Unlocking the value of data - Independent Expert Group: final report

This report is the final output of the Independent Expert Group on the Unlocking the Value of Data programme, to the Scottish Government. This report is a Ministerial commission, and was originally commissioned by the former Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise.

Executive Summary

This report is the final output of the Independent Expert Group (IEG) on Unlocking the Value of Data (UVOD), to the Scottish Government. This report is a ministerial commission, and was originally commissioned by Mr Ivan McKee, former Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise. Chaired by Professor Angela Daly from the University of Dundee, the IEG was set up to provide 'strategic guidance and oversight' to the UVOD programme on private sector use of public sector personal data in Scotland.

According to the UVOD IEG terms of reference (ToR):

The purpose of this programme is to aid decision-making by data controllers regarding the release of, or provision of access to, public sector personal data by the private sector, for public benefit.

The IEG has produced three main outputs over its 15 month lifetime: a recommended Policy Statement, a set of seven Guiding Principles and 19 Recommendations. Altogether, these aim to guide the Scottish Government and Scottish public sector in adopting an appropriate, ethical and engaged approach to Unlocking the Value of Scotland's public sector personal data for private sector use in ways which promote public benefit.

The recommended Policy Statement is:

We consider that when public sector personal data is used by the private sector, this should be done in a way which delivers public benefit and is in the public interest.

This requires consideration of matters including:

  • the potential benefits and consequences of data use for the public;
  • people's rights (in particular the right to privacy); and
  • any value (and also any costs and harm) that is expected to be generated by the data use (viewing value in the broadest economic, social and/or environmental terms), including how these benefits and value will be shared with the public.

The Guiding Principles are:

  • Public engagement and involvement
  • Public interest and public benefit
  • Do no harm
  • Transparency
  • Law, ethics and best practice
  • Enabling conditions
  • Regular review

The 19 Recommendations, addressed to the Scottish Government, are grouped under three key themes: Engage, Enable and Ensure. Their headings are:

  • Engage
  • Enable
  • Ensure

1. Engage in ongoing meaningful public and practitioner involvement and review throughout the data lifecycle

2. Engage with expert stakeholder groups

3. Engage the general public

4. Enable early adoption of Guiding Principles in targeted policy areas

5. Enable awareness of the data held

6. Enable a streamlined approach to data access

7. Enable shared standards and protocols and enable high standards and best practices

8. Enable existing intermediaries and join up

9. Enable collaborative research in this area including the collation of further evidence on blockages and proof of concept research

10. Enable user-centred approaches

11. Enable further investigation into technological opportunities

12. Ensure action plans, resources and conditions are in place

13. Ensure reasonable public benefit rationale provided by those seeking data access, informed by publics and reviewed and verified over time

14. Ensure Data Protection (DPIAs) and Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs)

15. Ensure red lines on access for certain purposes

16. Ensure transparency from public sector in data access provisions and from private sector about their access to this data

17. Ensure oversight is appropriately resourced

18. Ensure collaboration and further input around benefit-sharing

19. Ensure public can trust the companies accessing the data

This report commences with an Introduction containing background and contextual information about the IEG and UVOD and our approach towards compiling this report. The following section contains the IEG's Policy Statement, Guiding Principles and Recommendations, with associated description and context. This is followed by a Context section comprising: a discussion of data categories and types; relevant laws, policies, organisations and initiatives in Scotland; summaries of the Scottish Government-commissioned literature reviews and public engagement activities; a discussion of public benefit, public interest and value; and an overview of data critique.


Email: christopher.bergin@gov.scot

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