  • PMRT etc (provisional TBC)

3.  A metric library that provides detail about each data quality metric (second release to follow).

Published March 2019
Released at RIMS Forum 20–21 March 2019

4.  New Guidance (subject to change):

  • Annual asset information planner
  • Quality Assurance including example specification
  • Managing, and maintaining expected surface lives
  • Data quality improvement prioritisation/needs
  • Data maturity index to access an organisations capability
  • Maintenance activity standard unit practice
  • Standard clauses for procured data collection services
  • Local Authority Database Operation Manual (or parts thereof)
Published by August 2019

5.  Case studies showcasing:

  • Actions taken by RCAs to address issues in data quality
  • What has been done to achieve some of the best results across all the RCAs
  • Reveal what some RCAs are doing to have significantly improve their results
Published by August 2019

Learning programme

The guidance developed by REG will be the basis of the data quality learning programme which is expected to be supported by an enhanced online presence to help build enduring sector capability.

The REG learning and development programme and in particular the REGional workshop programme will continue to be a key medium to facilitate the culture change, consult and inform RCAs of the new guidance and project outputs.

REG is exploring partnering with a suitably experienced organisation to develop and deliver a technical training programme to help the sector apply the guidance and improve their data quality.

Better interrogation of data quality results

As well as producing the annual pdf reports for each RCA, the information in the ONRC and Asset Management data quality reports are also within the ONRC Performance Measures Reporting Tool (PMRT). The PMRT has dashboard functionality so RCAs can interrogate their data quality results.

During 2019 the annual national data quality results generation and reporting is transitioning to PMRT for 2018/19 results onwards. It is expected the annual publication of RCA reports via online PDF reports will be replaced by functionality within PMRT and high-level results for each RCA will be published online.