National Expert Group on Digital Ethics: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the National Expert Group on Digital Ethics.

Name of group

National Expert Group on Digital Ethics


12 months, beginning in July 2020


The Expert Group on Digital Ethics forms part of a series of exercises commissioned by the Scottish Government to surface ethical issues for Scotland's digital economy and digital society.

Purpose of the group

The overarching aim of the Expert Group is to develop a strategic framework and recommendations for an Ethical Digital Scotland, informed by the best available evidence, specialist cross-sectoral knowledge, and insights from engagement with multiple publics and stakeholders. This will help to inform policies, and potentially regulations, aimed at improving the security, integrity, inclusivity and trustworthiness of digital innovations and programmes.


7-10 core members including academics from a range of relevant disciplines, civil servants and local government practitioners, regulators and ethics boards, cybersecurity experts, digital consumer advocates, third sector organisations and innovators focused on ethical products and services. The Expert Group will be supported by an advisory network of approximately 30 members, and through engagement with citizens engaged in long-term programme of workshops facilitated by Carnegie Scotland.


The Expert Group will be independent of government but will be supported by and report to the Scottish Digital Directorate, via the Chair. All participants will be asked to sign a Conflicts of Interest statement and maintain high standards of integrity.


The draft ToR will be reviewed at the first meeting of the Expert Group and at the first mini public engagement event with members of the public.  Any suggested changes will be discussed, and revisions made as appropriate. The ToR will reviewed after 4 months, to take account of any new policy issues arising and the perceived usefulness of the exercise so far.

Working methods

The Expert Group will meet once per month, beginning in July 2020.  Initial briefing and scoping meetings will be followed by evidence sessions focused on specific issues or sectors. Members will be expected to participate in reviewing documentation between meetings. Meetings will be held online and will be Chaired by Professor Claudia Pagliari and arranged by and supported a secretariat based in the Digital Directorate. Documentation will be circulated one week prior to each in-person meeting.  The Expert Group will also engage with citizen representatives through a series of online workshops and consult remotely with members of the external advisory network, when inputs are required on key issues.

Information sharing and confidentiality

Information will be shared digitally using a secure online service. Participants will sign a confidentiality agreement.Bottom of Form

Report writing

Members of the Expert Group will be expected to participate in preparing the final report and recommendations, which will be coordinated by the Chair and supported by the secretariat.

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