GERMANY: Data Management in the German Federal Administration


The German SAI conducted cross-sectional audit work on data management (DM) in the German federal administration. The Federal Government promotes the use of data in civil society and public administration. To this end, it published its data strategy in 2021. In order to successfully implement this strategy, professional management of administrative data is required. DM includes all procedures and processes that are necessary to provide usable data in the business processes.

We determined that the Federal Government has not yet succeeded in establishing a consistently functioning DM within the federal administration.

We evaluated a total of 155 responses and ascertained that 60 % of the surveyed institutions had not defined any responsibility for DM yet (see Figure 1). 21 % of the institutions had a decentralised organizational unit (OU) or named some individuals as being responsible for DM. Only 19 % had implemented a dedicated unit in their organization.

SAI Germany Data management pic

Figure 1: Responsibilities for data management

Source: SAI Germany

Only few institutions stated that they had already developed a DM strategy. Furthermore, only a minority of the institutions drafted specific concepts for DM or established an information lifecycle management.

These findings translate into severe obstacles regarding the implementation and use of new technologies, as 27 % of the surveyed institutions identified a lack of data or insufficient data quality as major challenges.

In conclusion, we determined that as of now it is hardly possible for the federal administration to operate in a desired modern and data driven way. We recommended, that the federal ministries should take the lead in advancing the change process for their respective administrative responsibilities and set a "good example" for successful DM in the administration. Moreover, we stressed the importance of implementing standardisation for strategies, concepts and the development of data catalogues.