A National Data Strategy Forum to help the country seize the opportunities of data and cement the UK’s place as “the world’s number one data destination” has been announced by the government today.
Minister for Media and Data John Whittingdale and techUK director Sue Daley will chair the forum which will bring together key voices from industry, privacy groups and academia to help implement the UK’s National Data Strategy.
The National Data Strategy is an ambitious, pro-growth strategy that is driving the UK forward in building a world-leading data economy that works for everyone, while ensuring public trust in data use.
The move is announced as the government publishes its response to a consultation on the strategy. The strategy lays out five priority ‘missions’ to be taken to capitalise on the opportunities data offers:
- Unlocking the value of data across the economy
- Securing 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 on which data relies
- Championing the international flow of data
Speaking ahead of a techUK event to launch the new forum, Media and Data Minister John Whittingdale said:
The government has committed to overhauling the way data is used in public services to improve life for people across the UK and points to the nation’s fight against COVID-19 as a prime example, when data was used quickly, efficiently and responsibly to model, predict and ultimately control the spread of the virus.
Climate data from the Met Office helped researchers around the world determine the link between seasonality and the transmission of the virus, while data sharing between healthcare trusts has helped develop faster treatment methods.
Now the government is taking the next steps to look at how the country can leverage existing UK strengths to boost use of data in business, government and civil society.
Work to deliver the strategy is already underway. A £2.6m data project to help in the detection of online harms has been launched and last month the Office for National Statistics’ Data Science Campus said it had already trained almost 700 public sector analysts to use cutting-edge data tools and techniques – smashing the target set in September.
Respondents to the National Data Strategy consultation confirmed the need for action to make sure the UK realises the benefits from better data use and overwhelmingly agreed the National Data Strategy provides an appropriate framework.
Many respondents recognised a need to embrace data as an opportunity to drive productivity and innovation across the economy rather than as a threat to be managed, given risks such as cyber attacks or data breaches.
A new Central Digital and Data Office has now been created to drive forward digital, data and technology transformation across government.
The government is also today laying in Parliament a new data sharing code to make it clearer and easier for firms to share data. The code, developed by the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO), provides practical advice to organisations on how to carry out responsible data sharing.
The ICO has launched a data sharing information hub with guidance and practical tools to help businesses share data fairly, lawfully and transparently, while protecting people’s personal information.
In February the government launched the recruitment for a new Information Commissioner who will be empowered to make sure people can use data to achieve economic and social goals, as well as maintaining their focus on privacy.
It is also leading change on the global stage. As part of the UK’s G7 presidency, the government brought together the world’s leading democracies last month to agree an ambitious vision to put technology at the heart of global efforts to build back better from the pandemic.
Building on the momentum from this, the UK will also host the Future Tech Forum this September. The Forum will convene like-minded democratic partners to discuss the role of technology and data in supporting open societies and tackling global challenges.
Elizabeth Denham, UK Information Commissioner, said:
Sue Daley, Director for Technology and Innovation at techUK, said:
Cabinet Office Minister Julia Lopez said: