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

Minutes from the fourth meeting of the Independent Expert Group for the Unlocking the Value of Scotland's Public Sector Personal Data Programme, held on 29 June 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Angela Daly, University of Dundee (Chair)
  • Annie Sorbie, University of Edinburgh
  • Ruchir Shah, Open Government and Civil Society Activist
  • Esperanza Miyake, University of Strathclyde
  • James Stevenson, Duo Verre Partnership LLP


  • Alexander Weir, Canon Medical Research Europe Ltd.
  • Mahlet Zimeta (‘Milly’), The Open Data Institute


  • Carol Young, Deputy Director of the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights
  • Charlie Mayor, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • Colin Birchenall, Digital Office, Scottish Local Government
  • Ronnie Kelly, Fujitsu UK 

Scottish Government Secretariat

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

Items and actions

Welcome (AD)

The group discussed how to improve engagement with IEG members.

Forthcoming IEG meetings

  • an extension of the IEG has been confirmed until end December 2022
  • aim to shift the December meeting into mid-January 2023, with potential associated extension for IEG mandate into Transition Phase after formal discussion of what the transition phase entails

Action: Secretariat to communicate what the transition phase might look like, including possibility of a Programme Board.

Output 2: Guiding principles to aid decision-making

Key points:

  • Chair has provided a draft of principles circulated to IEG members. Further comments to be provided from IEG members, via a google document
  • Chair acknowledged the fact that the principles should be open to be revisited in the future rather than a final product
  • initial feedback around definitions such as distinguishing ‘data’ and ‘datasets’ and the importance of clarity with intention, including the phrase “make profit”, to bring out key ideas at this stage
  • aim to publish an iteration of the principles in late July/August via a public blog for further feedback
  • the webinar can be referenced in the blog

IEG report

We aim to have a structure to share with IEG members out by late August. Length will be approximately 5-8,000 words. We will discuss the ideal scope and desired audience of this with the Chief Data Officer. This is likely to be geared towards a more expert audience but with a strong, accessible executive summary.

Practitioner engagement

  • so far, feedback has been predominantly from the public sector and mainly in the area of health
  • needs broader industry engagement - stronger on data holders than data users
  • current plans for engagement are via a webinar and focus groups to inform survey of practitioners in addition to monthly email contact from chair
  • aim to procure professional facilitation
  • the focus groups may be of more use than survey
  • discussion about the Practitioner Forum qualifying distinctions (for practitioners therein) and scope to broaden the perspective to gain strengthen credibility and reach

Action: Increase engagement with industry and public sector organisations interested in this type of data. Ask Data and Intelligence Network for practitioner suggestions.

Action: Webinar plans to be evaluated so webinar can take place in late August. Date to be agreed ASAP.

Action: An IEG member has offered to reach out to their extensive network and report back to the full group with insights.

Public engagement

Secretariat stated the aims for public engagement and involvement.

Working phase (March 2022 to December 2022):

  • to inform the design of the principles and policy statement – so far being addressed by public attendance at the webinar
  • need to consider:
  • how to get more public feedback on further iterations of the two outputs (policy statement and principles)
  • how to meaningfully involve the public in the operationalisation phase

Operationalisation phase (April 2023 to April 2024):

  • formally assess public views on the implementation of outputs

Sustained meaningful public engagement/public involvement:

  • design of ongoing, meaningful public engagement /public involvement as a result of assessment from Stage two: operationalisation phase

Communications and engagement

In summary:

  • since the previous meeting, it has been business as usual for comms activity
  • we  have continued our proactive approach to blogging, using the Scottish Government (SG) platform
  • there have been further discussions with the SG website team to determine - if and how - we make further use of SG web assets
  • how will we develop our web landing page so it can be more than a repository for minutes?
  • need to giving some thought to other items we might want to publish
  • the programme comms plan is being refreshed - a further iteration will be shared with group members in due course
  • noted the importance of visual communications

We have been actively looking into the option of film-making. The group discussed an approach to SG’s YouTube Channel with a playlist for UVOD-related videos that can show the chronological description of the process for transparency, with themes such as:

  • What is the programme and outline the purpose
  • Introductions from individuals
  • Outline the themes of the principles
  • More in-depth videos on different specific themes such as consent, practitioner engagement etc

Action: Decide whether the Scottish Government YouTube channel is a suitable format for these purposes.

Forthcoming conferences

  • Data for Policy Conference – we have two contributions from Canada and one from India
  • International Population Data Linkage Network Conference – we are in discussion with colleagues in Canada regarding how to engage and collaborate further with the conference

AOB / next meeting: 31 August 2022 – 13:00 to 14:30.

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