On 9 September the UK Government released its long-awaited National Data Strategy. This follows the Call for Evidence on the development of the Strategy which closed in July 2019 and a number of follow up roundtables discussions during 2019 including with techUK.
The Strategy published today is a “framework for the action” government is looking to take on data issues. Recognising the importance of getting this right, a consultation has been launched on the framework outlined today with input being sought on the approach and proposals being made by 2 December. Consultation questions can be found throughout the document.
The Strategy published today highlights and outlines the economic and social opportunities for better use of data and data driven technology, including Digital Identity, Cloud, Data Centres and AI across the whole of the UK. It highlights five key opportunities where data has a positive role to play. These are:
- Boosting productivity and trade
- Supporting new businesses and jobs
- Increasing the speed, efficiency, and scope of scientific research
- Driving better delivery of policy and public services
- Creating a fairer society for all
Amongst the details outlined in these five areas, the importance of ensuring the UK’s data regime works for every individual and group in society is recognised and the importance of getting fairness, transparency and trust. The Strategy commits to addressing the need for “appropriate mechanisms” to increase transparency and accountability in “decisions made or supported by algorithmic systems”. It outlines a number actions that will be taken in partnerships with the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) and other bodies.
Recognising that there are a number of “interconnected” data issues that will need to be addressed to ensure the full power of data in these areas can be realised, the Strategy introduces core pillars that will underpin the strategy. These are:
- Data foundations – ensuring data is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable
- Data skills – ensuring people have the right data skills needed
- Data availability – ensuring data is available, can flow (including internationally) and appropriately protection
- Responsible data – ensuring data is used in a lawful, secure, fair and ethical way
The main bulk of the Strategy released today focusing on the proposed plans for focused activity and work on five priority areas, or “Missions” seen as key to ensuring the UK can take advantage of the full opportunities data has to offer. The five Mission areas are:
- Unlocking the value of data across the economy
- Security a pro-growth and trusted data regime
- Transforming government’s use of data to drive efficiency and improve public services
- Ensuring the security and resilience of the infrastructure that data relies on
- Championing the international flow of data
Within each of these Missions the Strategy outlines proposals for action, and details on the role data and data driven technologies has to play to ensure the UK can become a world leader in data whilst protecting individuals data, supporting innovators and entrepreneurs, building trust and confidence in data use and removing existing barriers. Plans to help the public sector to understand and unlock the “potential of data” and ensure the infrastructure that underpins data is “safe and secure” are also outlined in the Strategy as well as proposals to position the UK as an international “champion” of the benefits the flow of data across borders can offer and deliver. The Strategy also outlines the importance of data to help support scientific research particularly in tackling the current global pandemic as well as how data can help support key issues such as future of health and social care, climate change and the UK’s s net zero 2050 target.
In response to the launch of the National Data Strategy, techUK’s Sue Daley, Associate Director of Tech and Innovation welcomed the release and the importance of the consultative approach that is now being taken:
“Unlocking the full power of data has never been more important to our economy and society. A national data vision and strategy for realising the full economic and social value of data is vital to driving social good, innovation, competition, economic growth, productivity and job creation.
“The consultation on the National Data Strategy announced today is key to finding the right way forward for industry and citizens and techUK stands ready to help turn the strategy into a reality. Now is the time to get to work to build and realise the UK’s data-driven future.”
techUK will now work closely with members to develop written input on the proposals set out in the Strategy document and engaging with DCMS officials during the consultation period which closes on 2 December.
If you would like to be involved in this activity and in providing input to techUK’s response to the consultation please get in touch with email@example.com