Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about IDSs and the AISP Network? We have answers.

Click on a question to reveal its answer.

Your organization can request to become part of the AISP network by following these guidelines. A) Establish ongoing data sharing and integration from at least three agencies or program providers that include formal documentation of the relationships (e.g., signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU). B) Create a formal structure (governance) to review and approve specific projects that utilize the integrated data system at your site. C) Form an ongoing infrastructure that exists beyond a single project. This should include analysts and analytic capabilities through partnership and funding for on-going operations. Please refer to the AISP Network Membership page for more information.

Building an integrated data system is both a relational and technical project and begins with data governance. These tips may be a helpful starting place. If you’re ready to dive deeper, check out these foundational resources.

The most common way to fund the development of an IDS is through a grant (generally from a local foundation or government agency) to perform a demonstration project that addresses a pressing policy issue in your community. This provides start-up funding for the operations, infrastructure, data integration, and analysis. Demonstration projects illustrate the value of IDS to local stakeholders, and should lead to future project requests and funding. Once an IDS becomes viewed as essential to a jurisdiction’s operations and decision-making, it may become institutionalized as a recurring budget line item.

For this reason, it’s important to build your community’s IDS to address the priority needs of the community and participating agencies. While it’s easy to get lured into buying an expensive, state of the art technology system, it’s more important to have a system that meets your organization’s needs and allows for future growth.

Yes, we can provide consultation on the following topics:

  • Organizational readiness
  • Data governance processes
  • Agenda setting
  • Legal issues
  • Data quality and security
  • Integrated data models
  • Technical architecture
  • Staffing and sustainability
  • Inclusive community engagement

Please reach out to burnettt@upenn.edu to learn more.

Yes! But it must be done ethically and securely, in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations.

The federal Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a (2000), is the omnibus “code of fair information practices” that regulates the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personal information. The Privacy Act is designed to balance the government’s need to maintain information about individuals with the rights of individuals to be protected against unwarranted disclosure of personal information (i.e., any data element that can be used to identify the individual like names, Social Security numbers, and addresses). FERPA and HIPAA are the federal laws governing education and health information, respectively.  Each of these federal laws include exemptions or exceptions that permit public agencies to share data for purposes of research, audit and evaluation, provided that appropriate data security policies and procedures are in place, and that identifying data are either not shared (de-identified research files are created) or if shared they are not redisclosed (governed by a business agent agreement or other contract).

For more information, see IDS Legal Issues: Finding a Way Forward and our repository of federal guidance on data sharing.

Administrative data are records that are maintained by public and private agencies to track the business activities of those agencies.  They can include vital records, like birth and death certificates, medical records, school district records, earnings and employment data, housing assistance, justice programs, etc., as well as privately collected records such as credit scores.

Integrated Data Systems (IDS) link administrative data across government agencies to improve programs and practices through evidence-based collaboration.  Click here for more information.

Our 18-month TA program, the AISP Learning Community, is designed to accelerate the rate of growth in the IDS field, and help developing sites build political will and IDS capacity, connect to national experts, and learn from their peers across the country.

The TA is specifically geared for sites that seek to develop and sustain an IDS for policy analysis and program evaluation. It will not address administrative data integration for purposes of case management.

Applicants may be located anywhere in the United States, and must meet the following requirements:

  1. States and/or local government agencies interested in IDS development, or their representatives (university or non-profit organization).

AND

  1. Currently working on IDS development, as expressed through:
  • Agency executive leadership – demonstration of an expressed commitment by executive agency leaders to IDS creation
  • Staff capacity – identification of interdisciplinary personnel who will play a leadership role in the IDS development effort

We anticipate our next Request for Applications will be released in Fall 2019.

People’s day-to-day experiences and interactions don’t exist in siloed spaces. However, the data collected by different government agencies and service providers are typically not connected. This means that it’s difficult to understand how policy or program changes in one agency affect a group’s outcomes in another agency. Integrating administrative data across government agencies changes this. For example, because of IDS, we know that permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals reduces their rate of incarceration and hospitalization, while also decreasing government costs and increasing well-being.

IDS allow counties, states, and cities to evaluate the programs and policies that serve their constituents so decision-makers can implement strategies that best address their community’s needs. Furthermore, integrated administrative data can also be used in the development of new, innovative responses to societal problems. Through social policy experimentation, IDS can more quickly determine whether this newly implemented program has the intended effect.