Data Delivery Group meeting: July 2020

Papers and minutes for the Data Delivery Group meeting in July 2020.

Attendees and apologies


  • Shannon Vallor (SV)
  • David Alexander (DA)
  • Lisa Allen (LA)
  • Susie Braham (SB)
  • Jonathan Cameron (JC) 
  • Kevin Collins (KC)
  • Phillip Couser (PC) 
  • Gillian Docherty (GD)
  • Graham Fairlie (GF)
  • John Fotheringham (JF)
  • Katy Guthrie (KG)
  • Alan Howie (AH)
  • Geoff Huggins (GH)
  • Sophie Ilson (SI)
  • Nicola Kerr (NK)
  • Sally Kerr (SK)
  • Albert King (AK)
  • Iain McKay (IM)
  • Rod Murray-Smith (RMS)
  • Shona Nicol (SNi) 
  • Scott Nowbaveh (SNo) 
  • Stephen Peacock (SP)
  • Matthew Rice (MR)
  • Nayha Sethi (NS)
  • Gareth Williams (GW)


  • Janet Egdell
  • Tim Ellis
  • Roger Halliday
  • Paul Lowe
  • Stephen O’Neill
  • Lorna Ramsay
  • Carol Sinclair

Items and actions

Welcome and opening remarks

SV welcomed attendees to the seventh meeting of the DDG, the second to be held virtually.

After introductions ‘round the table’ the secretariat advised who had offered their apologies. 

Note of meeting on 27 April 2020

The action noted in paper DDG/20/2/2 was confirmed as having been completed. 

Covid-19 data work update

Covid-19 Data Task Force

AK gave an update on the Covid-19 Data Task Force, which aims to collect and provide the public sector with rich, real time (or as close to as possible) data to help inform next steps for moving through the Covid-19 Route Map. It makes much use of existing data infrastructure, delivery partners and public benefit and privacy panels. Extensive stakeholder engagement - including with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) - continues to progress its development. DA asked how demanding the work had been: AK advised that it had been challenging; MR welcomed that it is making use of extant systems and processes.

NHS X contact tracing app

JC gave an update on the development of the NHS X Contact Tracing app, key being its shift to a decentralised data model, and related engagement with the UK and Welsh Governments and Northern Ireland Executive. The Republic of Ireland’s app launches very shortly: NHS Scotland will follow the reception and progress of this to help inform future plans. 

Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)

MR advised that the Open Rights Group had highlighted the lack of a DPIA for the NHS X app, and had used Freedom of Information Act provisions to ask if one had been done for similar work by NHS Scotland; they were advised that as it was still in progress it was not eligible for disclosure. AK advised that Covid-19 data work in Scotland is being conducted in accordance with legal obligations, due process and good practice; a lot of the data being handled is not personal data, but location and site data. MR noted that it is not clear if a DPIA had been done for the NHS Scotland ‘Test and Protect’ (T&P) programme. JC advised that it, and other relevant information, will be published in due course, and highlighted the very different approach to DPIA and related issues being taken in Scotland. 

Public Health Scotland (PHS)

SV, having heard calls for guidance on the collection and use of data for T and P, asked how this had been distributed. JC advised that it was pushed out across several channels, including PHS, and received good feedback. PC seconded JC and advised that there is good dialogue with PHS and other partners around data protection, sharing and use, and a strand within T&P focused on citizen engagement. NS asked how citizens’ input would be used: PC advised that two-way dialogue is key to T and P, with questions on public attitudes used to gauge acceptability and help inform future iterations. 

MR welcomed this, and asked how a system to process data gathered by hospitality premises for T and P is being developed, and if variation in the quality of such data is an issue. JC advised that those affected in the recent Motherwell cluster were identified, contacted and tested in line with process, whilst the handling of the cross-border cluster in Dumfries and Galloway cluster harnessed the links between PHS and Public Health England. 

Public trust

SV closed by noting that although public trust in the Scottish Government and its use of data is broadly high, the public may not be as well-informed and confident about the use of their data as might be thought, hence the need for engagement to raise awareness and understanding.  

Data Transformation Framework and fostering adoption of data standards

Data Transformation Framework (DTF): SNi presented paper DDG/20/3/2, jointly produced with SK, which outlines proposals to develop a DTF to help organisations improve data management and reuse, support business resilience and drive data innovation. 

