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

Minutes from the sixth meeting of the Independent Expert Group for the Unlocking the Value of Scotland's Public Sector Personal Data Programme, held on 28 September 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Angela Daly, University of Dundee (Chair) (AD)
  • Charlie Mayor, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • Mahlet Zimeta (‘Milly’), The Open Data Institute
  • Esperanza Miyake, University of Strathclyde


  • Carol Young, Deputy Director of the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights
  • Annie Sorbie, University of Edinburgh
  • Ruchir Shah, Open Government and Civil Society Activist
  • Colin Birchenall, Digital Office, Scottish Local Government
  • James Stevenson, Duo Verre Partnership LLP
  • Rachel Nixseaman, The Democratic Society


  • Ronnie Kelly, Fujitsu UK
  • Alexander Weir, Canon Medical Research Europe Ltd.

Scottish Government Secretariat

  • Sophie Ilson (SG), Lucille Brown (LB)

Items and actions

Welcome (Chair)

AD welcomed attendees and thanked those who have offered to write blog posts about this, and previous, Independent Expert Group (IEG) meetings. Discussions began.

Key points:

  • the group discussed key issues that the IEG would need to address in their three remaining meetings, before the wrap-up of the IEG in January 2023. As several IEG members were not in attendance, it was agreed that this point should be addressed via email to ensure all IEG members have an opportunity to contribute
  • the Chair reminded attendees that she is organising 1:1 meetings with IEG members, to allow them the opportunity to note any pressing matters that the IEG should consider in these meetings and in their final IEG report
  • the Chair invited consideration of how to incorporate feedback received at the webinar on 1 September, and suggested scheduling another event, as the working life of the IEG comes to a close (December 2022 / January 2023)

Action: invite IEG members, via email, to suggest core topics for discussion for IEG#8 in November (noting IEG#7 has a full agenda).

Phase two of UVOD 'Operationalisation'

Attendees discussed the purpose of the operationalisation phase of the UVOD Programme.

Key points:

  • Secretariat confirmed that the operationalisation phase is intended to be conducted in an exploratory ‘pilot’ manner, recognising that further work is needed to make progress on supporting Scottish public sector personal data controllers in unlocking the value of data for use by, or with, the private sector
  • there is a possible need for sector-specific operationalisation
  • the programme’s linkage to Scotland’s AI Strategy and its contribution to the overarching strategic commitment of Scotland as an 'digital ethical nation'

Conference participation:

  • organisers for the Data for Policy Conference (13 December 2022) have confirmed that the special track, will be a fully virtual session
  • there will be presentations from the UK, India and Canada. Four UVOD representatives will engage with the conference (two Secretariat members, the Chair and an IEG member)
  • IEG representation at the International Population Data Linkage Network (IPDLN) workshop has unfortunately not been possible

The Democratic Society –public enguagement

Work is getting underway now in readiness for the forthcoming two public engagement workshops.

The IEG members considered how the Democratic Society will progress recruitment plans, data scenarios, and set the agenda for the upcoming advisory group workshops.

The confirmed two advisory group workshops are:

  • Workshop 1 - Engaging a public audience in the data guiding principles (6 October, 13:00 to 15:00)
  • Workshop 2 - Data scenario building (10 October, 11:00 to 13:00)

The confirmed two public engagement workshops are:

  • 20 October 09:30 to 13:30, online (15-20 attendees)
  • 4 November 09:30 to 13:30, Inverness (15-20 attendees)

Key points:

  • the importance of defining key terms such as ‘public sector’, ‘personal data’, ‘private sector’, ‘public benefit’
  • feedback from the public on these concepts is a key part of public engagement at this stage
  • the IEG will progress efforts to define key terms and produce a non-exhaustive list of relevant personal data / data use examples

Practitioner Forum

There will be forthcoming sessions with the public sector Practitioner Forum, to engage with the development of the draft guiding principles and the policy statement.

  • session 1: ‘Shaping the high-level principles and policy statement’, on Wednesday 12 October, 13:00 to 14:30
  • session 2: ‘Putting high-level principles into practice’, on Wednesday 16 November, 13:00 to 14:30
  • session 3: ‘Formulating recommendations for IEG report’, on Wednesday 14 December, 13:00 to 14:30

Key points:

  • as participation in three workshops is a significant time commitment, those able to attend only one or two will still be able to suggest recommendations for this phase of the UVOD Programme (via email and in one-to-one meetings) and contribute to the January 2023 Report
  • IEG members noted the need to consider how to increase engagement with the private sector across the UVOD Programme at this stage
  • IEG members highlighted the various forms of public sector-held personal data use by industry, i.e. (a) where there has been a formal procurement process for a specific piece of work, and there is an agreed, bounded relationship with (a part of the) public sector or (b) more speculative uses of the data, for innovation and entrepreneurial reasons – these may need to be dealt with separately

Webinar – follow-up

Action: Production of an ‘FAQ’ guide to the UVOD Programme and areas of activity, which could also include key definitions.

Summary of IEG key outputs:

  • high-level principles and a policy statement that can be put into practice in the operationalisation phase are currently in stage of engagement – with IEG members themselves in 1:1s with the Chair; Public Engagement workshops; and the Practitioner Forum in three sessions: October, November and December
  • production of a written IEG report is underway, with recommendations – drawn from various sources and building on insights from multiple activities – for the next phase of the programme

Next IEG meeting: 26 October 2022, 13:00 to 14:30.

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