The UK National Data Strategy: How the UK Government plans to unlock the value of data across the economy
Data continues to have an ever-growing impact across society, offering endless unprecedented opportunities to build a connected digital future. From healthcare, to manufacturing to agriculture, almost every industry is set to benefit from greater use of data-driven insights and decision-making.
However, research commissioned by the UK Government shows there are several barriers which stops data from being shared effectively across the economy. This includes, though not limited to, organisations lacking the resources or knowledge to share data, lack of existing incentives to share data and high cost associated with implementing data sharing practices.
Mission 1 of the NDS seeks to tackle these barriers and ensure that the full value of data is realised across the economy and that the correct conditions are put in place to allow organisations to work collaboratively to develop timely access to high-quality and useable data.
The publication builds on research commissioned by the UK Government, “Increasing Access to Data Across the Economy.” This piece of research identified current barriers to data sharing, the potential levers for Government intervention, the cross-sector effectiveness of these levers and associated risks. The findings have guided the development of the UK’s Government’s proposed actions, in line with Mission 1 of the NDS.
Unlocking the value of data across the economy
A greater amount of data sharing by the private and third sector can have a significant impact on the UK’s economy. It can allow organisations the opportunity to improve and develop products and services, broaden the scope of research and academia, and give consumers more power over how their data is being used.
This policy framework is a welcome and valuable start to helping facilitate data sharing and outlines key areas for Government action, as well as a package of interventions and activities to address them. The full document can be found here.
Four priority areas of action
The policy framework sets out four priority areas for action:
- Establish Foundations
- Support Infrastructure
- Encourage the Market
- Lead, Cooperate and Collaborate
You can find a summary of the policy framework below though note that those interested in learning more about what the UK Government has done and plans to do, should read the full document which can be accessed here.
Establish Foundations: This priority area focusses on building a strong foundation to build an accessible, interoperable, and useable data economy which also protects the rights of data subjects. The UK Government believes a common approach to standards can facilitate greater data sharing, interoperability, and innovation.
To promote the use and value of data, the UK Government plans to:
- Ensure data is held according to FAIR principles so that data is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.
Support Infrastructure: The development of infrastructure is seen by UK Government as a way in which to stimulate innovation and unlock the power of data across the economy.
To help deliver this, the Government aims to facilitate infrastructure development in the following ways:
- Encourage the development and uptake of Privacy Enhancing Technologies;
- Support the development of a thriving intermediary ecosystem that enables responsible data sharing;
- Support the development of infrastructure that promotes the availability of data for research and development purposes.
Encourage the Market: This priority area considers intervention options to help support and develop a healthy, thriving, and responsible data-driven market.
The UK Government plans to:
- Use incentives to maximise value for money data sharing in support of public good;
- Support effective and well-functioning markets by addressing data practices that distort competition and consumer outcomes - including by widening access to data, where appropriate.
Lead, Cooperate and Collaborate: Finally, the UK Government outlines the benefits of engaging internationally to identify learnings, best practice, and opportunities for collaboration beyond our borders.
The UK Government will deliver this by:
- Learn from international partners and develop international cooperation to support the UK’s data agenda on the world stage.
techUK recognises the far-reaching benefits data sharing will have on UK-based organisations and the economy and welcomes this policy framework which we believe will set the UK on a good course for success. We look forward to learning more detailed plans on the delivery of this initiative, and to engage with the UK Government on the more technical considerations of the framework.
Dani joined techUK in October 2021, where she is now Policy Manager for Data.
She formerly worked in Vodafone Group's Public Policy & Public Affairs team as well as the Directorate’s Office, supporting the organisation’s response to the EU Recovery & Resilience facility, covering the allocation of funds and connectivity policy reforms. Dani has also previously worked as a researcher for Digital Catapult, looking at the AR/VR and creative industry.
Dani has a BA in Human, Social & Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge, focussing on Political Philosophy, the History of Political Thought and Gender studies.
As Head of Policy Neil leads techUK's domestic policy development. He regularly engages with UK and Devolved Government Ministers, senior civil servants and Members of the UK’s Parliaments with the aim of supporting government and industry to work together to make the UK the best place to start, scale and develop technology companies.
Neil joined techUK in 2019 to lead on techUK’s engagement in the UK-EU Brexit trade deal negotiations, as well as leading on economic policy.
He has a background in the UK Parliament and in social research. Neil holds a masters degree in Comparative Public Policy from the University of Edinburgh and an undergraduate degree in International Politics from City, University of London.
Sue leads techUK's Technology and Innovation work.
This includes work programmes on cloud, data protection, data analytics, AI, digital ethics, Digital Identity and Internet of Things as well as emerging and transformative technologies and innovation policy. She has been recognised as one of the most influential people in UK tech by Computer Weekly's UKtech50 Longlist and in 2021 was inducted into the Computer Weekly Most Influential Women in UK Tech Hall of Fame. A key influencer in driving forward the data agenda in the UK Sue is co-chair of the UK government's National Data Strategy Forum. As well as being recognised in the UK's Big Data 100 and the Global Top 100 Data Visionaries for 2020 Sue has also been shortlisted for the Milton Keynes Women Leaders Awards and was a judge for the Loebner Prize in AI. In addition to being a regular industry speaker on issues including AI ethics, data protection and cyber security, Sue was recently a judge for the UK Tech 50 and is a regular judge of the annual UK Cloud Awards.
Prior to joining techUK in January 2015 Sue was responsible for Symantec's Government Relations in the UK and Ireland. She has spoken at events including the UK-China Internet Forum in Beijing, UN IGF and European RSA on issues ranging from data usage and privacy, cloud computing and online child safety. Before joining Symantec, Sue was senior policy advisor at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Sue has an BA degree on History and American Studies from Leeds University and a Masters Degree on International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Birmingham. Sue is a keen sportswoman and in 2016 achieved a lifelong ambition to swim the English Channel.