The DTF will comprise a Maturity Framework that sets out a shared vision for data maturity and the core elements of data management to underpin this, resources to support implementation, and a Maturity Dashboard to allow organisations to measure their progress. The DTF will also help support organisations to develop their data strategies. SNi outlined the initial focus on developing data standards, and the possible use of the ‘FAIR’ Data Principles to support this. 

Trademark Fair Data Principles

DA noted that the ‘FAIR’ Data Principles should not be confused with the Trademark Fair Data Principles, that the DTF appears organisation-centric and does not reflect the potential to use it to improve public services, and asked if the DTF would build on prior work. SNi advised that whilst initially focused on data standards the DTF will be further refined by feedback, which is very welcome. 

Data maturity

LA praised the proposed DTF and asked how, given that data maturity can vary considerably, it was intended to ensure a level playing field across sectors: SNi advised that several maturity models are being explored. LA offered to share data maturity assessments from Ordnance Survey work last year, and to further discuss maturity models, with SNi. 

Local authorities

IM advised that work on planning portals found that Scottish Local Authorities each had different data requirements, and that whilst some planning departments see value in making data more widely usable, there is no incentive to make it so as they will not benefit. SNi noted that responding to Covid-19 had highlighted the value of making data usable and shareable, many Local Authorities having found it tricky to do so under pressure. 

SV intervened to suggest that participants in the discussion continue to talk offline.    

DDG priority task updates

Scotland’s AI strategy

GD provided an update. All of the theme working groups will have held their third meeting by 5 August; the consultation and engagement reports will be published in mid-August. On 18 August Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, will chair a  meeting of the strategy steering committee at which members will be updated on progress and invited to discuss next steps, options for which are being jointly developed by The Data Lab and the Scottish Government.

Scotland’s Data Story (SDS) and Research Data Scotland (RDS)

AK advised that work on SDS has been slow due to capacity issues arising from Covid-19 but remains important - due to links with the AI Strategy - and engagement progresses.     

NK gave an update on RDS, which it is planned will be fully established by the end of 2020; legal issues and future priorities remain under consideration. The Covid-19 Data Service went live at the end of May and 25 data sets are now available, with one priority being the linkage of health and census data to help explore socioeconomic factors in the prevalence of Covid-19. Discussions on potential new service models for access to data progress; Roger Halliday will provide an update on these at the next meeting.  

Privacy principles and ethics framework and review of Information Governance (IG)

SB advised that a set of draft privacy principles for the Digital Identity Scotland (DIS) programme will be trialled in the DIS prototyping phase. Feedback on them is welcome; it is also intended to explore how they might sit alongside the existing principles. Work on the ethics framework has not progressed due to team resourcing issues caused by Covid-19.  

SI advised that the Review of IG has been widened beyond research and statistics to include data innovation; a project initiation document is being prepared. 

Data Skills

Stephen O’Neill was due to give an update but offered apologies at short notice. 


No AOB having been raised, discussion returned to data standards. MR asked what dialogue there had been with the open data community in Scotland, and if there is an engagement plan to support work on the DTF. SNi advised that plans are at a very early stage and ideas were welcome: MR offered to share some suggestions with SNi. 

SP welcomed ethics being included within the data standards work, and advised that he would contact SNi with some questions on this offline. He also advised that DDG members may find the UK Parliament Public Services Committee ‘Lessons from Coronavirus’ session on 22 July, to be of interest. 

KC queried how the DTF could be piloted and prioritised, as it could easily get bogged down amongst competing priorities. SNi advised that she will focus on taking forward work on data standards, and ongoing workshops will help to identify other priorities. SNi invited members’ help to develop the DTF, and it was noted that other groups could possibly help. 

SV closed by encouraging members to provide feedback on the DTF to SNi.

Closing remarks

SV thanked all for attending and advised that the next meeting will include strategic discussion. 

Next meeting 

2.00-3.30 pm, Tuesday 27 October 2020 – further details to follow. 


  • provide feedback on Paper DDG/20/3/2 to SNi – all
  • share suggestions for specialist and public engagement on data standards with SNi – MR
DDG meeting agenda: July 2020
Data Delivery Group - Data Standards Report - July 2020
DDG note of meeting: July 2020
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