Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

New law sets out directions for data sharing among Singapore Government agencies

New law sets out directions for data sharing among Singapore Government agencies

On January 8, the Public Sector (Governance) Bill (“the Bill”) was passed in the Singapore Parliament, setting out directions for data sharing among government agencies.

The Bill was first read on November 6, 2017. It aims to set out a consistent governance framework across the public bodies in Singapore and to support a whole‑of‑government approach to the delivery of services in the Singapore public sector. Division 2 of the Bill focuses on data sharing directions and prescribes safeguards against abuses.

Directions may be made for data sharing by a relevant minister (as described in Division 1) for all or any of the following purposes: 1) to uphold and promote the values of the Singapore public sector; 2) to secure economies or efficiencies for the Singapore public sector; 3) to improve (directly or indirectly) the efficiency or effectiveness of policies, programme management or service planning and delivery by Singapore public sector agencies (whether by carrying out data analytics work or otherwise); 4) to ensure business continuity; 5) to ensure accountable and prudent stewardship of Singapore public sector finances and resources; 6) to manage risks to the financial position of the Government; and 7) to support a whole-of-government approach in the discharge of the Singapore public sector agencies’ functions.

According the Bill, when a data sharing direction is given, Singapore public sector agencies and their officers are authorised to share the information under the agency’s control with another Singapore public sector agency to the extent permitted by the data sharing direction despite any obligation as to confidentiality under the common law. However, this does not override any obligation as to confidentiality because of legal privilege or contract.

Unauthorised disclosure and improper use of information (the disclosure or access is not in accordance with any data sharing direction, and the individual does so either knowing that the disclosure or access is not in accordance with that direction or reckless as to whether the disclosure or access is or is not in accordance with that direction) carries penalty for the guilty individual in the form of a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.

The resignation from the Singapore public sector agency by the individual is immaterial. Criminal proceedings may still be instituted even after he/she leaves the service of the Singapore public sector agency.

The same penalty is applicable to unauthorised re-identification of anonymised information.

Clauses 46 in the Bill onwards make an amendment to a standard secrecy provision in several Acts of public bodies which today prohibit disclosure by employees of public bodies of information controlled by the public body. The amendment provides for disclosure where allowed by law (which includes the Bill).

This amendment read together with clause 6 (which deals with the effect of a direction) clarifies that the standard secrecy provision does not prohibit data sharing between Singapore public sector agencies, where that is permitted by the data sharing direction given to them.

Clause 107 amends section 3(2)(b) of the Statutory Bodies and Government Companies (Protection of Secrecy) Act (Cap. 319) to further facilitate the expeditious sharing of data between Singapore public sector agencies.

A truly whole-of-government approach and enhanced data sharing among government agencies could potentially lead to significant improvement in the design and delivery of government services. For instance, the delivery of government services structured around key moments of life, which is one of the strategic smart nation projects, would necessitate easier data sharing between agencies. (It means that citizens do not have to approach different government agencies to get services they might need at moments like going for higher education or getting married or having a child. The agencies will come together to deliver whatever the citizen requires.)

However, concerns were raised in the Parliament regarding security and data privacy, as reported by Channel News Asia and Today. Minister in charge of public service innovation, Ong Ye Kung, who is also the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), sought to address the concerns saying that public servants can only access data based on security clearance, and there has to legitimate purpose or need. Data will be classified by sensitivity levels and appropriate guidelines applied for collection, transfer and handling of data. Anonymised data will be used in areas where it would serve the purpose and individuals’ details are not required.

Access the complete text of the Bill here.

Featured imageYoshimasa Niwa from TokyoJapan/ CC-BY-2.0


Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.


As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.


Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit


SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.


HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 


IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,800 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service. For more information, visit