Unlocking the Value of Public Sector Data for Public Benefit minutes: March 2022

Minutes for the first meeting of the Independent Expert Group for Unlocking the Value of Scotland’s Public Sector Personal Data for Public Benefit, held on 30 March 2022.

Attendees and apologies

Attendees and Apologies

  • Angela Daly (AD), University of Dundee (Chair)
  • Annie Sorbie (AS), University of Edinburgh
  • Esperanza Miyake (EM), University of Strathclyde
  • James Stevenson (JS), Duo Verre Partnership LLP
  • Charlie Mayor (CM), NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • Mahlet Zimeta (‘Milly’) (MZ), The Open Data Institute

Scottish Government Secretariat

  • Sophie Ilson (SG)
  • Chris Bergin (CB)
  • Lucille Brown (LB)


  • Colin Birchenall
  • Ruchir Shah

Items and actions


  • the Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting
  • the Chair outlined the draft Terms of Reference, which describe the purpose and remit of the IEG
  • the IEG has been set up by the SG and will report to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care
  • the overarching 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 group will provide strategic guidance to inform the development of this work, the associated works streams and tasks of the Practitioner Forum (working group)
  • this work will be shaped by an ongoing programme of public engagement and public consultation
  • in assessing how to unlock public benefit (social and economic) from public sector personal data use, we are responding to feedback from stakeholders, who identified a case for action
  • better access to public sector data sets by the private sector, has the potential to generate significant public benefit, either by the private sector alone or in collaboration with the public sector. This programme will focus on personal data within these public sector data sets
  • public sector data sets about Scotland are also held by UK Government (UKG) bodies such as DWP (benefits-related data)

Programme outputs

The current intended outputs were outlined as follows:

  1. A high-level policy statement – an initial draft of which may be used to guide the questions used in the public consultation.
  2. A framework / guidance for public sector data controllers to adopt and operationalise within their respective sectors.
  3. A public call for evidence at start of the programme.
  4. An ongoing programme of sustained and meaningful public engagement to guide the development of the work in an iterative fashion.
  5. Develop ‘use cases’ to inform development of the work
  6. Stakeholder workshop and / or an academic event
  7. International Engagement Approach – Currently includes planning approach to International Population Data Linkage Network (IPDLN) Conference – Edinburgh 7-9 September 2022 / Data for Policy Conference.
  8. Consider if further research is necessary to inform the programme of work.

Literature reviews

A presentation of the two commissioned literature reviews was provided.

1. Public Engagement – University of Edinburgh

2. Frameworks and Principles – Edinburgh Innovations

A description of the still-to-be-commissioned third literature review was given:

3. Value of data / Business models / economic models / benefit sharing / intellectual property and royalties – UK and internationally

The results of these literature reviews underline the importance of public trust and the public interest.

The Chair presented three reports that set the scene for this work, again highlighting an emphasis on public engagement and participation in decision-making:


The need for absolute clarity on the scope of the work was underlined. The need to involve NGOs and civil society was recognised, as well as the need to have more technological representation on the IEG membership.


Key Points from Scottish Government secretariat:

  • we are taking an Open Government approach. In communicating this work, we will be open, transparent and proactive (e.g. we will publish Terms of Reference, meeting minutes on the corporate website)
  • it is important to contextualise this programme as it compliments and aligns with other strands of the Scottish Government’s work, in particular Scotland’s AI Strategy and the National Digital Strategy
  • the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy has addressed the AI Summit, which is taking place on the same day as this first IEG meeting. She will emphasise the close relationship and synergies with the AI strategy
  • we are mindful of the well-documented sensitivities associated with the subject, and the implications for the reputation of the programme. Tone, clarity and consistency of messaging are critical. As the programme has a public profile, we are prepared for external interest
  • the development of use cases will be important in shaping communications outputs
  • there will be ongoing engagement with our comms team to identify suitable opportunities to promote this work, both internally and externally
  • we will share comms material with the group and seek further opportunities to collaborate on this
  • social media: We recognise this group is independent and therefore it is members’ prerogative to comment on this programme. We would encourage a responsible approach to social media activity. It would be helpful to amplify consistent messages about the programme to raise wider awareness
  • it is important to ensure we prioritise the timely publication of Programme materials in order to ensure transparency and trust. This will also be important for the reputation of the programme

AOB / next meeting

Next meeting 27 April, 13:00 to 14:30

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