SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A task force created to better address challenges facing Utahns was created in an executive order on Wednesday, Feb. 1.

The executive order states that its purpose is to strengthen state agency collaboration and expand information and data sharing. According to Law Insider, data sharing is “a formal agreement that documents what data is being shared, and how the data can be used between the Parties.” State Agency Collaboration means that agencies in the government will collaborate on issues to help Utahns.

What does this mean for the state of Utah?

“We already share and collect data,” said Emma Williams, the public information officer for Cox stated. “This is just a way for us to figure out the best possible way to share this data, and to make sure people are getting the care and the services that best fit their needs,”

Utah still faces certain challenges despite being among the highest ranked for economic strength, growth, employment, fiscal stability, health care, and education, a press release stated.

The task force will help Utah overcome these challenges, which include high suicide rates among adolescents and teens, lack of affordable housing, inflation, and water supply. It will create a safe space for each state agency to share resources, research, evaluations, and data.

“People want a government that’s efficient and effective. As a state government, we can’t be efficient or effective without better sharing of information and resources between state departments,” said Tracy Gruber, executive director of the Department of Health and Human Services. “We are ready to work together to explore the best ways to achieve the best outcomes for Utahns.”

Cox said that with 23,000 state employees, the state of Utah needs to ensure that all state departments are working together.

“By expanding information and data sharing, Utah’s state agencies will be able to better care for and serve Utah families,” Cox said. “This new task force will help break down siloes and support improved collaboration.” 

The task force will be effective immediately and will remain in effect until Aug. 30, 2023.

Members of the task force include the executive directors from the following: the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, Utah dept. of Workforce Services, Dept. of Corrections, Dept. of Public Safety, Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, and the Utah Department of Government Operations.

It also includes the chief information officer for the state of Utah, the government operations privacy officers, and the state’s homeless services coordinator. The task force and executive order are effective immediately.