31 Mar 2022

Six principles for the future of UK data governance

In this paper, techUK and members identified six principles which should be embedded into the UK's National Data Strategy and reform to the data protection regime.



Data is a foundational part of the UK’s economic growth and competitiveness; its use is projected to have added at least £241 billion in value to the UK economy between 2015 and 2020.

As the world becomes even more connected, and the deployment of new technologies such as artificial intelligence rapidly accelerates, the importance and need for good, high-quality data, and trust from all actors involved in data processing increases.  

Setting the right data governance framework for the UK will be vital in facilitating this and in realising our ambition to be a world leading innovative economy and society.

The UK’s data governance framework must support good data availability, promote good data quality, trusted pathways, and transparency for the sharing, use and re-use of data and be underpinned by strong data protection rights. This will be key for supporting innovation, accelerating the digitalisation of the UK economy, and improving policy making at all levels of Government.  

The UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) has created a unique opportunity to tackle these questions with an approach tailored for the UK and its envisaged place in the world. The Government’s National Data Strategy (NDS) and DCMS consultation Data: a new direction outlines ambitious proposals which we believe will enable the UK to set principles for data governance at home and lead debates on global data governance. However, to make the most of this opportunity, the UK needs to be bold and seize the initiative for reform. techUK and our members have identified six principles which should be embedded into the implementation of the NDS and the UK’s future data protection regime to help achieve this aim. 

In collaboration with members, techUK has developed a set of bold principles which we believe will help to realise the UK's ambition to be a world leading innovative economy and society.

The six principles are:

  1. Securing strong safeguards for personal data protection and a pro-innovation regulatory environment,
  2. Setting the UK on the right track to unlock the value of data across the economy and society (non-personal and personal data),
  3. Improving data access for cutting-edge research and development (R&D),
  4. Strengthening the UK’s cyber resilience to protect UK data infrastructure,
  5. Enabling the global free flow of data with safeguards,
  6. Taking a firm line against data localisation at home and abroad.


Neil Ross
“Developing a clearer, more trusted and innovation-enabling data governance system is one of the most obvious opportunities of Brexit. In doing so, the UK must find the right balance between upholding citizens’ rights, allowing data to be reused for research and innovation, while also supporting global data flows. By putting forward these principles for reform, techUK believes the UK can strike this balance and unlock the next wave of data driven innovation. However, the Government will need to be bold and embrace these opportunities, otherwise risks only achieving half-hearted changes, and creating extra compliance for UK businesses without seizing any of the benefits for increasing UK R&D and innovation.”

Neil Ross

Associate Director, Policy - techUK


Find out more information on the UK's upcoming reform to its data protection regime here.

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